MG4H1E      Half Unit
Foundations of Social Business I

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof 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; strategy; and accounting for social return.  It focuses on both existing organisations and start-ups as vehicles for social change, and 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 examines strategy development where the imperative is not market-capture but the reversal of market failure. 

Students will be introduced to the main elements of entrepreneurial planning including opportunity identification and evaluation, rapid prototyping and resource-gathering.  They will explore the business model canvas and ideas of lean start-up.  They will consider the main techniques for planning and implementing activities to take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities, including customer journeys, sources of advantage, competencies, and the resource-based view of the firm.   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 of social entrepreneurship will be explored.


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

Formative coursework

A practice coursework assignment.

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


Coursework (100%).

Assessment will be through an individual coursework assignment (100%) comprised of 2 essay questions.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: 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