Social Entrepreneurship 101

Social Entrepreneurship 101

Posted On

Jan 15, 2020

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Registration is currently closed. Please stay tuned for our next round!

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Are you an aspiring social entrepreneur looking to learn how to establish and grow your enterprise?

Join us for Social Entrepreneurship 101: an 8-week, part-time intensive program that covers all aspects of social entrepreneurship, from making sure you’ve identified the right problem, to turning your solution into a sustainable business model. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, invest in your personal and professional growth, and turn your idea into impact, this is the right course for you. 

We are delighted to offer five fully-funded participant scholarships sponsored by Alterna Savings Credit Union. These scholarships are intended to unlock access, opportunity, and impact for program participants who may face financial constraints to their involvement. All applicants (CSI Members, Non-CSI members, DECAs and PECAs) are eligible to apply. Find details below!

The details:

We are accepting registration for two cohorts. Each cohort is limited to 15 participants each:

February 26th – April 22nd, *No Class March 25 

Cohort A | 9:30AM – 12:30PM
Cohort B | 2:00PM – 5:00PM
CSI Annex – 720 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario

What you’ll learn

Social Entrepreneurship 101 is an 8-week program delivered in two phases: 

Phase 1 (Weeks 1-4): Explore your purpose as a social entrepreneur. Discover your problem space. Map opportunities for impact.  

Together, we’ll begin with some of the big questions you may be asking yourself, such as:

  • I see so many urgent problems to solve. Which should I focus on specifically, and why?
  • There are so many things to do to get started. How do I prioritize?
  • What skills, knowledge, connections, and experience can I leverage to make an impact? 
  • How do I move from idea to action?

Phase 2 (Weeks 4-8): Discover stakeholders. Build your business and financial models. Identify funding options and enterprise impact.  

Questions answered during this phase include: 

  • I have developed a clear idea of the impact that I want my enterprise to generate. How do I design my business to reach this impact?
  • How can I generate sustainable revenue (and profit) from my social enterprise?
  • What resources am I going to need to start my enterprise?
  • What funding models and options should I explore?

By the end of the 8-weeks, you’ll gain experience, confidence, and practice with core competencies in social entrepreneurship such as critical thinking, systems thinking, active listening, storytelling, decision-making, and business modelling. 

Who you’ll meet

You’ll start your Wednesdays with a cohort of 15 changemakers who are similarly driven and committed to making an impact. SE 101 is open to CSI Members, Desk Exchange Community Animators (DECAs), Project Exchange Community Animators (PECAs), and the public. 

Social Entrepreneurship 101 was developed in partnership with experienced social entrepreneurs, coaches, facilitators, and educators, and based on the learnings of over 10 years of training social enterprises. 

What’s included

In addition to the 8-week Social Entrepreneurship 101 curriculum, participants will also gain access to CSI community perks:

  • A complimentary day-pass for CSI Annex on session Wednesdays ($240 value)
  • Invitations to Wednesday’s Salad Club, a weekly potluck lunch for CSI members, at CSI Annex
  • Invitations to ongoing CSI additional learning workshops
  • Access to a SE101 community wide #Slack channel
  • Invitations to Thursday’s Bagel Bonding, a weekly ritual for CSI members, at CSI Annex
  • Access to a weekly SE101 work-focused peer-circle, wednesdays immediately following Bagel Bonding

Alterna Savings Scholarships 

In an effort to reduce financial barriers to SE 101 program participation, we are delighted to offer five fully-funded participant scholarships sponsored by Alterna Savings Credit Union. All applicants (CSI Members, Non-CSI members, DECAs and PECAs) are eligible to apply. Scholarship applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of CSI staff and Alterna Savings staff. To apply for an Alterna Savings Scholarship, please complete this form by February 9, 2020 at 11:59pm EST.  


Should you have any questions about the registration process, please contact the course facilitator, Peggy Sue Deaven at peggysue[at]socialinnovation[dot]ca. 

CSI’s Social Entrepreneurship 101 is sponsored by:


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the learning outcomes of this course?

Our course curriculum and learning outcomes are available on this page!

How can I prepare for the course?

Once you complete your Eventbrite registration, we will send you a compilation of ‘Pre-Course Work’ materials that will help you prepare for the 8 weeks of course work to come. Make sure to take the time to complete the work and invest in your journey ahead. Pre-Course Work will include a personal and professional values evaluation, a written reflection of your story of self and entrepreneurial motivations, and pre-course research topics on Social Entrepreneurship.

Do I need to start with a clear business idea to participate?

No, it is not required that you have a clear business idea to participate in SE 101. In fact, many participants use the first 4 weeks of the program to further research and discover the full breadth of their business ideas and potential solutions within the current landscape.

How many hours a week outside of class should I be committing to classwork?

You will need to dedicate on average approximately 3 hours outside of class per week towards completing the work for the following class.

How do I maximize my learning in SE101?

It is important that you show up on-time and ready to engage with the material, facilitator and other participants, having already completed your out of class work.

As a perk to this course, you will receive a complimentary day pass to work from the Centre for Social Innovation Bathurst location for the remainder of your workday. You’re also invited to connect with CSI members and community at Salad Club on Wednesdays after class. Use this time to get to know your fellow classmates and colleagues and further develop your network.

Will I have a working business model upon completion of SE101?

This 8-week course is dedicated to sharing the tools of how to build a successful social enterprise. Upon completion of SE101, you will have developed working models of your social enterprise that will help you to understand how to structure your business for success!

Will I have a completed business plan upon completion of SE101?

There is a wonderful amount of research and modelling that must be done prior to completing your first business plan. Once you complete SE 101, you will have the foundational pieces to begin putting together a successful business plan!

Entrepreneurship courses are offered in many places. Why should I take this one with CSI?

The Centre for Social Innovation is a community, catalyst, and launch pad for social entrepreneurship and innovation. Accessing the entrepreneurial experience of facilitators, guest speakers, and the community at large offers a more meaningful opportunity for networking and deeper learning. SE 101 also uniquely focuses both on personal and professional development.

What tools do I need to complete the course?

You will need a laptop/ computer and access to an internet connection to be able to download and read through weekly materials. It is suggested that you keep a detailed journal to track your weekly progress and enterprise research. Come to class prepared to capture information shared through worksheets and slide shows. Please also bring pen, scratch paper, and post-it notes for your in-class time.

What stage should my business be in to take this course?

This course offers the most value to entrepreneurs who are in the “Ideation” and “Discovery” phases of their businesses. 

Ideation: Entrepreneur with an idea, initial market and technology exploration

Discovery: Value proposition established, testing ideas, proof of concept achieved, identifying customers

I do not have a particular business idea, but want to learn more about how to be a social entrepreneur. Is this course useful?

This course is extremely useful to individuals wishing to learn more about what it means to be a social entrepreneur. You will learn how to holistically understand the roles and driving motivations of a thriving social enterprise and what it means to generate meaningful entrepreneurial impact. 

Many successful social entrepreneurs begin as socially and environmentally aware citizens who are passionate and in search of meaningful solutions to the communities they are a member of or intending to generate solutions for. This is a great opportunity to gain access to incredible tools and learnings towards those outcomes!

I currently work for a company and do not want to start my own enterprise. Is this course still useful?

Yes, it can be. If you are a part of a company where you want to generate impact for meaningful change, even within your own corporate culture, this is a great place to begin. SE101 gives you the opportunity to develop your storytelling skills, research abilities, and systems thinking approaches to understand and address complex challenges.