Course 2020-2021 a.y.


Department of Management and Technology

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
FIN (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Suggested background knowledge

To feel comfortable in this course, students should have general background in management, organization and business planning.

Mission & Content Summary


Over the last decade, a new wave of entrepreneurial ferment has taken hold around the globe, motivated by the search for new, sustainable solutions to complex social problems. This course is intended to familiarize students with the challenges and opportunities of social entrepreneurship, providing knowledge and tools to sustain social opportunity identification and exploitation. It addresses social planning along the stages of entrepreneurial discovery, social impact assessments, innovative investment and financial models, such as venture philanthropy and social venture capital. Moreover, recent advancements in the field of innovation for social change is reviewed, with a focus on bottom of the pyramid strategies, scaling opportunities, and cross-sector social partnerships.


The course contents are organized into 4 modules:

Module1: Introduction to the topic.

  • Starting from presenting current theories and approaches to social entrepreneurship, the module aims at creating a common language among participants related to entrepreneurial projects with a strong focus on social change objectives. The relationship between social and business entrepreneurship is presented, together with a focus on the changing dynamics in the non-profit sector. New legal forms and organizations are presented with an international focus.

Module 2: Planning dynamics and tools.

  • The module focuses on a process-based view of social entrepreneurship, starting with opportunity identification and ending-up with opportunity exploitation into a running organizational form. The role of planning in supporting idea refinement for social change is presented, with specific regards to the development of a theory of change and a related business model. The specificities of social business plans are also introduced, with reference to a social start-up.

Module 3: Social impact assessment and maximization:

  • The need for measuring social value creation is introduced in module 3, both as a forecast before launching a social venture to attract potential resource providers and as an approach to formalize internal mechanisms aimed at making people responsible for the correct use of resources. Attention is focus on social return on investment analysis. The economic quantification of the social value created also represents the precondition to maximize mission attainment by informing decisions regarding scaling options.

Module 4: Financial innovations for social change:

  • Module 4 takes into considerations innovation in funding strategies for social entrepreneurial ventures. Impact investing and social venture capital is explored, comparing and contrasting alternative models.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Set the boundaries of social entrepreneurship and understand the steps through which a typical entrepreneurial process for social change unfolds.
  • Analize the complexity of the social sector and its heterogeneus actors.
  • Identify and critically analyze the challenges of dual-mission management.
  • Learn a vocabulary for thinking and communicating about social values.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Build up theories of change and acknowledge the main managerial approaches to turn social entrepreneurial opportunities into business models.
  • Understand and measure social impact through the development of impact value chains.
  • Analyze funding needs and sources for social entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Experience how ideas for social change can be critically and collaboratively examined prior to commitment.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


Leveraging on the variety of current experiences and perspectives, theory and practice of social entrepreneurship are combined dynamically, making room for traditional lectures, case studies, project works and interaction with professionals in the field. Company presentations are integral part of the program.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)


The course is based on active teaching methodologies aimed at maximizing students’ participation. In addition to theoretical sessions, all participants are involved in the discussion of case studies and incidents obtained using real-life examples. The final grade consists of the following components: 1. End-of-term exam: 40%; 2. Group assignment: 50%; 3. Active class participation: 10%

  1. The end-of-term exam tests the knowledge obtained by attending the classes and studying the required readings as uploaded on the e-learning platform. It consists of short specific questions (both open-ended and multiple choices).
  2. The group assignment consists of the development of a business plan for a social start-up dealing with a specific social problem. Details are provided in class. 
  3. Active class participation is evaluated baseb on in-class assignments on cases and short exercises.


Written exam to test knowledge obtained studying mandatory readings and additional readings as listed in the syllabus. As for attending students, the exam consists of short specific questions (both open-ended and multiple choices).

Teaching materials


A reading list, consisting of articles, papers, cases, and/or book chapters, is provided at the beginning of the course.


A reading list, consisting of articles, papers, cases, and/or book chapters, is provided at the beginning of the course. Additional mandatory readings are required for non attending students only.

Last change 24/07/2020 16:52