March 21, 2023, by aczjb1

Entrepreneurship for Social Change

A new addition to our teaching portfolio was launched in the autumn semester 2022-23: Entrepreneurship for Social Change. The module sought to equip students with the knowledge and skills to be able to deliver social change through entrepreneurial endeavours. The module delivery centred around a newly curated, innovative portfolio that guided the students through different tasks to create a social enterprise. Week by week participants built up their social venture ideas by working in a group on tasks such as writing purpose, vision and mission statements, to identifying a funder and outlining key costs areas, to completing a full Social Business Model Canvas.

Dr Isobel O’Neil, the module convenor and driving force behind the project explained: “This portfolio is the cornerstone of the module’s innovative framework for teaching Entrepreneurship for Social Change. The framework is theoretically and conceptually underpinned and after being first introduced to the concepts and talked through the task’s requirements, students are drawn into immediate practice each week in their groups.”

Dr Isobel O’Neil leads the Entrepreneurship for Social Change seminar. Photography by Alex Wilkinson Media

Eight groups took part this year and while they had relatively free reign to decide on a venture idea, they each benefited from devoted time with an external mentor in week 3 – including Brendan Street from Nuffield Health, Isabelle Chatel de Brancion from Geovation/Ordnance Survey and Shoana Khan from Nottingham-based Himmah. The groups ended up working on ideas as diverse as student mental health provision, supported living for domestic abuse survivors, access to work for those with disabilities, and discrimination against BME women in the workplace.

Annabel Mair, a third year Business School student explained her groups venture idea: “My group are working on a project that tackles social inequalities within university and through setting up a social enterprise that redistributes preloved work clothes to students from low socioeconomic backgrounds helping them feel confident when applying for jobs and placements. The module has been fantastic helping the team stick to our mission and offering support and ideas to drive our project plan forward ready for implementation.”

Students working on the Entrepreneurship for Social Change module. Photography by Alex Wilkinson Media

Excitingly, Annabel and her group’s involvement with Enactus this pre-loved clothes project has now become a formally recognised project within Enactus and all involved are very excited to see where it will go.

One of the Ingenuity lab’s members was also a participant in the module – Tom Tweddle commented: “The Entrepreneurship and social change module takes you through several key stages of a social venture. Balancing both the dual perspectives of entrepreneurship and social impact, it looks to not only educate through theory but execute through practice, helping to excel knowledge and provide skills to take into the real working world.”

“This module not only showed me some great ways to innovate, ideate and implement models and frameworks which actually generate results and impact, but also helped me to learn the importance of working with others. Getting the chance to speak to experts from organisations such as Nuffield Health, and actually implement learnt theory is the direction Universities and Entrepreneurship should be moving, and this module is key to that.”

Students working on the Entrepreneurship for Social Change module. Photography by Alex Wilkinson Media

Thanks to the funding from Enterprise Educators, the module team are continuing to evaluate the pilot year, and have engaged student voice through pre- and post-module interviews and a survey, as well as holding student voice conversations specifically about how some of participants experienced the individual tasks and the overall flow of the portfolio.

Dr David Achtzehn, the department’s teaching director shares “modules such as this encapsulate HGI’s approach to teaching and learning; nurturing entrepreneurial mindsets through experience lies at the heart of our pedagogy. We strive to enable creativity and foster opportunities for social impact, and our collegial team are not afraid to innovate to provide excellent student experience.”

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