17 ways to get an education in social entrepreneurship

From degree programs to online courses, ways to get an education in social entrepreneurship in India.

Whether you are a mid-career professional wanting to understand what working in the social development sector is like before taking the plunge, or a student who has always aspired to be a social entrepreneur, there are a variety of educational programs today that offer a better perspective, deeper learning and on-the-ground practice in social entrepreneurship before you set out to build a career or association around it.

Here is a list to work through and pick the skill building regime best suited and most accessible to you, whether you are looking for hands-on or classroom training, short workshops, self-paced online training or an academic degree.

A degree in entrepreneurship

What this means: These programs offer participants an opportunity to study entrepreneurship with a strong academic perspective.

Works for: The aspiring entrepreneur looking to take the higher education route to becoming an entrepreneur. Opportunity to delve deep into the sector and earn a degree/certificate/diploma to build resume value and credibility apart from taking away valuable education.

Time requirement: 6 months to 2 years.

1. M.A. in Social Entrepreneurship, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Picture Credits: TISS

Perhaps the only full-fledged degree course in the country on social entrepreneurship, the renowned Tata Institute of Social Sciences offers a two-year, full time, M.A. Social Entrepreneurship (MASE) programme aims at training and developing change leaders for social and environment related problem solving in collaboration with state, market and civil society institutions. More about the course structure, modules and experiential learning here.

2. PGP for Certificate in Entrepreneurship Management, XLRI, Jamshedpur

XLRI Xavier School of Management offers a full-time  Post Graduate Programme for Certificate in Entrepreneurship Management (PGPCEM) through its Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC). The aim of this course is to promote entrepreneurship in Jharkhand and the rest of India. XLRI’s faculty and guest lecturers from the industry cover conceptual and operational aspects related to the execution of entrepreneurial ventures.

3. PG Diploma in Management, EDI, Gandhinagar

The EDI offers a two-year, full-time, residential Post Graduate Diploma in Management-Business Entrepreneurship (PGDM-BE). This course has been designed for entrepreneurs in particular, in a move to encourage critical and creative thinking, to foster their aspirations, and facilitate new ventures through a practical learning experience.

4. SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai

Running the Start Your Business Certification Program (SYB), Grow Your Business Certification Program (GYB), The Entrepreneurial Manager (TEM) – The Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) of SPJIMR, one of the five founding institutions of National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) in India, promotes student interest in entrepreneurship, facilitates new venture creation and commercializes grassroots inventions. CED helped start more than 20 new ventures by the year 2011 and offers elective courses and weekend certification programmes such as Start Your Business Certification Program (SYB), Grow Your Business Certification Program (GYB), The Entrepreneurial Manager (TEM) and Managing New Business Initiatives (MNBI).

5. MBA in Social Entrepreneurship (part-time), NMIMS, Mumbai

The Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Mumbai offers a part Time MBA in Social Entrepreneurship at the he Center for Sustainability Management and Social Entrepreneurship. It may interest social work professionals who wish to update their knowledge, social sector volunteers who need professional insight into the management of the social sector, as well as managers from the corporate world who deal with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

6. Urban Practice Programs, IIHS, Bangalore

The Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore offers Academic Programmes consisting of  Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral Degrees in ‘Urban Practice’ based on a wide set of disciplines and practices related to urban sustainability.

7. Emergent Institute/Indian Institute for Sustainable Enterprise (IISE), Bangalore

The newer Emergent Institute or Indian Institute for Sustainable Enterprise, Bangalore‘s flagship offering is its Program in Sustainable Enterprise which focuses on interactive, engaging experiences to launch and build sustainable enterprises.

8. Master of Social Entrepreneurship, Deshpande Foundation, Hubli

Deshpande Foundation India’s Master of Social Entrepreneurship is a 2-year residential program affiliated with the Karnatak University, Dharwad and approved by the Government of Karnataka. Course topics include innovation and entrepreneurship, financial skills, media for entrepreneurs and fundraising and the course is taught by faculty who come with expertise and experience with running enterprises and social organisations.

Note – most often institutes that offer academic programs as in the list also offer up short term programs. Take a look at the list below.

Short Term Courses and Workshops

What this means: Short duration workshops centered around specific themes to facilitate quick learning. Also a great place to meet new like-minded individuals and make interesting friends for professional purposes.

Works for: busy entrepreneurs and interested parties with a few hours a week to put away in skill building. Time requirement: 3-5 hours a week.

9. Social entrepreneurship outlook program, CSIM

The Centre for Social Innovation and Management, Chennai, offers a variety of short-term courses, weekend courses, workshops and online courses giving exposure to work done in the social sector.

10. TiE Social Enterprise Special Interest Group

The Indus Entrepreneurs, TiE, Chapters across India and the Special Interest Groups have several interesting panel discussions and workshops that facilitate learning and networking across a series of themes from scaling-up to efficiency building for social enterprises. It is useful to either get a full-time chapter membership or pick and choose events to go to that only require a Rs.500 registration fee.

11. Alchemix, Innovation Alchemy

Innovation Alchemy, an innovation consulting and advisory services enterprise based in Bangalore hosts regular debates and discussions on various aspects of social enterprise building under the head Alchemix.

Online tools for self-paced learning

What this means: Self-paced training modules with specific themes. These tools leverage visual media and webinar based formats to impart expertise on specific topics. Works for: Anyone with an entrepreneurial inclination. Time requirement: 3-5 hours a week

12. NEN Online

The National Entrepreneurship Network has an online resource centre with videos and other training materials that help student entrepreneurs across India.

13. Sankalp Forum Online Business Course

The online course focuses on business modelling and fundraising. It brings together insights from expert speakers, case studies of growth stage social enterprises and mentoring from early stage investment experts.

14. +Acumen Leadership Courses

Partnering with organisations such as IDEO, +Acumen promotes online learning in topics like human-centred design for social innovation, leadership essentials and more.

Executive Education

What this means: Classroom based training that covers basic tools and resources across various aspects of business operations. It is usually meant for professionals working in non-profits, social enterprises and mainstream organisations to develop specific skills relating to working in the space of social impact.

Villgro Mentoring

Works for: Student-entrepreneurs, working entrepreneurs looking for that next level boost, entrepreneurs looking to forge interesting partnerships and alliances.

Time requirement: 6 weeks to 6 months.

15. Dasra Social Impact, Mumbai

Dasra Social Impact, at Dasra, Mumbai –  India’s largest executive training program for leaders of non profits and social businesses, the Dasra Social Impact program empowers sector professionals with funds, networks and skills to help them scale. Visit Dasra DSI for duration, fees and application criteria.

16. Entrepreneurship Development Programs, EDI, Chennai

EDI Chennai offer various programs in in the field of entrepreneurship education and self-employment promotion in the state of Tamil Nadu.

17. ACCION, Bangalore

Business Training at ACCION, Bangalore offers business training courses for micro entrepreneurs.

Coming up: ‘Long term and school based’ entrepreneurship learning, incubation and mentoring programs.

IDEX Fellow and founder of collaborative blog Seize The Word. When she isn’t bouncing off the walls with new ideas and childlike enthusiasm, she is dreaming up story book plots and researching for her new venture. A social-entrepreneur-in-progress, her plate is never empty and her glass is always half full. A Bangalore girl with a soft spot for Mumbai. more


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IDEX Fellow and founder of collaborative blog Seize The Word. When she isn’t bouncing off the walls with new ideas and childlike enthusiasm, she is dreaming up story book plots and researching for her new venture. A social-entrepreneur-in-progress, her plate is never empty and her glass is always half full. A Bangalore girl with a soft spot for Mumbai. more
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