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2014/2015  KAN-EB  Starting up your own social venture

English Title
Starting up your own social venture

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Ester Barinaga - MPP
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
Last updated on 12-09-2014
Learning objectives
The course aims at:
  • Equip students with the analytical and planning tools necessary to launch a high impact social enterprise
  • Provide students with the opportunity to apply the tools to develop their own social entrepreneurial initiative
  • Help students better assess their own potential and interest in becoming a social entrepreneur
Starting up your own social venture:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Report
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period May/June
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

Final written assignment: students will be asked to do a feasibility study of their social entrepreneurial venture. The written assignment should include the problem to be addressed, how it is to be addressed, how it creates social value, its funding strategy, as well as potential (or already established) collaborations.

Course content and structure

Social entrepreneurship is acquiring the proportions of a world-wide movement. From micro-finance initiatives to youth houses, fair trade soaps and community-based art initiatives. There is however no agreement on the definition nor on the nature of the phenomenon that is being called “social entrepreneurship.” Yet, the increase of the discussion and the variety of initiatives do all have one thing in common: a will to achieve social change. The core of this course is social change through the parallel notion of social entrepreneurship. That is, we will look at entrepreneurship as a particular form of organizing for social transformation.

Some of the questions that we will explore throughout the course are: How should we think when designing initiatives aiming at social change? In what instances does a market rationality serve us better than a communitarian one? What conceptual and practical tools can be used in our strive to improve the lives of people and the health of our communities? How can the social be re-articulated in our efforts to catalyze social change?


In sum, we will be looking at rationalities, strategies and tools aiming at social change. For that purpose, we will be using the intellectual tools handed to us by the social sciences to both understand the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship and apply them to the creation of students’ own social entrepreneurial ventures.


This course is venture based: It will be based on a social venture that students co-create. First because the most effective way to understand social entrepreneurship is to practice it. Second, because the course aims to promote a creative and proactive stance toward the society you live in, not merely an adaptive or critical one.


Thus, this course takes an experiential approach and students are expected to interact with civil society and the social entrepreneurial community, participate in class discussion, and be active participants in the teaching/learning process. Topics will include understanding the problem you want to address, assessing the opportunity, acknowledging the implicit theory of change, considering the venture’s organizational form, funding your initiative, building your board, pitching your initiative, and start assessing social impact.


This course appeals to students with a strong desire to become social entrepreneurs, or work in a social startup, early stage or social entrepreneurial minded company that may be pursued now or later in their careers. It is also for those students who are considering obtaining jobs in consulting, social venture capital, or social foundations where they are dealing with new or relatively new social ventures.


Teaching methods
The course will combine a variety of methods, ranging from traditional lectures, case studies, Studio- based pedagogy, inspirational guest lecturers, reading groups, group work, and group presentations.
Expected literature

Battilana & Dorado. 2010. “Building sustainable hybrid organizations: The case of commercial microfinance organizations.” Academy of Management Journal.

Barinaga, E. 2012. “Overcoming Inertia: The social question in Social Entrepreneurship”. In Daniel Hjorth (ed.) Handbook on Organizational Entrepreneurship, pp. 242-256. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Barinaga, E. forthcoming. Social Entrepreneurship: Cases and Concepts. Studentlitteratur.

Barinaga, Ester. 2013. “Politicizing social entrepreneurship: Three social entrepreneurial rationalities for social change.” Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 4(3):347-372.

Bourdieu, P. 1986, “The Forms of Capital.” In John G. Richardson (ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research in the Sociology of Education.Greenwald Press, pp. 241-258.

Callon, M., C. Méadel and V. Rabeharisoa (2002). ”The Economy of Qualities.” Economy and Society 31 (2): 194-217.

Granovetter, M. 1973, “The strength of weak ties.” American Journal of Sociology, 78: 1360-1380.

Kania, J. & Mark Kramer. 2011. “Collective Impact.” Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Latour, Bruno. 1991. “Technology is society made durable”, in J. law (ed.) A sociology of Monsters. Essays on Power, technology and Domination. Sociological Review Monograph 38. London: Routledge.

Lakoff, George. 2004. “Preface: Reframing is Social Change”. In Don't Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, pp.xv-xvi. Chelsea Green Publishing.

Muniesa, F. 2012. “A flank movement in the understanding of valuation.” The Sociological Review, 59(s2):24-38.

Putnam, R. and Kristin Goss, 2004, Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Ch.: Introduction, pp. 3-20.

Sarasvathy, Saras D. 2001. “Causation and effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency.” Academy of Management Review, 26(2): 243-263.

Snow, D.A. et al, 1986. “Frame Alignment Processes, Micro-mobilization, and Movements Participation” American Sociological Review, 51(4):464-481

Swedberg, R. 2006. “Social Entrepreneurship: The View of the Young Schumpeter.” In C.Steyaert and D.Hjorth (eds.), Entrepreneurship as Social Change: A third movement in entrepreneurship. Edward Elgar.

Vatin, 2013. “Valuation as Evaluating and Valorizing”. Valuation Studies, 1(1):31-50

Last updated on 12-09-2014