Course syllabus

TEK 237
Social innovation and social entrepreneurship

Department of Technology Management and Economics
Division of Science, Technology and Society

Session: Spring 2022, study period 4

Main teachers: Associate Professor Martin Hultman (MH), PhD-student Angelica Wågström (AW) and PhD-student Kjell Vowles (KV).

Examiner: Associate Professor Martin Hultman E-mail:



Course aims

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to notions of social innovation and social entrepreneurship, and discuss the extent to which contemporary societal challenges (e.g. energy, climate change, equity, gender justice, biodiversity and pandemics) can be addressed though these means. The course provides students with tools to assess and analyze socially innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives, and gives them an opportunity to discuss and develop their own prospective initiatives within this field.

Course content

The course is arranged in four overlapping modules:

  1. Introduction and key concepts: What is social innovation? What is social entrepreneurship?
  2. The need for social innovation and social entrepreneurship: Why are these concepts on the agenda at the present time? What are the social challenges to be addressed, and why is social innovation and entrepreneurship deemed necessary?
  3. Social innovation: How do social innovations emerge? How can this innovativeness be fostered?
  4. Social entrepreneurship: How is social enterprise organized? What are the business models for creating an entrepreneurial venture that is socially and ecologically sustainable? What are the sources of financing for social entrepreneurial ventures? How can such ventures scale up and become replicated?

 Learning objectives

Upon completion of the course, students should:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of various notions of social innovation and social entrepreneurship.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of social innovation and social entrepreneurship in relation to broader societal developments.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how social innovation emerges and is fostered.


The course will thus provide an opportunity for students to broaden their knowledge about social innovation and social entrepreneurship, and at the same time develop necessary tools and skills to develop socially innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives.

Report details

As examination students write a report on:

  1. a) a potential social innovation or social venture that the students may or may not choose to establish, or
    b) a certain aspect of an already existing social innovation or social venture.

In the report it is important that the student identifies and clearly describes the social or environmental problem that the innovation or venture will or is contributing to solve. It is expected that the report reflects knowledges from the literature and digital materials provided. The report should demonstrate knowledge of the terms social innovation and social venture. It should cover themes both related to the organization of the venture or innovation, such as business model, structure, funding, and potential to scale; as well as themes related to the problem such as in what ways the venture or innovation might help solve the issue identified.

The report should be written in English using correct grammar, language, and clearly referencing course literature

The reports are to be written individually and should be 2000-3000 words long.


Reports and the case study reflections are due on 12th of May (23.59). This is done via uploading digital versions of your four documents (1 Essay + 3 Case study reflections), preferably formatted as pdf-files.


The students are graded individually, on the basis of

  • the hand in of three (3) case study reflections
  • the merits of the report
  • oral presentation of the report


Grading details

More specifically, the grading is structured in the following way: A student can attain a score of 100 points.

The student receives 5 points for handing in one (1) page of text to each of the chosen case study sessions reflecting on the subject covered. Three (3) case study sessions (out of four available) are awarded 5 points each, that is 15 points in total.

The report is awarded with a maximum of 75 points, and the presentation is awarded with a maximum of 10 points. The report and the presentation are assessed on the basis of content (do the propositions and arguments reflect the issues discussed during the course?) and form (are propositions and arguments clearly and succinctly communicated?). The instructions for the grading of the reports are:

15-34 points: To receive a mark in this span, the report should follow the basic guidelines above.

35-54 points: To receive a mark in this span, the report needs to engage in several aspects of the literature and show how these connect with the venture or innovation. The report should be well structured and written.

55-75 points: To receive a mark in this span, the report needs to engage in several aspects of the literature and show how these connect with the venture or innovation as well as critically reflect on venture and/or concepts from the literature. The report should be very well structured and written.


The points are all added up into a total score. Scoring 40 – 59 points yields grade 3, scoring 60 – 79 points yields grade 4, and 80 – 100 points yields grade 5.



The Canvas website is the main source of information. Students may receive feedback on the report and grade on Friday 20th June, 09.30-10.30.




  • Bornstein, D. & S. Davis (2010) Social Entrepreneurship: What everybody needs to know. Oxford, Oxford University Press. (Available at the Chalmers Library.)
  • Kickul, J. & T.S. Lyons (2012) Understanding Social Entrepreneurship: The relentless pursuit of mission in an ever changing world. London, Routledge. (Available at the Chalmers Library.)
  • De Bruin, A., & Teasdale, S. (Eds.). (2019). A research agenda for social entrepreneurship. Edward Elgar



  • Galkina, T., & Hultman, M. (2016). Ecopreneurship–Assessing the field and outlining the research potential. Small Enterprise Research, 23(1), 58-72.
  • Hultman, M., Bonnedahl, K. J., & O'Neill, K. J. (2016). Unsustainable societies–sustainable businesses? Introduction to special issue of small enterprise research on transitional Ecopreneurs. Small Enterprise Research, 23(1), 1-9.
  • Houtbeckers, E. (2016). The tactics of ecopreneurs aiming to influence existing practices. Small Enterprise Research, 23(1), 22-38.


Optional readings


Digital resources


How social entrepreneurship will change the world | Erica Wenger | TEDxUSC

How to create a successful social enterprise | Marquis Cabrera | TEDxTeachersCollege

Changing the world through social entrepreneurship: Willemijn Verloop at TEDxUtrecht

Why become a Social Entrepreneur? | Annette Bauer | TEDxWHU


Lokalekonomidagarna i Järvsö 2019. "Community Wealth Building", Jonty Leibowitz.




Theory U - Learning from the future as it emerges | Otto Scharmer | TEDxTUHH




Course summary:

Date Details Due