Purpose and Profit: The Essentials of Social Business

  • Executive
  • Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship
  • Application code EE913
  • Starting 2021
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

Build the insights, frameworks and tools to shift your firm towards social impact.

Date TBC

 Social impact is fast becoming a defining issue for competitive advantage and long-term survival in today’s global business environment. With increasing focus from shareholders and customers on social return, the imperative to balance doing well with doing good has never been greater, whatever your organisation or industry.  At the same time social purpose organisations are increasingly looking to market and business mechanisms to resolve social problems.

Purpose and Profit: The Essentials of Social Business gives you the expert understanding, insights and practical toolkit to steer your company towards a more pro-social orientation, to launch your own socially-focused entrepreneurial venture, or to invest for impact and social change. Intensely practical yet simultaneously enriched by the very latest theory on management and social purpose, this course is led by some of the world’s foremost authorities in economics, finance and impact investing, social entrepreneurship and public policy.

You emerge fully empowered with the strategic, leadership and entrepreneurial capabilities to create economic value while driving meaningful social impact.

Find out more about how to balance financial gain and social impact with this article, 'Is it time to rehabilitate capitalism?'

Read the article 

What will you gain from the course?

  • Identify new and emerging forms of social business and their social and political drivers, while distinguishing similarities and differences between the typical commercial corporation and social business.
  • Evaluate complementarities and tensions between different conceptions of “the public good.”
  • Grasp the importance of evidence and accurate measurement of social impact.
  • Understand the institutional environment in which social businesses operate and apply the impact continuum.
  • Analyse the roles of different organisations and mechanism in achieving both profit and purpose.

Tuition fee: £6,295

Includes all LSE tuition, course materials, daily lunches, and networking events. You will also be awarded an LSE certificate of completion at the end of the five days.

Part of LSE Executive Education Courses

Find out more about the course:

Download course brochure

Programme details

Who is this course for?

This short course addresses the needs of executives working to orientate their firms towards social purpose and of entrepreneurs who want to launch a social venture. The course is particularly relevant to participants working in high social impact sectors such as education, health, food and agriculture, environmental protection, supply chain management and more.

Participants include:

  • Senior leaders and managers of financial and commercial corporations looking to develop public benefit or social purpose within their firms.
  • Senior leaders and managers in financial and commercial corporations with responsibility for corporate social responsibility activities.
  • Senior leaders and managers wishing to switch in mid-career from financial and commercial organisations to social businesses.
  • Social entrepreneurs and aspiring social entrepreneurs.
  • Consultants working to support corporations in strategic realignment.

Why this course and why now?

Every firm, corporation, start-up, NGO or government in the world must grapple with profound questions of risk, purpose and social impact arising from climate change, energy, food, justice and other critical issues that affect our survival and flourishing.  Capitalism is facing a crisis of legitimacy.  It has shown remarkable capacity to create value, but too often that value has been captured by shareholders alone. To better serve people and planet, there is an emerging consensus that capitalism as it is – and the rules of commercial engagement – need to change. At the same time there is awareness that government, NGOs and charities are failing too, and that they can improve their social impact by utilising the power of business mechanisms and the market. 

Organisations must get ahead of these changes or risk becoming obsolete. Staying relevant means understanding that what worked until now is no longer valid. And that the onus is now on every business to integrate social purpose with financial profit in order to remain competitive in the long term.

This course draws on LSE’s exceptional world-class faculty, our unique ecosystem of pioneering practitioners and our long-standing mission to understand the underlying causes of things. It mixes theory and practice, shedding light on the why as well as the how, to equip you with the knowledge and the tools, the understanding and the techniques to effect real change – within your organisation or at the helm of your own enterprise.

Entry requirements

All LSE executive education participants are required to have:

  • Fluency in English.
  • A good undergraduate degree or significant work experience in a relevant role(s).
  • Minimum two years’ professional experience. Typically our participants have more than ten years’ work experience.

Course content and structure

Day 1: An Introduction to Purpose & Profit

  • Exploring the drivers of change: different types of social business; corporations and the market; social entrepreneurship; government; charities and society.
  • Understanding motivations and incentives, and organisational design.

Day 2: Using the market for good

  • Analysing how market start-ups address and resolve chronic social problems.
  • Examining how emerging social businesses leverage market mechanisms to deliver social impact.

Day 3: The conscious corporation

  • Investigating how to reform mainstream corporations for the public good while preserving profitability.
  • Practitioner session: Unilever.

Day 4: Financing for impact

  • Evaluating diverse sources and combinations of funding for the social business, including impact investing.
  • Practitioner session: Leslie Labruto, Acumen.

Day 5:  Understanding impact

  • Exploring value: what is public benefit and what does a “good” society look like?
  • Reviewing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the impact continuum: ethics, Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) criteria and intentional impact.
  • Understanding impact measurement and why it matters.
  • Re-defining climate change as the paradigmatic social business challenge.
  • Practitioner session: Sonia Media, Head of Climate CIFF.

Faculty and guest speakers

Purpose and Profit: The Essentials of Social Business is taught by some of the world’s foremost authorities in social business, entrepreneurship and finance, in social policy and economics, and in leadership and organisational change.

Professor Chambers is the director of the Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship at LSE and founder of Skoll World Forum. A renowned expert in social entrepreneurship, Stephan sits on the advisory board of Princeton University Press and is a Senior Research Fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford where he was also the Director of the MBA programme at Saïd Business School. Find out more here

Julian Le Grand is one of the world’s leading authorities in social policy and a principal architect of the UK’s public service reforms, empowering users and introducing contestability into health care and education. Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at LSE, he was also a senior policy advisor to former Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He was awarded a knighthood in the 2015 New Year's Honour's list for services to social sciences and public service. Find out more here

Dr Jonathan Roberts is the Teaching Director and Senior Lecturer in Practice at the Marshall Institute. Recipient of the Titmuss Prize for his PhD in Social Policy at LSE, his research spans motivations and altruism, trust in public services, and the role of social enterprises and mutual organisations in public service delivery. Jonathan’s work has been published in leading social policy, education, sociology and public administration journals. He leads the development of teaching activities at the Marshall Institute. Find out more here

Aunnie Patton Power is the founder of Intelligent Impact, a technology for social impact advisory firm. An expert in innovative finance, impact investing and technology for impact, she is a visiting fellow at Marshall Institute. Aunnie began her career in impact investing in 2010 and has worked with start-ups, intermediaries, funds, family offices, foundations, corporates and governments across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Her work has been published by leading organisations such as the World Economic Forum and is available to the public as a Massive Open Online Course on Coursera.


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