Social Entrepreneurship

Online Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Courses to Step up Your Game | Part 1

In this 21st century of ours, the internet gives us the opportunity to learn from the smartest minds on so many different topics. Social entrepreneurship is a field in which you can also learn online from the greatest minds and this is what you’ll get with this article. Find the best courses to fit your needs and motivate yourself to become a social entrepreneur!


Corporate Social Responsibility

Length: 4 Weeks

Efforts: 2 to 5 hours per week

School: Penn University of Pennsylvania

Language: English

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“Developed by Penn and the Satell Institute, this course provides theory and practical working concepts in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), exploring cases that demonstrate the great potential CSR may have to improve communities in the world, and to create awareness of potential pitfalls.

Students will learn (a) how to leverage corporate structures and nonprofits’ experience to undertake CSR activities that have real public benefit, (b) the relationship between philanthropy and corporate self-interest, and (c) how ventures can assess whether they are doing good CSR, exploring topics including measurement, attribution, and cost benefit analysis.

Through this four-week course, students from either the business or the philanthropic sector will develop a greater understanding of both sides of the partnerships that underlie Corporate Social Responsibility projects. They will learn how they might improve their interactions with their cross-sector partners, develop better partnerships, improve their use of pooled resources, and deepen their impact.

Finally, they will learn from many examples of Corporate Social Responsibility across the world. This course will teach students interested in developing a CSR project to conduct a wider search than they may have previously undertaken to identify lessons and solutions that they may adapt to their own setting.”

  • About the CSR landscape.

  • How shifting CSR activity from discretionary to integral components of a company’s strategy creates long-term benefits for company and society.

  • Why CSR is essential for attracting and retaining employees, and how to take advantage of this win-win for company and community.

  • Criteria for successful corporate-nonprofit partnerships.

  • Principles and examples of CSR in the US, Netherlands and India.



Sustainable Urban Development: Discover Advanced Metropolitan Solutions

Length: 7 Weeks

Efforts: 4 to 6 hours per week

School: Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) & Wageningen University

Language: English

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“Did you know that cities take up less than 3% of the earth’s land surface, but more than 50% of the world’s population live in them? And, cities generate more than 70% of the global emissions? Large cities and their hinterlands (jointly called metropolitan regions) greatly contribute to global urbanization and sustainability challenges, yet are also key to resolving these same challenges.

If you are interested in the challenges of the 21st century metropolitan regions and how these can be solved from within the city and by its inhabitants, then this Sustainable Urban Development course is for you!

There are no simple solutions to these grand challenges! Rather the challenges cities face today require a holistic, systemic and transdisciplinary approach that spans different fields of expertise and disciplines such as urban planning, urban design, urban engineering, systems analysis, policy making, social sciences and entrepreneurship.

This MOOC is all about this integration of different fields of knowledge within the metropolitan context. The course is set up in a unique matrix format that lets you pursue your line of interest along a specific metropolitan challenge or a specific theme.

Because we are all part of the challenges as well as the solutions, we encourage you to participate actively! You will have the opportunity to explore the living conditions in your own city and compare your living environment with that of the global community.

You will discover possible solutions for your city’s challenges and what it takes to implement these solutions. Your participation will also contribute to wider research into metropolitan regions as complex systems.

We invite you to take the first steps in understanding the principles that will be essential to transform metropolitan regions into just, prosperous and sustainable places to live in!

This course forms a part of the educational programme of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions.”

What you'll learn

  • The most relevant challenges that metropolitan regions are facing

  • How you can respond to these challenges

  • Examples of sustainable, metropolitan interventions and solutions

  • How to critically reflect on and engage in the sustainable cities debate

  • Innovative solutions for your own urban living environment



Responsible Innovation: Ethics, Safety and Technology

Length: 7 Weeks

Efforts: 4 to 6 hours per week

School: Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Language: English

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“There is no doubt that technological innovation is one of the key elements driving human progress.

However, new technologies also raise ethical questions, have serious implications for society and the environment and pose new risks, often unknown and unknowable before the new technologies reach maturity. They may even lead to radical disruptions. Just think about robots, self-driving vehicles, medical engineering and the Internet of Things.

They are strongly dependent on social acceptance and cannot escape public debates of regulation and ethics. If we want to innovate, we have to do that responsibly. We need to reflect on –and include- our societal values in this process. This course will give you a framework to do so.

The first part of the course focuses on ethical questions/framework and concerns with respect to new technologies.

The second part deals with (unknown) risks and safety of new technologies including a number of qualitative and quantitative risk assessment methods.

The last part of the course is about the new, value driven, design process which take into account our societal concerns and conflicting values.

Case studies (ethical concerns, risks) for reflection and discussions during the course include – among others- nanotechnology, self-driving vehicles, robots, AI smart meters for electricity, autonomous weapons, nuclear energy and CO2capture and coolants. Affordable (frugal) innovations for low-income groups and emerging markets are also covered in the course. You can test and discuss your viewpoint.

