MG4H1E      Half Unit
Foundations of Social Business I

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Mr Stephan Chambers Marshall Institute, 5 Lincoln's Inn Fields


This course is compulsory on the Executive MSc in Social Business and Entrepreneurship. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

     This course focuses on three critical aspects of social business: entrepreneurship; social finance; accounting for social return.  It focuses on both existing organisations and start-ups, as vehicles for social change.  It aims to support ‘intrapreneurs’ as well as entrepreneurs. Its purpose is to bring students’ understanding of the worlds of opportunity and venture into clear organisational focus.  It begins to sensitise students to the challenges of starting and running mission-based organisations, explores established vehicles for combining social and commercial purpose, and looks in detail at the various mechanisms for funding (impact finance, social finance, grant finance). 

     Students will be introduced to the main elements of entrepreneurial planning including opportunity identification and evaluation, rapid prototyping and resource-gathering.  They will be introduced to the business model canvas and ideas of lean start-up as well as the varieties of financing available to social ventures.  They will examine ways of accounting for social value as the second and third bottom-line, and a view of managerial reporting as value-laden.  Critiques of over-simplified, heroic or ‘solutionist’ models will be explored, as well as to both market and non-market critiques of social returns on investment. 

     The course draws on the literature of entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, social finance and social accounting.


There will be ten integrated lecture/seminars of three hours each, delivered across two modules.

Formative coursework

A practice coursework assignment midway through the course.

Indicative reading

  • Allman, Keith A. and Ximena Escobar De Nogales (2015). Impact Investment: A Practical Guide to Investment Process and Social Impact Analysis. Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Bhide, Amar V. (1996).  "The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer". Harvard Business Review November.
  • Blank, Steve (2013). "Why Lean Start-Up Changes Everything". Harvard Business Review May
  • Nicholls, Alex and Jed Emerson (2015). "Social Finance, Capitalizing Social impact".  In Alex Nicholls, Rob Paton and Jed Emerson (eds) Social Finance. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Stevenson, Howard H. and David E. Gumpert (1985).  "The Heart of Entrepreneurship". Harvard Business Review March


Essay (70%) and coursework (30%).

Assessment will be through an individual essay (70%) and group coursework (30%).

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills