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COURSE NAME: "Social Entrepreneurship"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Pietro Versari
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30 PM 5:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Junior Standing
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

Nowadays, significant social problems dramatically affect both the most developed and developing countries in many fields, such as education, health care, and environment.
Social Entrepreneurship is an emerging and rapidly evolving business field that examines the practice of identifying, starting and growing successful mission-driven for-profit and nonprofit ventures, that is, organizations that strive to advance social change through innovative solutions.
As the traditional lines blur among nonprofits, government and business, it is critical that students understand the opportunities and challenges provided by this new landscape. The course explains how to become a social entrepreneur, the different options to organize a social business and to find the requested financial support.

Course Overview

Social Entrepreneurship is an evolving and rapidly changing field that inspects the practice of identifying, starting and growing successful new ventures (for profit and non for profit) that attempt to advance social change through innovative solutions.

This course is intended to provide a socially relevant academic experience in order to support students increase in-depth insights into economic and social value creation across a number of sectors/areas (eg. sustainability, education, energy, healthcare, welfare and poverty reduction).

Through case studies, lectures, and classroom dialogue, students will study and learn to think strategically and act opportunistically with a socially-conscious business mindset.

This course is based on alternative, critical, challenging thinking. We will discuss about weak signals, the relevant things that happen at the periphery of the society but that are important for understanding the evolution of the global system.


Learning Outcomes

1.     To provide students with a working knowledge of the concepts, opportunities and challenges of social entrepreneurship.

2.     To demonstrate the role of social entrepreneurship in creating innovative responses to critical social needs.

3.     To engage in a collaborative learning process to develop a better understanding of the context and domain of social entrepreneurship

Class Participation and Attendance This course moves at a fast pace and much of the learning will take place during in-class exercises and discussion. Students are expected to attend all class sessions, complete all assigned readings prior to class and be prepared to participate. Attendance will be taken and participation will be evaluated at each class session. Class attendance is absolutely mandatory and critical to the success of class discussions. After the first two unexcused absences, the students will lose 5 percentage points of their overall weighted average for the each successive absence.10%
Individual mid-term in class (individual)The Mid-Term Exam will take place half way through the course and it will concern all the topics covered up to that point. No make-up exams will be given. A missed exam will be calculated as zero. Exceptions are made if the student presents an official excuse for the absence from the Dean’s Office. Rules of the exams: no mobile phones are allowed, no computers tools are allowed. When calculators are needed, the professor will tell the students in advance to bring them for the exam. Their usage is personal and they cannot be shared during the exam. There are no make-up or grade improvement projects in this course. If you have a bad exam, you will have to make up for it on future exams. 40%
Final project (Group)The class will participate to a learn do share program activity and will present during the final exam the results of their project to the entrepreneurs in class, with the support of the professor.40%
Final project (individual element)the individual student performance to the team project will also be evaluated10%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


The course will cover the following macro topics:

- Social Entrepreneurship: characteristics and definitions

- Social entrepreneurs and opportunities recognition

- Hybrid business models for social enterprises

- Scaling impact in social entrepreneurship

- Evaluating social impact and performances


 specific lectures' schedule, topics and required readings will be provided at the start of course.