The course is for all engineering students who are looking for a methodical approach to judge responsible innovations from a broader – societal- perspective.”

What you'll learn

  • Understand the urgent need to include ethical questions with respect to (new) technology.

  • Know various ways/instruments to analyze risks of new technologies, both forward looking as backward looking (causes of accidents)

  • Understand various types of innovation (like radical, niche, incremental, frugal ) and the conditions for success

  • Know how to deal with unknown risks (deep uncertainty) when it comes to new technologies

  • Are able to critically reflect on new technologies from an ethical and risk perspective (case studies).

  • Understand the concept of responsible innovation and Value Sensitive Design (VSD) and the implications for the design process




Entrepreneurship for Global Challenges in Emerging Markets

Length: 6 Weeks

Efforts: 2 to 4 hours per week

School: Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Language: English

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“This course will introduce you to entrepreneurship for global challenges in emerging markets. You will get to know other like-minded entrepreneurs around you, and discover how institutions in your target region are working on innovation and entrepreneurship.

As an entrepreneur in an emerging economy, you may be faced with many challenges that need to be solved. These might include scarcity of fossil fuels, climate change or water, food and health security. This Delft University of Technology course will provide you with examples from partner universities and affiliated entrepreneurs in emerging economies which explain the opportunities and obstacles that they faced as they established themselves and created value.

You will acquire a set of practical tools which will enable you to discover the opportunities in your own environment and how these can be used to make an actual change! You will learn how to rethink your value proposition with your own case study, or with one we provide.

After the course, you will be able to develop your value proposition more quickly by getting to know your customers and partners better and understand local values and institutions. You will have the opportunity to get to know a network of innovators and entrepreneurs in which you can – during and after the MOOC – share your experiences and perhaps even team up to start a business.”

“The course materials of this course are Copyright Delft University of Technology and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA) 4.0 International License.”

What you'll learn

  • Identify global challenges in emerging markets.

  • Apply the Value Proposition Canvas to an identified 'local' challenge.

  • Learn from experienced entrepreneurs‘ successes and failures.

  • Think strategically about interactions with business partners, customers and government authorities.

  • Think strategically about the internal management style and business culture of your organization.

  • Understand opportunities for and barriers to socially responsible entrepreneurship in emerging markets.

  • Understand that there are multiple ways of setting up a revenue model for a business idea.




Entrepreneurship In Emerging Economies

Length: 6 Weeks

Efforts: 3 to 5 hours per week

School: Harvard University

Language: English

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“This business and management course, taught by Harvard Business School professor Tarun Khanna, takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and solving complex social problems. You will learn about prior attempts to address these problems, identify points of opportunity for smart entrepreneurial efforts, and propose and develop your own creative solutions.

The focus of this course is on individual agency—what can you do to address a defined problem? While we will use the lens of health to explore entrepreneurial opportunities, you will learn how both problems and solutions are inevitably of a multi-disciplinary nature, and we will draw on a range of sectors and fields of study.”

What you'll learn

  • An awareness of the opportunities for entrepreneurship in fast-growing emerging markets

  • An understanding of a conceptual framework for evaluating such opportunities

  • An appreciation of the types of problems that lend themselves to entrepreneurial solutions




Sustainable Tourism: Society & Environmental Aspects

Length: 5 Weeks

Efforts: 6 to 8 hours per week

School: Wageningen University & Research

Language: English

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“Tourism is already one of the world’s largest industries and it's still experiencing incredible growth. Industries of major importance worldwide, Travel and Tourism directly contribute $1.4 trillion (U.S.) to the global economy. One in ten of the world’s total jobs are in travel and tourism and that number is growing.

Join this course if you want to learn where this growth is coming from and what the effects will be on the social and natural environment. You’ll be challenged with more critical reflections of an industry steeped in comfort and enjoyment.

You’ll also discover that tourism is more than just a powerful economic force. Tourist activities affect the environment of travel destinations and influence cultures worldwide. Tourism is very sensitive to global transformations such as changing consumer behaviour, economic developments, climate change, epidemics, or acts of terrorism. Tourism is in fact a complex phenomenon.

To explore the development of the tourism phenomenon and begin to build your own reflections on the industry, you'll be exposed to a variety of weekly insights throughout the course. These include historical backgrounds, a variety of social science approaches, common theoretical constructs, related systemic observations, and exposure to environmental, social and economic implications of tourism.

Based on weekly reflection exercises, you'll be challenged to form your own argument for a specific tourism development of your choice. You'll also help others in providing and receiving meaningful feedback on their critical reflections of tourism phenomena.”

What you'll learn

  • How to view tourism as a complex social and environmental phenomenon

  • An overview of global tourism development in its historical context

  • Ways to distinguish differences in the social study of tourism

  • How to conceive of the sheer size and systemic development of tourism

  • Analysis of the mutual relationships between tourism and its environment




From Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Social Innovation

Length: 4 weeks

Efforts: 4 to 6 hours per week

School: Babson College

Language: English

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“The challenges facing our world are increasingly complex and affect corporations, communities, citizens, and the natural environment. For many companies, even those with strong traditions of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility, there is a growing consensus that current models of corporate engagement in society are no longer sufficient. They see that new approaches are needed.

