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Business Models for Social Enterprise

A free course from Acumen
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The Course

Course Description:

You've come up with an amazing prototype for a new product or service that could benefit villagers in rural Kenya or slum dwellers in India. Now how do you figure out if there is a sustainable business model to get this innovation into the hands of your customers? This 4-week course from +Acumen & Santa Clara University's Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship will help you think through how you can create financial value while delivering products or services to the poor. The course uses methodology and content from the Miller Center's Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®).

You'll learn about 4 social enterprise models that Acumen has seen effectively create value, and then you'll use the business model canvas to map out components of your own potential company. You'll analyze your value chain—from manufacturing to distribution—and determine the stages you want to get involved in vs. where you'll need to partner with other key players. You'll walk away from this course with hypotheses about the size of your target market, the key business partners you'll need to reach out to, and potential cost structures and revenue streams. While this course will not delve into the intricacies of financial modeling, you'll emerge with a big-picture understanding of the key components to consider if you are building a business that prioritizes social impact and strives for financial sustainability.

Key Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the unique considerations for building a business model and analyzing a value chain in the social sector
  • Use the business model canvas to map out key components of a social enterprise
  • Create and test hypotheses about a social enterprise's target market size, cost structure, revenue streams, and value chain partnerships

More questions?

Please visit our +Acumen Page for more information. We invite participants to form groups to work together on this course. If you'd like to form a group with others, please send this link to your friends or colleagues to ask them to sign up!

If you have any questions, please contact us at

This Course Is For You If:

  • You are an early stage social entrepreneur with an idea or prototype for a product or service, but you need to consider your business model
  • Anyone curious about the key considerations for building business models in the social sector
  • You've taken +Acumen's Lean Principles for Social Impact course and are eager to build a business model to match your value proposition

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