Booth Social Impact Courses

The Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation facilitates courses on social impact strategy, social entrepreneurship, scaling, and more. Here are a few:

Corporate Social Responsibility Social Impact Practicum
This lab course centers on a live project that allows students to consider the role of the firm in society. The course explores the domains of corporate social responsibility and sustainability through project-based work that addresses the firm’s sustainability strategy.

Impact Investing
In this course, students explore the expanding role of impact investing in deploying financial resources to address social problems through market-based interventions. The course examines a variety of asset classes, from venture capital and private equity to public markets and alternatives.

New Social Ventures
This is the academic component of the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge, in which teams develop ideas for innovative social startups. At least one student from each SNVC team must enroll in New Social Ventures.

Scaling Social Innovation Search Lab
In this course, students work in groups to identify a nonprofit outside of Chicago that is addressing a specific social or environmental problem in a unique way, then develop a plan to bring that innovation to Chicago. The course culminates with presentations by students to a panel of judges with the power to make their proposals a reality.

Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Booth)
In this course, Booth students study social innovation with a focus on the role of social entrepreneurship in developing and scaling innovative solutions to society’s problems. Students will identify an opportunity for an innovative social venture, research relevant academic literature, conduct extensive customer discovery, analyze the competitive landscape, validate and refine the product/service, propose a business model and go-to-market strategy, articulate the venture’s underlying theory of change, and identify an impact measurement/management strategy.

Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation (The College) (login required)
In this course, students study social innovation with a focus on the role of social entrepreneurship in implementing innovative solutions to society's problems. Teams of two to four students are paired with a UChicago faculty member who has developed or studied an innovation that addresses a social problem and could become a for-profit or nonprofit social venture. Teams research the relevant literature, conduct customer discovery, analyze the competitive landscape, validate and refine the offering, propose a business model, articulate a theory of change, and identify an impact management strategy.

Social Impact Lab
In this project-based course, students deeply examine a social or environmental issue and work in small groups to develop a proposal for a company, nonprofit, or other organization to address the issue. Throughout the quarter, students learn about strategy development with a client objective in mind. Alongside the project, students delve into the domain area to enhance their understanding and inform their recommendations.

Social Sector Strategy and Structure
In this course, students use cases and exercises to examine and unpack key topics in social sector management and strategy, including organizational structure from a tax-status perspective, common business models, management tools, and impact measurement. Students develop the ability to analyze the distinctive components of a social sector organization’s capacity to deliver impact.

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