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Professional development. Personal growth. Organizational strengthening. Impact.

Social Entrepreneurship on Your Terms 

Custom Designed Programs

We work closely with our customers in an iterative and collaborative process to craft unique programs that meet their aspirations, learning objectives, technical discipline and sector, specific challenges, culture, context and budget.



Want more examples or ideas?

Do you have  a group of 8 or more people people interested in learning about social entrepreneurship?  


use our step-by-step process to think About your program's design.

Then contact us.








Learning objectives






Who is the program for?

What's their background?

How many people?

What is the purpose of the program? What do you want to learn? 

Which technical aspects of social entrepreneurship are you interested in? 

What sector(s) would you like your program to highlight?

Based on objectives, what's the best location for your program?

What do you want to after the  program? How do you want your life to be different?

1.  Participants 

Grassroots U is for anyone interested in making a difference in the world.  We will design or co-create an experiential learning program to meet the needs of your group.

Who's going?

Intern'l Development

Intern'l Development

Health Professionals

Health Professionals

Social Entrepreneurs

Social Entrepreneurs

Foundations & Funders

Foundations & Funders

Nonprofits and NGOs

Nonprofits and NGOs



Encore Careers

Encore Careers



Universities & Educators

Universities & Educators



2.  Learning Objectives

Our programs help participants to:

  • strengthen business performance and social impact of social enterprises, nonprofits, CSR programs, companies

  • prepare for careers in the social entrepreneurship field

  • achieve sustainability of their social organizations

  • start and grow social ventures

  • make social impact and a difference in the world 

What does your group want to learn about social entrepreneurship? 

3.  Focus

Grassroots U programs teach best practices reflected through four social entrepreneurship technical lenses. Programs may focus on one, more, or all of the technical concentrations areas depending on learning objectives.  


Grassroots U works across four technical disciplines: i) social enterprise; ii) social innovation and entrepreneurship; iii) sustainable organizations and iv) impact investing. 

Do you want to focus your program a particular

social entrepreneurship discipline? 


Grassroots U programs are technically rigorous and designed around specialist areas reflected in social entrepreneurship and international development fields. 

Grassroots U can weave any manner of technical themes into program design to meet a group's learning objectives and interests. Decades of experience and a strong network of partners means we can offer deep technical content in a practical format.

Do you want your program to revolve around

specific technical themes?

 Technical Themes

techincal themes

We tease out specific technical themes and build them into your educational program.  


  • Scaling through networks

  • Social innovation in rural livelihoods

  • Sustainable development and social enterprise

  • Social enterprise leadership and governance

  •  Strategic fundraising and financial management

  • Social enterprise program design 

  • Teaching social entrepreneurship 

  • Incubating social enterprise

  • Designing impact inventions 

  • Social investment strategies

  • Due diligence and social audits

  • Growth management and attracting investment

  • Social enterprise design and startup

  • More .... 

4.  Sectors

Grassroots U programs can be designed so participants explore social entrepreneurship across multiple sectors.  Programs can also be grounded in a specific sector for participants interested in a comprehensive sector study of social entrepreneurship. 

Do you want your program to be grounded in

one or more social sectors sectors?

4. Location



Grassroots U has the capacity and networks to design custom programs in several countries.  That said, we only operate in locations that offer enabling environments for social entrepreneurship and our experiential methodology. The decision of where to have your program is derived by aligning design criteria with a suitable location.

United States



Latin America


5. Desired Outcomes 

The cornerstone of designing a custom program is understanding  what participants want to gain from their experience in tangible terms, and then creating an experiential learning program that produces desired results. Outcomes are the realization of learning objectives expressed as new skills, qualifications, products, programs, attitudes and behaviors .     

What key takeaways do you want from a Grassroots U program? How do you want you or organization be different after your experience with Grassroots U?

Desired outcomes are the embodiment of Grassroots U's transformational education programs. 


