Social Entrepreneurship Option
The Social Entrepreneurship Option is the first Canadian undergraduate social entrepreneurship program grounded in the liberal arts. It was constructed with the ideal student in mind — that is, someone who is intellectually and personally courageous, cares deeply about the world, and considers their undergraduate education to be a vital stage in their lifelong learning; and someone who wants both depth, in their specialization of choice, and breadth, acquired in an option like this.
The world is an exciting and complex place – filled with beauty and wonderful people but also struggling greatly with immense and complex challenges. How do we organize our lives, our goals, our work and our relationships to collaborate equitably and effectively in order to address difficult issues and make the world a better place for everyone? Social entrepreneurship (SE) seeks to address these questions. Explicitly and by definition, SE is mission impact driven (as opposed to profit driven) and seeks to change the world for the better. At the same time, SE seeks to ensure not only financial sustainability but also social and environmental sustainability – a triple bottom line.
Many other definitions of SE abound. Here are two:
- “A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change.” (csef.ca)
- “Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems.” (ashoka.org)
But why is SE at Laurier located in the Faculty of Arts (in the Department of Global Studies)? Our purpose is deliberate. The Faculty of Arts emphasizes the development of critical thinking tools to help students understand the world. We need to understand the complexities of the world’s challenges before we venture to address them. Critical thinking by itself is not enough, however. SE seeks to encourage creative thinking to address these issues.
SE at Laurier has organized this learning by defining three pillars for SE education:
- A deeper appreciation of the world’s urgent problems.
- Entrepreneurial expertise.
The problems facing humanity are increasingly complex; sustainable solutions require broad knowledge and critical engagement. Those who seek to help others must start by appreciating their own strengths, motivation, and worldview.
Sound business skills, such as organizational administration, financial management, strategic planning, market analysis and fundraising, are needed to manage sustainable ventures needed to make social change. This option is open to all Laurier students. Priority will be given to students in the Faculty of Arts.
So, why not come and help us create change as together we explore the world and seek to make it a better place?
We offer three levels for SE education-specific courses:
- SE200: How to Change the World: An Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship explores the current practice and potential of SE around the world.
- SE300: Developing a Social Venture focuses on specific learning: how to collaborate and create a social enterprise.
- SE400: Capstone Course in Social Entrepreneurship makes the transition to the real world by creating a real social venture to be launched and operate in the world for the purpose that it was created.
Other courses are part of the SE Option also, including UU101: Perspective on Sustainability and the Global Studies Experience, a hands-on experiential learning opportunity.
Student Trajectory Through the Option
Year 2: Fall
Year 3: Fall
Year 3: Winter
Year 3: Spring/Summer
- International placement
Year 4: Fall
Year 4: Fall/Winter
- SE400* (local placement in fall term)