Social Impact

Wharton Social Entrepreneurship

Wharton Social Entrepreneurship, launched in 2001, is a global field research program that examines the use of social impact business models to address societal challenges. We believe that entrepreneurship can be a powerful tool in solving social problems around the world and that entrepreneurs can build businesses that simultaneously earn income and tackle social problems in novel and effective ways. 

This model of solving societal ills is built on the idea of creating self-sufficiency rather than dependency in the beneficiaries. A successful social enterprise creates a ‘virtuous cycle’: as the company and its earnings grow, so too does its positive social impact;; and as more societal problems are alleviated, greater numbers of people can join the mainstream of global citizens living above the poverty line.

Register now for our new FREE Social Entrepreneurship course on Coursera, September 8-October 24, 2014. 

Ian MacMillan
Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Director, Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center

James Thompson
Co-founder and Director, Wharton Social Entrepreneurship

The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook

Co-authored by Ian MacMillan and James Thompson, The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook offers a proven, tough-love approach to launching a successful social enterprise. 

Buy The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook here.

Download the FREE Worksheet Companion here

Filled with accessible frameworks and tools, as well as inspiring stories of social entrepreneurs, the book is a must-read for any aspiring social entrepreneur, as well as philanthropists, foundations, and nonprofits interested in doing more good with fewer resources.

Current Research Themes:

How does a social entrepreneur pursue social impact and financial goals simultaneously? 
What are the Challenges of pursuing enterprise creation under conditions of great uncertainty?

Student Social Entrepreneurs

Wharton Entrepreneurship is a leader in supporting entrepreneurial social impact by attracting and supporting student entrepreneurs who aim to use their venture’s success to solve social problems. Recently, students participating in Wharton Entrepreneurship’s co-curricular programs have explored ventures that address a broad range of social issues including: pure drinking water, solar energy, access to eyewear, micro-finance, non-profit fundraising, community development, food security, energy conservation, youth education, women’s livelihood initiatives, and teenage girls literacy. 

The Wharton Social Impact Prize ($10,000) is awarded to the Wharton Business Plan Competition Semifinalist team with the best example of social impact in their business plan.

Wharton Entrepreneurship works collaboratively with the Wharton Program for Social Impact to support student entrepreneurs interested in social impact activities.