Be The Change: 14 MOOC’s For Budding Social Entrepreneurs

Have you ever wanted to do more than just have a successful business? Maybe you’ve always felt propelled by a sense of determination to make the world a better place, but have always been unsure how to do so when the world is so big and you are so small. There’s a way to marry these two motivators and a ton of really great resources to help you do it.

The marriage between running a business and changing the world is called social entrepreneurship. It’s an amazing way to change the world in an actionable way and we’re going to tell you all about it today. Hopefully by the time you’re through reading this you’ll be inspired enough to start your journey towards a social endeavor of your own.

What is Social Entrepreneurship?

Simply put, social entrepreneurship occurs when socially minded people see a problem in society, that is going largely ignored, and find a way to address the issue, solve the problem and improve upon the lives of those impacted by the issue at hand.

David Bornstein said it perfectly in his book How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. He wrote, “Social entrepreneurs identify resources where people only see problems. They view the villages as the solution, not the passive beneficiary. They begin with the assumption of competence and unleash resources in the communities they’re serving.”

Many social entrepreneurs are ahead of their time and are leading the pack towards a better world. Their main goal is to implement change in the most practical way possible as it will lead to widespread and hopefully permanent change.

How Are Social Entrepreneurs Different From Other Entrepreneurs?

Social entrepreneurs are like the hippies of the business world. Your average entrepreneur may start a business or two to make some money and/or fill a gap in the market. This is perfectly fine, but not enough to fuel the inherent fire burning within social entrepreneurs. These are the men and women who see an area that needs improvement and tackle it head on.

Bill Drayton, CEO, chair and founder of Ashoka, said it perfectly “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” The results produced by these innovative people far surpasses any regular business idea and is all done for the bigger picture and betterment of society.

Have I Heard of Any Social Entrepreneurs Before?

You can bet your socks that you’ve heard of a social entrepreneur or two in your time! In fact, we’re certain that quite a few of the folks we’re about to tell you about are going to ring a bell and maybe even surprise you to know they are far more than just business minded individuals.

Do you recognize any of these social entrepreneurs?

Blake Mycoskie: His name alone may not sound familiar, but you’ve surely heard of the super popular shoe company, TOMS! Yep, Blake is the brains behind that operation and has been since he founded the company in 2006. Black got the inspiration for TOMS after a trip to Argentina where he became aware of the rather high amount of children who were shoe-less and getting sick or hurt as a result.

That was all it took for Blake. Soon after his return home he started TOMS and made it his mission to ensure that people around the world have shoes. So, he made it a reality and has donated a pair of shoes to someone in need for each pair of the cute kicks his company has sold. The company has donated millions of pairs of shoes since its inception.

To further his mission to make the world a better place, Blake decided to expand upon his original idea. Why stop at shoes, right? As of 2011, his company has helped those in need of vision assistance with a pair of glasses or even surgery to save the sight of those in need. So, remember that each time you need a new pair of shades. If you pair a pair of TOMS sunglasses or eyeglasses, you are helping someone see as well.

Xavier Helgesen, Chris Fuchs and Jeff Kurtzman: You may not be able to put a name to a face upon first glance, but these three Notre Dame graduates have left their mark on social entrepreneurship and the world with Better World Books. The three friends decided to make it their mission to promote literacy around the globe as they squeezed every bit of value they could out of every book available.

Nothing goes to waste around these game changers as they work hard to recycle books by way of their website and donating to schools that are in need of a literary boost. They have shown how successful a social enterprise can be, but not only by way of monetary gain.

Better World Books has used well over 80 million books to raise $15+ million to aid in their fight for world literacy. These three men have approached their business in a manner that shows how truly important their mission is to them. The company has decided to “care not only about our profits but also about the social and environmental impact of everything we do.”

Jeffrey Hollender: You’ve more than likely seen the products his company sells at the store or even seen one of their commercials on television. If the company known for environmentally green cleaning, paper and personal products, Seventh Generation, sounds familiar you can thank Jeffrey Hollender for that.

He’s been dedicated to making less of an impact on the environment with his company since 1988. He also works hard to encourage other business and nonprofits to do the same with help from the 10% of the pre-tax profits he donates.

Hollender has gone on to have much success with other social enterprises since his departure from Seventh Generation in 2010. He has since written a few books, founded the Community Capital Bank, and acts as a member of the Social Venture Network and the American Sustainable Business Council.

 MOOC’s for Social Entrepreneurship

There are quite a few Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) available for those of you interested in testing the social entrepreneurship waters before fulling committing to a mission. We did a good bit of research to supply you with 14 MOOC in Social Entrepreneurship from some of the best online course providers out there. We hope you’re ready to get inspired and to have your internal fire for social change lit!

