BUU33690 Social Entrepreneurship

(5 ECTS)


Sheila Cannon 

Phone: 01 896 3850
Office Hours: By Appointment, Trinity Business School, 4.09

Module Description: 

Social Entrepreneurship is a rapidly growing area in Ireland and internationally, as businesses can no longer operate in isolation from social, environmental and political challenges.  When you consider climate change trends, economic inequality, and political instability, arguably, those challenges, are existential and urgent.

The aim of this module is to develop a critical awareness of major issues, opportunities and problems associated with social entrepreneurship in Ireland and internationally. We will examine the theoretical underpinnings of social entrepreneurship and social venture development and analyse patterns of social entrepreneurial behaviour locally and internationally. Social enterprises are organisations that seek to create significant social impact through their initiatives and activities. They are often nonprofits, but also operate within the private and public sectors and within a variety of organisational settings. In this course, participants will work with theory, cases and their own social entrepreneurial projects to identify how social entrepreneurship can respond to and even drive social-economic-political change.

Learning and Teaching Approach:

The approach to teaching and learning will be evidenced based, interactive and learner centred.  Firstly, lecture content and concepts will be based on theories and research from peer reviewed journals.  Students are encouraged to practice questioning and exploring the evidence base for any claim or theory.  Social entrepreneurship is an applied social science, involving organisations and individuals who claim to make real social change.  These claims will be explored and analysed.  Secondly, interactive and learner centred approaches engage students in the learning process in a holistic way.  Interactive facilitation techniques encourage students to draw on their existing knowledge and participate in new knowledge creation in groups.

Learning Outcomes:   

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  1. Identify the distinctive characteristics and attributes of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship;
  2. Critically evaluate relevant theory associated with social enterprises and social entrepreneurs in Irish and international contexts;
  3. Analyse initiatives to create social impact and bring about social change and provide critical evaluation and constructive feedback of those initiatives;
  4. Apply the tools and theories of social entrepreneurship to new contexts, including new social and environmental issues and challenges.
  5. Communicate innovative social business ideas through pitching and writing business plans, working both individually and with a team.

Textbooks and Required Resources:

Required core course textbook:

Kickull, J and Lyons, T (2012) Understanding Social Entrepreneurship: The Relentless Pursuit of Mission in an Ever Changing World, Routledge, New York.

General Supplemental Readings:

Brooks, Arthur C. (2009) Social Entrepreneurship: A Modern Approach to Social Venture Creation, Pearson Prentice Hall

Both books can be found in the library. Other readings will be made available during the course.


1 x Group Project         40%

1 x Exam                     60%