  • Job qualifying experience in social entrepreneurship

  • A changemaker road map 

  • A financial sustainability plan for my organization

  • Tools to start a social enterprise

  • A business plan

  • SE consulting skills 

  • A new vision for my future

  • A replicable enterprise model 

  • Best practice concepts

  • Practical design experience used to solve social problems

  • Prototyping knowledge for social inventions & innovations

  •  Fresh ideas to bring creativity and innovation to my job

  • Social investment strategy for my foundation

  • Entrepreneurial leadership skills

  • Learn effective methods on how to create social impact

Custom program ideas

Need ideas? Choose any of our program designs and make it yours by customizing the content to the wants and needs of your audience. You can even amalgamate programs, co-mingle technical areas and combine multiple sectors. Our highly skilled and creative team will help you create the right program for your group.

Still need inspiration?

The Edible Social Entrepreneur: Food Security and Social Justice

This program investigates social entrepreneurship in our food system.  Participants examine the numerous innovative ways that social entrepreneurs use food as a means for solving social, environmental and economic injustices as well as building resilient food systems.  In doing so, they follow the food value chain from growing to recycling and learn from entrepreneurs who are addressing hunger and food insecurity, community disenfranchisement, and unemployment. 

Employment Social Enterprise: Jobs for the Unemployable

Explores social enterprise as a strategy to create jobs and economic opportunities for people who face extreme barriers to employment and economic survival.  Program participants take an in-depth look at barriers to employment—such as homelessness, school dropout, disabilities, mental illness, criminal histories, etc.—that often serve to perpetuate joblessness and the cycle of poverty. Then they learn the many ways that social enterprises can be vehicles to transition people from joblessness to  productive, contributing and wage-earning members of society. 

Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development

Designing for long term sustainability is at once an age old challenge and an overarching goal of international development. Social entrepreneurship introduces new approaches to sustain development initiatives.  In this program participants study a range of sustainable development models from the self-help groups to NGOs and whole communities. Participants learn and practice design that uses community contributions, renewable resources, earned income and democratic principles to solve social problems and create systemic change. 

Impact Investing and Social Finance

Explores the nature and range of investment instruments and markets for capital markets for social enterprises and socially motivated businesses. As well, this course looks at policies and legal issues that either enable or inhibit social investment. Participants follow investments to understand how social capital is employed from seed to scale in social enterprises and how returns are quantified. They also learn  how social audits and valuation is conducted in due diligence prior to investment. 

Inventions for Impact

This program focuses at engineering and technology solutions at the base of the pyramid. Through a creative and experiential process, participants explore the many different ways that appropriate and high technology is being used to combat poverty and other social problems in the developing world.  Participants identify problems that can be solved with engineering or technology, conduct a rapid prototyping exercise, and apply design techniques to craft a new process, technology or invention that benefit society. Throughout, they work with counterparts using locally available technology and resources to invent for impact. 

Eco-Social Entrepeneur: Social Enterprise, Society and the Environment

Global warming, deforestation, pollution, threatened wild life, diminishing water sources are just some of the environmental issues that keep eco-social entrepreneurs busy.  In this program participants explore the many ways in which social entrepreneurs are working to protect the environment. Businesses and social innovations in eco- and community-based tourism, recycling initiatives, water-conserving irrigation, tree planting and renewable energy are some of the examples this course explores.

Social Enterprise Design is about finding business solutions to poverty and other social problems. This program teaches the complex and messy art of identifying business opportunities in social problems and then designing solutions using business vehicles and entrepreneurship. Social Enterprise Design teaches pragmatic and human centered approaches to design for sustainable impact while imparting concrete development experience and building practical skills. Participants conduct consulting projects with social entrepreneurs on practical issues they face such as social enterprise scale and sustainability.

This introductory program gives participants a comprehensive overview of social innovation, social enterprise, corporate social responsibility program, and the use of entrepreneurship and market-based approaches to address social problems at the base of the pyramid.  The field is the classroom where students take a deep dive into poverty, examining its causes, effects and social, environmental and financial costs. They then survey a range of social innovations and entrepreneurship models that help break the cycle of poverty.

Youth Discovery

For high school students and families with high school age kids, Youth Discovery is as much about self discovery and leadership as it is about exploring social entrepreneurship and development.   Deeply inspiring and profoundly personal, young people learn about problems that children and youth in developing countries face as well as how courageous young leaders are finding entrepreneurial solutions to these problems.

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for your organization

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