Spring 2024
MLD 836M
January 22 - March 8
Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00AM - 10:15AM
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Social Entrepreneurship/Social Enterprise Deep Dive: How to Operationalize & Scale for Social Impact


Kiva, One Acre Fund, Sanergy, Sirum, Muso, Kinvolved, Report for America, and Education Superhighway all have achieved enormous impact in the world and all started out as early stage social enterprises led by a visionary. MLD-836M is a deep dive for those seriously interested in driving impact at scale through non-profit and for-profit social enterprises. Building on the lessons learned from decades of investing in early stage social enterprises working on some of societies’ most complicated issues, this intensive course will help future leaders of programs, start-ups and mature organizations understand the operational challenges around executing at scale in an every changing, resource constrained and complicated world. With a combination of lectures, workshops and live case studies, students will be asked to develop operating plans and scale models that meet the challenge of the problems they are trying to address. The course is hyper focused on the mastery of five critical skills necessary to lead and execute the mission of sustainable social enterprises: 1) deeply understanding the nature of the problem being addressed and the ecosystem surrounding it; 2) creating the right type of organization that can address these challenges including organizational design, talent development, board engagement, and relevant strategic public/private partnerships; 3) understanding the existing infrastructure and distribution channels that surround the problem and your proposed solution; 4)identifying relevant sources of funding for the solution; and 5) and how to use data to measure and evaluate impact in order to be able to iterate in real time and achieve long term sustainability and drive momentum to scale. A critical component of the course will be a set of closely related curricular panels featuring leaders in the sector who can provide real time context and relevancy and speak firsthand to the challenges they faced as they mastered each of these five critical skills.This course is a rigorous course for those with serious intent to make a difference in the lives of others and will involve intensive workshops and other co-curricular activities to provide context and insights. This course is a great follow on course for those that have taken an introductory course on social change, strategy, non-profit management or social movement building or already have good foundational knowledge. The course enrollment will be limited to 25 students.
Course Notes: The course meets the requirements for eligibility for students to qualify for a number of HBS and university social enterprise challenges.

HKS Government
Harvard Business School
Harvard Kennedy School
Course Level
Interest Area
Law & Policy
Cross Registration