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SE Lab

Social Entrepreneurship Lab

Social Entrepreneurship Lab (taught by Teresa Chahine) is a practice-based course in which students from across campus form interdisciplinary teams to work on a social challenge of their choice. Teams include students from SOM, SPH, FES, YDS, Jackson Institute, and other schools and programs. Students start by identifying a topic area of focus, then form teams based on shared interests and complementary skills. Over the course of thirteen weeks, student teams delve into understanding the challenge through root cause analysis, research on existing solutions and populations affected; then apply human-centered design thinking and systems thinking to design, prototype, test, and iterate solutions.

Using tools such as the theory of change, logframe, business canvas, and social marketing strategy; teams build and test their impact models, operational models, and revenue models. Readings and assignments from the textbook “Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship” are used to guide this journey. These include technical templates, case studies, and interviews with social entrepreneurs and thought leaders in different sectors and geographies around the world.

The class meets twice a week for 80min and includes in-class exercises along with social entrepreneur guests who join the class to share their experience, advice and challenges. At the end of the semester, student teams pitch their ventures to a panel of judges including social venture funders and social entrepreneurs.

While there are no prerequisites, this course builds on the SOM core course Innovator, and electives including Principles of Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship & New Ventures, Public Health Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship, Global Social Entrepreneurship, Managing Social Enterprises, Business & the Environment Solutions.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the complex factors surrounding a societal challenge of their choice by conducting root causes analysis, stakeholder analysis, asset mapping and impact gaps analysis.
  • Design and evaluate a solution to this challenge using human-centered design thinking, systems thinking, theory of change, logframe, impact metrics and social business canvas.
  • Prototype and test this design with real world customers; incorporate their feedback and iterate on the design.
  • Develop and pitch a business plan including delivery channels, revenue model, and financing approach to operationalize and sustain this solution.
  • Understand and communicate how your solution fits into the larger ecosystem of stakeholders addressing this challenge; and how to leverage other players to build momentum towards a shared mission.

Visit to access Professor Chahine’s podcast, blog, and other resources.

SE Lab with Theresa Chahine