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General Description

SocialReturns is creating a University Consortium on Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship that will focus on the study and practice of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship among nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and abroad.

The University Consortium will be a virtual structure that will enable universities and individual faculty to systematically engage in and advance the movement by sharing information and best practices, coordinating research projects, developing curricula, authoring joint case studies and other publications, and providing a greater number of learning opportunities and applications for their students and the nonprofit community overall.  

Target Audiences

The University Consortium will provide:

•  Faculty with a vehicle and leverage points for conducting research, producing cases and other publications, designing curriculum, and consulting;

•  Students with coursework in social entrepreneurship, a turn-key program for identifying internships, and the opportunity to serve as junior consultants to the finalists in the Social Enterprise Competition for Nonprofit Organizations;

•  Local Nonprofit Organizations with opportunities for learning about social enterprise and entrepreneurship, and participating in university-based programs and initiatives, especially within their local communities;  

•  Development Staff with a proven process for reconnecting with alumni who will serve as expert evaluators in the Competition; and

•  The University writ-large with the opportunity to stand out as a trendsetter in social enterprise by recruiting dedicated students, showcasing faculty and administrators as final judges, speakers, and master class presenters at the Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony, attracting positive media attention, and adding significant value to the field at-large.

Features and Benefits

One significant advantage of the University Consortium is that is will give academic institutions access to SocialReturns' data and subject pool, and will give our organization access to faculty, researchers, and students with the time and ability to analyze the enormous amount of data we've amassed and will continue to collect. Both entities will have the opportunity to present research-based findings and co-brand reports on various social enterprise topics for the field.

During our first phase of operation, the new University Consortium on Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship will incorporate a number of tracks, with others to follow as we pick up steam. These include:

•  Research

•  Case Writing and Other Publishing

•  Curriculum Development/Courses/Student Instruction

•  Student Involvement (internships, junior consulting as part of the Business Plan Competition)

•  Continuing Education (certificate programs/executive education/training community leaders)

•  Consulting, including consulting to nonprofit organizations in the Business Plan Competition

•  Community Outreach.

When the Social Enterprise Business Plan Competition begins, University Consortium members and students will have the opportunity to follow at least one entrant and one finalist in the Competition. Faculty may be invited to participate as evaluators as well.

Pages on the Website

The University Consortium will have a section of the website that contains a membership directory (so that Consortium members can connect easily with one another); pages designated for each track (so that interested parties can view current and planned activities such as research, student involvement, ideas for enhancing curriculum, etc.); research papers and other publications , co-branded by the authoring institution(s) and SocialReturns; and a message board and/or listserv to enhance communications within and across all tracks.


Our primary mode of operations will be virtual . We expect to hold quarterly conference calls for each track to share information about activities and to present opportunities for additional networking. We also intend to lead a session at the 2006 Gathering of the Social Enterprise Alliance, and we could hold a special meeting there as well. The Gathering will be at the Hyatt Regency inAtlanta from March 7-10, 2006.

Requirements for Joining the University Consortium

The main requirement for joining is that the individual have a formal relationship with a college or university that is involved in social enterprise and entrepreneurship .

At present, there is no anticipated fee for joining the University Consortium, nor do we intend to grant monies to Consortium members for pursuing their university-based social enterprise and entrepreneurship activities.

Want to learn more?

We are particularly interested in identifying colleges and universities to take a lead role in coordinating one of the tracks in the University Consortium - in either research, publishing, curriculum development, continuing education, or community outreach. This will give even greater visibility to you and your institution.

For more information, please contact If you would like to join the University Consortium on Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and/or explo re the opportunity for taking a leadership role, please call or write (phone 201-569-6692).

And please don't forget to join the website to stay up-to-date on this growing movement. There's no fee to join. Sign up now!

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