Social Enterprise: Doing Business for Social Good (COMM5201)

COMM5201 is an experiential and intensive course offered in T2C (16 Aug – 10 Sept 2021), which enables postgraduate students to gain experience in developing a social business model to address a social gap/need in a profitable way.

Students will learn about the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of social business and how to apply their new and existing knowledge and skills through developing a social business case for a competition. Working in small teams, students will develop and draw inspiration from the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals to identify a social or environmental gap to address.

The course is designed to guide students through a practical innovation process called the Double Diamond, beginning with discovering the problem then defining the problem, before developing the solution and finally delivering the solution, culminating in a presentation to a judging panel with deep expertise in social business, innovation and entrepreneurialism. The winning team will receive incubation support from Founders UNSW and the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre to further develop the business model should they wish.

This course aims to:

  • Increase students' understanding of how their business knowledge may be applied in practice, in particular in a social business context.
  • Develop students' collaboration and teamwork capabilities and interpersonal skills.
  • Develop student's ability to clearly and effectively communicate with diverse groups of people.
  • Increase students' employability through the development of innovation and creativity skills.

This course is delivered intensively over 3 weeks during T2C (16 Aug – 10 Sept 2021).

A social enterprise, broadly defined, is a ‘for profit’ organisation that has a social or environmental mission at the core of what it does. Whilst social enterprises might have different legal structures and reinvest or redistribute profits in different ways, they are all characterised by an integrated business model that enables their (social and/or environmental) mission to be realised through their direct business operations and not by business profits alone. 

The aim of this course is to first introduce the key features of a social enterprise, examining the various, and at times contested, terminology used in social enterprise/social business contexts, and compare and contrast social enterprises to other enterprise forms (corporations, businesses, and charitable/benevolent organisations). The course will then consider some of the challenges, constraints, and opportunities that social enterprises confront in pursuing their organisational mission (both social/environmental and financial) before examining how a social enterprise might be designed, launched, and scaled. 

In order to put theory into practice, the assessment for this course will be structured around the development of a social enterprise idea and business case to be entered into the UNSW Big Idea competition. 

In addition to developing foundational knowledge about social enterprises, the course will also focus on development teamwork and presentation skills, in particular, how to pitch to potential investors an idea for ‘doing business for social good’. 

COMM5201 is a core course in the Master of Commerce Global Sustainability and Social Enterprise specialisation. 

This course may also be taken as an addition general elective in other Master of Commerce and Master of Commerce (Extension) specialisations. Please refer to specialisation UNSW Handbook entries.    

You can self-enrol into this course. Career Accelerator: Essentials modules must be completed prior to enrolment, log in using student-enrolment key: Career_Accelerator. If you’re not a UNSW Business School student, please email Career Accelerator

Please note - if you’re undertaking this course as an elective, you must complete a progression check to ensure you have space in your degree. 

  • Project Proposal 30%  
  • Project Report 30% 
  • Project Presentation 25% 
  • Reflection 15%