  1. Social Entrepreneurship: A Crash Course: Here is a quick and informative class taught by the amazing Jessica Lax, founder of School for Change. It is offered on Udemy for a low fee that seems well worth it given the content covered. The course focuses on five valuable tools that many social entrepreneurs use. Students will cover: hybrid organizations, earned revenue, impact capital, impact measurement and human centered design.
  2. Social Entrepreneurship: An Introduction: This is another course offered by Udemy, only it’s completely free of charge! This course is taught by lawyer and social entrepreneur, Greg Werkheiser who has years of invaluable experience to offer anyone who wishes to gain a deeper insight into the social impact felt by those who venture into the field. Students will certainly have a front row seat to the world of social entrepreneurship and many questions will be expertly answered.
  3. Social Media for Social Change: Christine Beggs, Creative Director and Founder of Ripples Edge Media, teaches this MOOC for Udemy. The fee for this course is incredibly small when you consider the super helpful bit of information you’re going to walk away with. Ms. Beggs is going to give up the social media goods as she helps you grasp how other social entrepreneurs use it as a tool to enhance their mission.
  4. LinkedIn For EntrepreneursPayne teaches this course via Udemy and boy does he have the goods to back up his lessons. Payne is the CEP of and has firms and designers all over the country. He teaches students how to effectively use LinkedIn to help their businesses grow.
  5. Programming for EntrepreneursSurprise! Here’s another course from Udemy! This one teaches students various programming aspects that may be important to their endeavors as entrepreneurs. Pablo Farias Navarro brings a ton of valuable information to the table and all for free.
  6. Get Started in Social Entrepreneurship: A Practical GuideUp next on our Udemy streak of social entrepreneurship MOOC’s is the practical guide taught by Leesa Hubbard, a well-known and respected Change Catalyst. The course is exactly what is seems. It will provide students with a good foundation for their future social enterprise. The course does have a modest price tag and lots to offer.
  7. How to Change the WorldTaking a break from Udemy. We are heading over to Coursera for this super interesting course. Here students will take a six week course that focuses on core issues of social entrenpreneurship like poverty, the environment, technology, health care, gender equality, education and much more. All it takes is a 3-5 hour weekly investment to have your horizons broadened.
  8. Getting Started – Social Business Start UpTommy Hutchinson, founder of i-genius, teaches you what he knows best: how to start a social enterprise. You’ll have a front row seat to each step in the process of beginning a business. This is a course best suited for future social entrepreneurs, businesses looking to kick start their companies in a new direction, anyone seeking a new career in a socially aware industry and students looking to gain more knowledge to improve upon their futures.
  9. How to Build a StartupThis is a similar course to the one previously mentioned as it gives students a good amount of insight into what it takes to launch a social business. Here those enrolled with will learn the customer aspect of a business and how important their feedback is in conjunction with your product and marketing. There’s a lot to cover in this course and so much to gain.
  10. Changemaker MOOC: Social EntrepreneurshipThis course offered by Class-Central isn’t currently in session, but it is most certainly one to keep an eye out for in the near future. It’s is designed to give social entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn how real projects in this niche are carried out. It’s a step by step guide to figuring out what to do no matter what your social enterprise is going to focus on.
  11. Social EntrepreneurshipThis Coursera course is spearheaded by the Copenhagen Business School and it’s a pretty popular class on the topic of social entrepreneurship. Students will learn first-hand how to “create societal impact through social entrepreneurship. There is some focus places on the entire process from determining how to incite change with your enterprise all the way to actually outlining a business plan.
  12. Professional Development and the Exploration of Active Citizenship Through Social EntrepreneurshipThis course is more like a seminar than anything, but don’t let that discourage you because it’s still bursting with valuable information. The hope is that those enrolled will walk away with the right concepts and information to help you achieve awesome skills that you can apply in effective ways.
  13. Social Innovation MOOCThis course on social innovation is also unavailable at the moment, but is expected to open again in the near future. Be sure to add yourself to the watchlist if you’re interested in delving into ways that social innovations are created and how they impact everything we do from our home to work lives.
  14. Foundations of Business StrategyEven a social endeavor needs to have a solid business foundation to thrive and help people, right?  This is a self-paced course offered by the University of Virginia through Coursera. The objective behind this course is to arm future social entrepreneurs with the skills necessary to analyze and improve upon your business idea with a set of tools that you’ll hopefully garner from it.

One More Thing Before You Go…

Take nine minutes and three seconds of out your day to watch this video about social entrepreneurship. You’ll come away with a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes of these enterprises and you’re likely to feel a bit of inspiration as well.

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