Universities embrace social entrepreneurship
3 March 2020 at 4:24 pm
The higher education sector is beginning to take heed of the burgeoning social enterprise movement
Young people’s growing interest in creating social change has compelled one Australian university to offer a free online course for social entrepreneurship.
Torrens University is launching a free, five-week online open course for people wanting to start their own social enterprise, or expand their social entrepreneur capabilities.
Produced in partnership with Laureate International Universities, the International Youth Foundation and B Lab, Voices of Social Change aims to help participants develop their social venture idea and understand the concepts underpinning social entrepreneurship.
It will be run by eight young, experienced social entrepreneurs from Australia and around the world, who will share their knowledge and the lessons they’ve learnt along the way.
Bryce Ives, vice president public affairs and communications at Torrens University, said as a B Corp, the university understood the role of both profit and purpose in creating social change.
He told Pro Bono News this course was created because the university knew its students, staff and young people in general were interested in social entrepreneurship.
“They’re interested in pursuing ideas that make a positive impact,” Ives said.
“And this course is a chance to showcase eight incredible young individuals from around the world, who can use their knowledge to take people doing the course on a journey through best practice social entrepreneurship.”
Ives said universities were beginning to take heed of Australia’s burgeoning social enterprise movement.
He said he attended the Social Enterprise World Forum last year in Ethiopia and noticed a large cohort of academics and universities who were now firmly committed to promoting excellence in social entrepreneurship.
“I think it’s a given that universities will move more and more into this space,” he said.
“But it’s actually a really complex and emerging field. And because of that, it can be difficult for universities to have their finger on the pulse when things are moving so rapidly.”
One of the people in charge of teaching the course is Australian social entrepreneur Melanie Tran, who was selected as part of The Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 Women of Influence in 2019.
She said the course was not just about developing skills but also being prepared.
“This course is perfect for people who want to make an impact and create social change but need help with where to begin or are facing stumbling blocks,” Tran said.
“I have been fortunate to have like-minded people support and nurture my ideas and vision. We hope that through this online course, future social entrepreneurs can acquire the fundamental skills to become their own community changemaker.”
More information about the course, which commences 16 March, can be found here.