NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2011

Instructor Details

Professor Jill R. Kickul



Tuesdays/Thursdays, 4-5 PM and by appointment

44 W 4th Street, Suite 7-97


Course Meetings

T, 4:55pm to 7:55pm

Tisch T-LC21


Course Description and Learning Goals

Social Entrepreneurship is an emerging and rapidly changing 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.  This course is designed to provide a socially relevant academic experience in order to help students gain in-depth insights into economic and social value creation across a number of sectors/areas including poverty alleviation, energy, health and sustainability. Through case studies, lectures, and classroom dialogue, students will learn to think strategically and act opportunistically with a socially-conscious business mindset. Topics will include problem/opportunity assessment, acquiring the necessary resources to grow a social enterprise, and the tradeoffs between social and financial returns on investment. Students will also gain exposure to various social organizational models that are making tangible and potentially scalable progress in serving the worlds poorest populations.  Finally, the social venture business plan (at the team project level) will facilitate the sharing of knowledge, best practices, and learning of the process of launching a viable and scalable social enterprise.

Course Philosophy:

Social Entrepreneurship is more than a set of tools and techniques for starting and growing a business. It's a mindset, a way of looking at things that is problem/opportunity focused and creative. It's about passion -- doing what you love.  It's about creating wealth in all its forms: economic value, social innovation and sustainability, and making a difference in the communities we serve.

While numerous different definitions of social entrepreneurship exist, there appears to be broad consensus about two issues:

  1. Social entrepreneurship involves the creativity, imagination and innovation often associated with entrepreneurship; and
  2. The outcomes of social entrepreneurship are focused on addressing persistent social problems particularly to those who are marginalized or poor.

To quote one of the many leaders in the field (Bill Drayton, CEO, Chair, and Founder, Ashoka: Innovators for the Public) …. “The job of a social entrepreneur is to recognizewhen a part of society is not workingand to solve the problem by changingthe system, spreading solutions, and persuadingentire societies to take new leaps.Social entrepreneurs are not content just togive a fish or to teach how to fish. Theywill not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry. Identifying and solvinglarge-scale social problems requires socialentrepreneurs because only entrepreneurshave the committed vision and inexhaustible determination to persist until they have transformed an entire system.The scholar comes to rest when he expresses an idea. The professional succeeds when she solves a client’s problem.The manager calls it quits when he has enabled his organization to succeed. Social entrepreneurs can only come to rest when their vision has become the new pattern all across society.”

Taking this into consideration, our class and our time together will be focused on the ideas, process, steps, and strategies required for creating new social ventures!  We will be introduced to entrepreneurship: the planning process, and frameworks for strategic and financial planning.  This course focuses on the critical factors associated with successful new venture initiation as well as the preparation of a business plan that can be used to begin operations in a new social enterprise.  This course will challenge all of us to confront more advanced issues faced by today’s social entrepreneurs.  In sum, our course draws on a variety of disciplines, including management and finance, to develop frameworks and techniques that are needed to plan, start, evaluate, and successfully operate social ventures.

Our Course Objectives include:


Course Outline

Incorporating Social Impact Theory  - The Social Venture Plan

Working in teams, a business plan will be developed for a new social enterprise of your own design. Each student will be given an opportunity to present their initial idea to the class (see course schedule for pitch date). Teams will then be developed based on the idea (those with the greatest support from classmates as well as an assessment of its feasibility).  The social venture plan will encompass how the venture will achieved its impact and the plan itself.  Specifically, this will entail:         


Each week before class, you will have the opportunity to journal your own thoughts and ideas on specific topics related to opportunity identification and evaluation.   Topics will be different each week.  These are not formal writings, but rather an opportunity for you to thoughtfully reflect on the subjects being presented in class and in the readings and brainstorm new variations of your ideas/opportunities.  These reflections should be posted on Blackboard by Midnight on the day before class. On Blackboard, under “Assignments,” please upload and submit under the Journal entry assignment for that week’s class day. These are due each week.

Case Analysis

There will be a series of cases that we will analyze in class. You are expected to read the case beforehand and be prepared to discuss it during class.  You will need to write-up two (2) individual analyses to any two of the cases you choose.  Each write-up has a limit of 3 pages max. These write-ups will be due on Tuesday, 5 p.m. before that respective class discussion and should be uploaded and submitted to Blackboard under “Assignments.”  Late assignments will either not be accepted or will incur a grade penalty unless due to documented serious illness or family emergency.

From time to time we will bring in the entrepreneur to the class following the case discussion to discuss where he/she is today. Please refer to the appendix and a “guide to case analysis” for both discussion and write-up suggestions


Required Course Materials

Required Course Materials:


Assessment Components

Breakdown of Course Requirements:



Part I: Social Impact Theory (Oral)



Part II: Social Venture Plan (written)


Case Write-up I


Case Write-up II


Social Venture Plan Presentation




Class Participation


Peer Evaluations





Group Projects

A note on teams: Peer evaluations will assist me in assessing the contribution each team member makes to the business plan. Individual grades therefore may be significantly better (or worse) than the team grade.  Only in circumstances where a team member has not contributed, and where the balance of the team has attempted, unsuccessfully, to correct the problem with the individual and myself, can a team member be "fired." Arrange a meeting with me at the first sign of trouble.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter. Assigning grades that reward excellence and reflect differences in performance is important to ensuring the integrity of our curriculum.

In general, students in this elective course can expect a grading distribution where about 50% of students will receive A’s for excellent work and the remainder will receive B’s for good or very good work. In the event that a student performs only adequately or below, he or she can expect to receive a C or lower.

Note that the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well each of you actually performs in this course.

Determining the Final Grade:

 A        93-100

A-       90-92

B+      88-89

B        83-87

B-       80-82

C+      78-79

C        73-77

C-       70-72

D+      68-69

D        60-67

F        59 and below



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Stern Policies

Class and Small Group Participation

The success of this course depends not only on your attendance, but also on your participation.  The more you participate, the more fun and valuable the course will be for all of us.    For every class, students are expected to read the supplemental readings and cases.  Participation is measured using several criteria.  These include actively participating individually during the "discussion" part of our sessions, in small group meetings, and in group presentations.

The instructor's evaluation of your participation will be evaluated using these criteria:

Attendance and Lateness Policy

Attendance at each class session is expected. If you miss more than one class (regardless of the reason), you can expect this to have a negative effect on your class participation grade. Excessive lateness, or leaving early, will also have a negative effect on your contribution grade.

Laptops, Cell Phones, & Other Electronic Devices

These may not be used in class. Please turn off all electronic devices before class begins.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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