Fortunately, the past decade has seen an explosion of interest and development in social innovation—a discipline that employs entrepreneurial knowledge and methods to develop solutions to pressing social issues.

This course combines learnings from the real-world experience of business leaders with analysis and practical applications. These leaders, who have developed and led social innovation efforts, share the theories, strategies, and management frameworks that are driving new models for business engagement in society.

You will learn from firsthand accounts and interaction with key executives who’ve led social innovation initiatives. They hail from leading organizations and brands including, Campbell’s, Dunkin Brands, Verizon,, FIFCO, Barclays and more.

In addition to online interactions, there will be opportunities for in-person touchpoints for anyone in the Greater Boston area; with the potential for meetups elsewhere in the future.

You will learn the key steps and apply the management frameworks to your organization. You will also develop a clear, practical understanding of the process, knowledge, and skills required to develop social innovation efforts. Finally, you'll learn to address key related challenges including business growth, innovation, employee engagement and retention, social impact, and connection to society.

This is a course for anyone interested in understanding and acting on the new frontier of Corporate Social Innovation. No matter where you sit inside your company, you’ll be able to apply the lessons from companies in the field to develop the practical steps needed for the specific needs of your organization.

This new context is driving companies – large and small – to think beyond Corporate Social Responsibility and to view business opportunities through the lens of social innovation.
What you'll learn

A clear understanding of the multiple ways in which organizations create both social and economic value in a world where the purpose of business is being challenged and redefined.
The practical steps and hands-on skills to integrate social issues into business strategies, programs, and organizations through real-world examples and interviews with company leaders who have led social innovation initiatives.
How and why corporate engagement in society has evolved – from philanthropy to Corporate Social Responsibility to Social Innovation – and how it is driving today’s companies to develop new strategies to create both economic and social value.
About the leadership and entrepreneurial skills and competencies needed to develop and lead social innovation initiatives, including developing strategic focus, building organizational capacity, engaging stakeholders, measurement tools and driving innovation.

Babson’ methodology of Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® and tools to help you take immediate action in your organization.




Future Cities

Length: 10-11 weeks per course

Efforts: 3 hours per week, per course

School: ETH Zurich

Language: English

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““Future Cities” is a series of urban MOOCs bringing the latest research results on planning, managing and transforming cities to those places in the world where they are needed most.

  • “Future Cities” provides an overview.

  • “Quality of Life: Livability in Future Cities” describes factors of livability in cities.

  • “Smart Cities” presents realistic approaches, methods and techniques to increase the sustainability and resilience of cities.

Our long-term goal is to make the “Future Cities” series on urban MOOCs the worldwide first and complete series of urban courses dealing with the design, management and transformation of cities for their sustainable and resilient future. This leads to a modular collection of urban MOOCs for each part of the urban system. The first overview course “Future Cities” opens a holistic view on existing and future cities. Each following urban MOOC increases in depth and in specialization.”

What You'll Learn:

  • Better understand the dynamic behavior of the urban system by going beyond the physical appearance and by focusing on representations, properties and impact factors

  • Explore the city as the most complex human-made organism with a metabolism that can be modeled in terms of stocks and flows

  • Learn about data-informed approaches for the development of the future city, based on crowdsourcing and sensing

  • Learn about the latest research results in for the development and management of future cities

  • Understand how citizens can benefit from data-informed design to develop smart and responsive cities




Sustainable Energy

Length: 8-11 weeks per course

Efforts: 8-10 hours per week, per course

School: The University of Queensland

Language: English

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“Learn about the complex nature of energy generation, distribution and supply, and the challenges of transitioning to a sustainable energy future.

Our world is facing an energy crisis and we need professionals with interdisciplinary knowledge across science, policy and industry to help organizations prosper in the low carbon economy.

This MicroMasters program will equip you with the knowledge to take on these challenges.

You will explore the crucial role of technology, policy and innovation in energy project management and development and grasp the importance of balancing the trade-offs between social, economic and environmental considerations.

You will gain a deep understanding of sustainability and risk management principles that you can apply to your own situation where it intersects with the complex world of energy.

This MicroMasters credential will showcase your in-depth knowledge of the dynamic nature of sustainable energy generation and supply.

This MicroMasters credential may allow you to take advantage of the opportunity to be accepted into the Master of Sustainable Energy at The University of Queensland and accelerate degree completion.”

In conclusion, with these EDX classes you would be in a position to acquire a valuable certification, purposeful knowledge on social entrepreneurship and an advanced way of seeing social issues, as well as finding solutions to solve them. Those courses are affordable and they are recognized all around the world.

We are sure you can find a class suited for your needs in your journey of becoming a Humble Dreamer.


by James Forbes

Photo By: Samuel Zeller

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