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“Social Entrepreneurship Lab”: Coaching the Social Leaders of Tomorrow

Social enterprises aim to change the world for the better. Finding long-term solutions for problems in education, health, poverty, employment, climate change and environmental protection is the main goal of social entrepreneurs. Hence, educating TUM School of Management students in entrepreneurial skills to solve today’s social issues is important to create a sustainable future. For this purpose, our master’s program offers the key module “Advanced Topics in Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Social Entrepreneurship Lab” to teach our students how to become responsible leaders of tomorrow.

Approaching the world’s pressing social problems with innovative and pragmatic strategies is a key talent of social entrepreneurs. Aiming for social change, social enterprises put their main focus on improving society while maximizing their profit. To drive change, social entrepreneurs also constantly seek to educate themselves and other people to learn more about sustainable development and to improve their skills to reach their goals.

The pioneer of social entrepreneurship is the American entrepreneur Bill Drayton, who coined the term in the 1970s. Drayton is the founder of Ashoka, an organization that supports and fosters social entrepreneurs all over the globe. Another famous example is Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, who visited the TUM in 2020 to talk about social businesses and entrepreneurship. The Bangladeshi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 in recognition of his introduction of microfinance and microcredit to help people find their way out of poverty.

Nowadays, more and more social start-ups are emerging. Brands like Recup or Polarstern Energie, which address environmental issues, have become successful in driving their causes forward. Recup developed a reusable cup system to reduce waste and wants to revolutionize the packaging industry. Polarstern Energie is a Munich-based enterprise that promotes green energy to support the energy transition. What both have in common is a strong entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to think outside the box and develop innovative ideas to actively bring about social change. Those are qualities we want to impart to our students at TUM School of Management.

In the key module “Social Entrepreneurship Lab” we enhance our students’ knowledge and skills to become the social entrepreneurs of the future. In a practice-based seminar, our master’s students learn more about social entrepreneurship and apply their knowledge to real cases by collaborating with social enterprises from Munich and all around the world. Thereby, our students help find solutions for cross-disciplinary social issues and support the enterprises in their daily work. That is why the course is open to students from various Munich universities, the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) and the Munich University of Applied Sciences (HM) and is run together with representatives from the Social Entrepreneur Akademie (SEA). With its high level of research opportunities and responsible management training, the program is on track to educate sustainable and social entrepreneurs capable of actively changing our future.

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