Social Entrepreneurship Certificate for Social Sector Leaders

Social Entrepreneurship CertificateWhether you are a nonprofit leader, corporate executive or government official leading CSR and social impact initiatives, this social entrepreneurship certificate is for you. Brought to you by the Communities Foundation of Texas, the SMU Cox School of Business, and leading social sector thinkers in North Texas, it will revolutionize your approach from the inside out. Social entrepreneurs are change agents who are relentless in fashioning bold and sustainable solutions to create social change – in all shapes and sizes within and among nonprofits, government, and business. They may create them by building new paradigms through enterprises or work as an intrapreneur within existing organizations to build better solutions. 

In 11 connected sessions, this certificate course will help you think like a social entrepreneur and equip you with the power tools needed to pursue your ideas in a more strategic and sustainable way. This certificate is designed to teach new ways of thinking that will transform how you tackle any social issue. 
What you’ll get from the certificate: 

  • Improve your knowledge of the origin behind social entrepreneurship and the promise of this concept to changing the world
  • Grasp the difference between the various aspects of social entrepreneurship, including innovation, enterprise, CSR and impact investing
  • Understand the unique connection between innovation and entrepreneurship in ensuring your ideas are strategic and sustainable 
  • Learn business techniques that are useful to build a disciplined approach to social change
  • Hear stories and case studies from both successful and unsuccessful attempts at social entrepreneurship
  • Walk away with a toolkit of best practices that can be implemented in any social change initiative

This course is designed like an MBA course – with a pre-read, class lecture and lively discussion, interactive exercises and a take-home toolkit. It includes three major focus areas during 11 sessions. Each session stands alone, but to apply for the certificate at the end, you must have attended at least nine of the sessions. 

The sessions will take place on the following Fridays from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. The session dates include: September 15, 2023; September 29, 2023; October 13, 2023; October 27, 2023; November 10, 2023; December 1, 2023; January 12, 2024; January 26, 2024; February 9, 2024; February 23, 2024; and March 8, 2024. 

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  • Dates

    9/15/2023 9:00 AM - 3/8/2024 12:00 PM

  • Format

    Eleven sessions on Friday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Location

    Collins Executive Education Center
    3150 Binkley Ave.
    Dallas, Texas 75205 United States

    Watch a Recorded Webinar - Social Entrepreneurship for Nonprofits >>

  • Price

    The cost of the program is free. Upon successful completion of the program, participants receive a certificate.

    To learn more about the program, contact us at 214.768.3335 or Please note, applications are due August 18th and you will be notified by August 31st of your admittance status. 

  • Topics

    Cultivating the Right Mindset 

    1. Creating a Team of Social Intrapreneurs: The Role of Entrepreneurial Culture & Employee Ownership

    Key Learning Objectives:

    • Find out which culture you prefer and how it compares to others through a pre-assessment
    • Explore how key entrepreneurial concepts and skills that make for-profit businesses competitive can be applied to nonprofit organizations to make them more sustainable and successful
    • Understand the basic elements of an entrepreneurial mindset that will offer a practical framework for improving employee ownership as well as enhancing entrepreneurial activities

    Organizations are navigating tectonic shifts in the social sector that require new skills and strategies to create long-term impact. The complicated challenges facing contemporary nonprofit organizations demand a dynamic brand of leadership. An entrepreneurial outlook can help transform organizational culture by meaningfully engaging the abilities, talents and passions of board, staff and supporters. 

    Session Date: Friday, September 15th 

    2. Playing Chess versus Checkers: Why Strategy Is at the Heart of Any Move Forward

    Key Learning Objectives:

    • Find out the origin of social entrepreneurship and how it has shifted the charitable sector
    • Explore the various players within social change and why the game is evolving
    • Understand basic strategic frameworks that will offer ways to scan your environment and help shape your business model

    Before moving forward with social change, a strong understanding of the game is vital. Success or failure at social change is not only about the business model, but also the external forces that shape your idea. Find out why social change is so complicated and how change can be masterminded by any social entrepreneur. 

    Session Date: Friday, September 29th 

    3. Building Your Army: Telling a Convincing Story to Advance Your Cause

    Key Learning Objectives:

    • Learn why storytelling works and how marketers use it successfully to create messages that “stick”
    • Discover how to build a storytelling culture by marrying stories with data for an impactful pitch
    • Uncover tricks of the trade (with a social sector twist), including feasibility assessments and business plans, pitches, prospectus and feasibility

    Every day, people are bombarded by 6,000 media and marketing messages. For social change to happen, we must build an army of supporters through the power of storytelling. We also need funding and financing to support our ideas, and the corporate world provides us with some time-tested tools to build confidence in our business model. 

    Session Date: Friday, October 13th 

    Channeling Passion into Social Change

    4. Unlocking New Thinking in Social Change: The Role of Creativity & Design Thinking in Your Market Research Strategy

    Key Learning Objectives:

    • Learn the value of creativity at any stage of work
    • Uncover ways to bring creative exercises to improve your market research for new work or offerings as well as rethink your existing work
    • Find reliable ways to not miss the mark and ensure that your work is co-created with those you serve 

    Creativity is the cornerstone of entrepreneurship. But there is a common misconception that you can only be creative if you are in a creative profession. That’s simply not true. Creativity can be taught, and moreover, it can leveraged to start something new or improve upon existing work. It can also be a fun way to engage staff, volunteers and clients to be part of the solution. 

