Social Entrepreneurship

ELE427 Social Entrepreneurship

Spring 2024

  • Topics

    Social entrepreneurship is an emerging and rapidly developing field of business in which entrepreneurs employ business methods to solve social and environmental challenges. There are numerous definitions of social entrepreneurship; however, there is a broad consensus that the field address two issues (i) involves creativity, imagination, and innovation associated with entrepreneurship, and (ii) outcomes of social entrepreneurship are focused on addressing persistent social problems, particularly to those who are marginalized or poor. Social entrepreneurship also includes "social intrapreneurship," where employees in existing companies develop new income opportunities for their firms by addressing social and environmental challenges in a profitable, scalable manner.

    Social entrepreneurs create new and innovative business models for neglected markets that corporations can emulate, partner with or acquire to take to scale. This course is designed to provide a socially relevant academic experience in order to help students gain in-depth insights into economic and social value creation across a number of sectors/areas including poverty alleviation, energy, health, and sustainability. Through readings, guest speakers, case discussions, lectures, and student presentations, students will learn to think strategically and act opportunistically with a socially-conscious business mindset. The close collaboration with Impact Hub in Bergen, which is a platform for supporting social entrepreneurship activities, and Ferd, an investment company that invest in social entrepreneurship, means that students can link theory to practice as they are exposed to real social entrepreneurship activities.

    This course will explore multiple facets of social entrepreneurship including topics such as tradeoffs between social and financial returns on investment, various social organizational models that have tangible and potentially scalable successes in serving the world's poorest populations. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the field of social entrepreneurship, the course will be introductory in nature and will draw heavily from cases, speaker experience and student inquiry. The course will be structured around four elements:

    1. The field of social entrepreneurship;
    2. The situations, resources and business structures used by social entrepreneurs;
    3. The mechanics, tensions, and realities of starting and/or managing a social enterprise; and
    4. The emergence of "social intrapreneurism" and the potential for scaling social and environmentalsolutions profitably throughout the business sector.

  • Learning outcome


    •The candidate will obtain knowledge on concepts, theories and frameworks related to social entrepreneurship, including the concepts, opportunities, and challenges of social entrepreneurship.

    •The candidate has a working understanding of what a social enterprise is and how it is the same as well as different from other types of business.

    •This working knowledge helps the candidate to understand the trade-off between profitability and social responsibility, as well as understanding wherein the two objectives can be aligned.


    •The candidate can articulate the role of social entrepreneurship in creating innovative responses to critical social needs (e.g., hunger, poverty, inner city education, global warming, etc.)

    •The candidate can analyze social entrepreneurship and recognize situations where social entrepreneurship can apply to address societal and environmental needs.

    •The candidate can use the theories, concepts and frameworks to understand central mechanisms and practices that promote or hinder social entrepreneurship.


    •The candidate can analyze relevant academic and practical/professional problems related to the exploration and exploitation of social business opportunities.

    •The candidate can identify business opportunities where profitability and responsibility are at stake.

    •The candidate can apply his/her knowledge and skills in new areas in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects

  • Teaching

    Intensive. Lectures and some group activities which will be held on a digital platform.

  • Restricted access

    Enrollment to this course is limited to 50 students. The application deadline is 15 May 2021. Priority enrollment is given to incoming students exclusively from NHH's partner universities: (copy URL). Incoming students applying for admission must be nominated by their home university and will be ranked based on the following criteria: Grade point average and motivation letter.

    If slots become available, NHH-students applying for admission will be ranked based on the following criteria: Grade point average and motivation letter.

  • Required prerequisites

    •Should have attended at least 6 months in a Master of Business Administration / Economics program;

    •Excellent command of the English language

    •Read the course literature in advance of the course start

  • Credit reduction due to overlap


  • Compulsory Activity

    Mandatory course attendance and class participation.

    Group presentation on the last Friday.

    Compulsory activities is only valid for one semester.

  • Assessment

    Group term paper.

    Students work in groups (3-5) on the paper throughout the duration of the course.

    The paper is to be submitted electronically and students may leave NHH after the group presentation on the final day.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale: A - F

  • Literature

    A selection of articles which will be available via student learning platform (Canvas).


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Currently not offered.

Course responsible

Professor Siri Terjesen, Department of Strategy and Management