social enterprise design

MBA  Course


The perspective of this course is  business as a solution to poverty.  Created for graduate level business students, course content builds on core business administration and management curriculum and equips students with knowledge of how to apply traditional business principles in a development context to create sustainable means to poverty alleviation and social change.


This course teaches students the complex and messy art of designing a social enterprise for sustainable impact while imparting concrete development experience and building practical skills.



For: Graduate students: business, administration (MBA), management, economics, international development, engineering, etc.


dates: January 5-19, 2019

Duration: 14 days/15 nights 

CosT: $3000 for course 

CREDITS: Graduate business credits available through Institute local university partner

enrolLmenT: limited to 15 students

Graduate students from western universities join Indian MBA students to learn how to design market-based solutions to poverty and related social problems. Together, through the hands-on delivery of field-based methodologies and analysis, they study social enterprise models, metrics and methods of harnessing market forces as a means to create sustainable social change.

Social Enterprise Design introduces best practice design, social innovation, and enterprise theoretical frameworks such as Design Thinking and Human Centered Design. Students test frameworks in the field, along with other academic constructs learned in regular MBA courses, and then refine them based on the on-the-ground realities they encounter. In concept development and prototyping sessions, students study social enterprise architecture and technical elements of design used by practitioners and consultants, such as how to create a concept, craft a theory of change, and build a business model for social impact and viability.

Through live cases, field visits, meetings with leading Indian social entrepreneurs, and social enterprise projects, students examine social enterprise models, products, processes and scrutinize their ability to create social impact.  They learn to develop market research instruments and conduct field-based primary market research to identify and analyze social problems to which there could be a business solution. 

Throughout the course, students learn about pragmatic and nuanced aspects of designing social enterprises that defy contemporary theory and are impossible to teach in a classroom, but are an integral part of social enterprise reality. Expert-led technical workshops, field exercises and consulting projects broach the immense strategic and operational challenges related to designing blended value social enterprises that work in practice.

Social Enterprise Design 

Mohammad Yunus, Founder Grameen Bank tells us in his and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate speech, "Almost all social and economic problems of the world will be addressed through social businesses. The challenge is to innovate business models and apply them to produce desired social results cost-effectively and efficiently".  


  • Collaborative course between Grassroots U &  IMTHyderabad a top rated Indian B School.

  • Blended project teams

  • Primary market research

  • Social problem analysis

  • A wide variety of social enterprise models

  • Design solutions prototyping 

  • Real client-driven projects

  • Essential Design Think and Human Centered Design (HCD) 

  • Living cases

  • Interactions with many types of social entrepreneurs

  • Rural and urban immersion

  • Village homestays and Indian University campus life 

  • Career planning 

  • Academic credits* 



Student are immersed  in local culture. They learn bout rural life through village homestays and programs integrated with rural colleges. In the city, they live on campus and with Indian students. Students experience Cultural Night at IMT, Pongal festival, cooking class, and Bollywood dance lessons. 


Design project



The course culminates in a design consulting project with a social enterprise or nonprofit organization. Student teams work with Indian social entrepreneurs to tackle real social enterprise design questions and challenges.

In this application exercise, design tools help students innovate products, processes, businesses and services that are needed, accessible and appropriate for the poor.  Projects grounded in the real-life contexts enables students to factor in infrastructure, market dynamics and cultural challenges of working at the base of the pyramid.  Student teams

receive mentoring and technical back-stopping from Grassroots U faculty and advisers.​s

Vision Mapping 

Students also explore their own vision of social enterprise and receive peer and instructor feedback on realizing this vision in their home community. 


course work

Assessed course work is doing-oriented, grounded in practice, and project based.  Students: 

  • Develop a practical social innovation resource  

  • Create a photo journal or video documenting their design project

  • Blog immersion about rural experience

  • Personal plan to implement lessons at home

  • Consulting assignment design product, process or other output

  • Present consulting assignment to panel of stakeholders

Learn technical aspects of creating social impact and development consulting from leading experts.
Tools & Best Practices
Learn state-of-the- art
frameworks, tools and approaches to apply to impact work & social ventures during consulting and at home.
International Development
Gain credible developing country work experience in a given sector. Learn about strategies to effect change. 
Work with local peers on collaborative projects and benefit from multiple and multicultural perspectives. 
Work Experience
Learn how to impart 
knowledge, implement change, support leadership and manage impact projects results.  
Apply your skills and experience to create impact by helping to build capacity of a local impact organization though consulting.
Meet and connect with other like mined  peers and professionals.  Make friends for life and new job contacts. 
New Perspectives
One-on-one coaching to help set personal and professional goals based on experience & make a plan for you will achieve it.


practical skills

real work experience in international development

career development

meaningful projects 

small groups

mixed cohorts


expert leadership

entrepeneurial india!!

India boasts the perfect alchemy for social entreprepreneurship to thrive. A highly entrepreneurial country, India has world class learning institutions, cutting edge technology, a culture of innovation, and excellent human resource capacity.  Home to the world’s largest middle class, the Indian economy is booming and its legal environment is enabling for social enterprise. The country boasts at once a rich history of social and economic justice, massive intractable poverty and other deeply rooted social problems. 

Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Prize winner Founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan and GoodWeave 

Mallika Dutt & sonali khan of breakthrough 

Amitabha Sadangi of IDE India 

Dr. Venkataswamy of Aravind

Neelam Chhiber of Mother Earth

Bunker Roy of Barefoot College

Inderjit Kaurana of Train platform schools

What costs are included


  • Professionally led workshops, lectures and training 

  • Site visits to social ventures and feild projects

  • Faculty, subject matter experts and social entrepreneurs

  • Project placement and mentoring support 

  • In-country travel - all transportation including airport pickup and drop off, field visits and excursions. 

  • All lodging - guesthouses, hotels, homestays, dorms, etc

  • Meals - all, except 1-2 free nights out

  • Cultural events 

  • All educational materials and supplies

What is  not includeD


  • International airfare to and from India

  • Visas and vaccines

  • Souvenirs, gifts and personal items  

  • 1-2 non-program meals and entertainment on free nights

  • Tourism and travel outside of regular program  

  • Indian mobile phone/cell charges in India

  • **Academic credit supplement charged by host university in India ( ** contact us to find out more)
    - students to do due diligence on tuition fees  

SOCIAl Enterprise


Student work with Indian social entrepreneurs to tackle social enterprise design questions and challenges they face. Project vary according to need, and may include: 














  • AND MORE...

"Approximately 156,000 students graduate each year with an MBA in the US alone. Imagine if those individuals created or joined businesses to serve the world: becoming leaders by selling solutions to solve the world’s social and environmental problems."

—Joshua Mathis, MBA Student

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