    Session Date: Friday, October 27th

    5. Mythbusting in Social Innovation: Why Innovation Is About More Than a Good Idea

    Key Learning Objectives:

    • Explore a research-based approach to sustainable social innovation
    • Leverage practices to help you and your organization think in a more innovative way
    • Define your unique process for opportunity assessment to separate the good ideas from the truly great ideas

    Universities and media are increasingly using the term “innovation” as a powerful way to disrupt current norms, but to be more than just a passing fad, true innovation needs to be coupled with discipline. 

    Session Date: Friday, November 10th

    6. Moving From Intuition to Insight: Social Impact as a Cultural Norm

    Key Learning Objectives:

    • Discuss shifting impact from a program evaluation tool to an integral part of your culture
    • Share tools and tricks of the trade for efficient and effective data-driven decision-making
    • Learn why change management techniques are important tools for every social entrepreneur  

    While data collection and measurement are hot topics at every social sector conference, social entrepreneurs have a unique vision of the role of social impact. It is about establishing a culture that supports curiosity, learning and growth. 

    Session Date: Friday, December 1st

    7. Where Mission & Money Collide: Social Enterprise as a Powerful Tool for Social Change & Workforce Strategy

    Key Learning Objectives:

    • Understand what social enterprise is and whether or not your organization is ready to pursue it
    • Learn about how to best pursue social enterprise through take-home tools and exercises
    • Study characteristics of successful social enterprises to model their strategies 

    In the face of increasing competition for funding, more social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders are achieving their mission and making money to support their cause through social enterprise.

    Session Date: Friday, January 12th

    8. Scaling Social Change as the Holy Grail: How to Do it Successfully from the Start

    Key Learning Objectives:

    • Understand the definition of scale and the varied pathways – beyond bricks and mortar – for promising scaling strategies, including collaboration, social movements and public policy
    • Determine key steps to scale successfully
    • Discuss varied strategies – with successful and unsuccessful case studies – on how to truly scale your idea widely as a social entrepreneur

    Scale is the “holy grail” for social entrepreneurs, but they often start considering how to scale their idea too late or miss some important steps to truly be successful. 

    Session Date: Friday, January 26th

    Building the Discipline 

    9. Why Sizzle Sells the Steak: Marketing & Branding as Cornerstones of any Successful Endeavor 

    Key Learning Objectives:

    • Learn how to determine your unique value proposition as a social sector organization
    • Unlock the 4Ps and 5Cs of nonprofit marketing and leverage them for your marketing strategy
    • Share unique marketing challenges in the social sector, including social marketing and cause branding
    • Discuss case studies surrounding nonprofit and social enterprise marketing and lessons learned

    Marketing is both an art and science. And, in the social sector, it can be a bit more complicated with multiple customers to determine the optimal strategy. Social entrepreneurs take the best marketing tools from business with slight adjustments for the social context.  

    Session Date: Friday, February 9th

    10. Building the Final Pieces of the Puzzle Together: Why Operations, Legal Strategy & Finance Management are the Keys to Risk Management

    Key Learning Objectives:

    • Study operations, legal structure and finance, specifically for the social sector
    • Learn how to identify and mitigate risk early and often
    • Discuss lessons learned from a case study

    The difference between an innovator and entrepreneur is that innovators create ideas while entrepreneurs create business models to support companies that take ideas to scale, with the potential for them to outlive their initial creator. Part of their success is navigating the largest risks for any organization – operations, legal issues and financial solvency. 

    Session Date: Friday, February 23rd

    11. Hot Topics in Social Change: Navigating the ABCs of CSR, ESG, and Impact Investing as New Drivers of Social Change   

    Key Learning Objectives:

    • Discover the range of strategic opportunities for social sector organizations (e.g., CSR, strategic CSR and Conscious Capitalism) as well as tools for impact and measurement (e.g., ESGs and SDGs) and how to integrate DEI across all levels of the organization
    • Become acquainted with the diverse array of changemakers at small businesses and Fortune 500 companies who are pursuing the greater good through examples showcasing their work
    • Learn how to bring this mindset and know-how to your social sector initiatives

    August 19, 2019, was a turning point in American capitalism when the influential Business Roundtable adopted a “Statement of Purpose of the Corporation,” which committed corporate America not only to maximizing profits, but also to creating value for all stakeholders. Now, businesses – large and small – are rapidly developing strategies to help the community, foster an inclusive workplace, take stances on policy issues and pursue philanthropic activities that have both real and perceived impact.

    Session Date: Friday, March 8th

  • Who Should Attend?


    • a nonprofit, government, or corporate leader
    •  a leader of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and/or social impact initiatives
    • an individual passionate about making a difference in the world

    Gain your Social Entrepreneurship Certificate with SMU Cox Executive Education in partnership with Communities Foundation of Texas. Level up your skillset and your organization.

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