Courses

Graduate Level

Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid (University of Michigan—Prof. Ted London)

While the challenges of catalyzing a more inclusive capitalism are substantial for both the business and development communities, so are the potential returns. Fundamental to the success of BoP enterprises is sustainability at scale: a synergistic relationship between pursuit of profits and alleviation of poverty. Co-creating new business enterprises with the BoP offers the opportunity to design economically viable ventures that have the potential to raise the quality of life for billions of people. In this course, students will a) develop a rich understanding of the unique opportunities and challenges associated with serving BoP markets; and b) apply a toolkit of strategies, frameworks, and processes for creating sustainable, scalable BoP enterprises. Emphasizing action-based learning, robust discussion, and critical thinking, we integrate concepts from strategy, international business, entrepreneurship, non-profit management, and development to build skills necessary to lead enterprises that generate economic and social value. Learn more about the graduate level Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid course.

Poverty and Entrepreneurship (University of Notre Dame—Prof. Michael Morris)

This course approaches entrepreneurship as a solution to poverty across the globe. The multi-faceted nature of poverty and its implications for the pursuit of entrepreneurship are explored. For its part, entrepreneurship is approached as both a mindset and a process. Approaches to addressing the challenges and unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of the poor are introduced. A wide range of venture types are considered, including those from the informal sector and social ventures. The topics addressed are approached from three points of view: i) the conventional entrepreneurial view; ii) the poverty view in a developed country context; and iii) the poverty view in a developing country context. Students examine actual case studies and meet some low income entrepreneurs. They are challenged to recognize their own innate entrepreneurial potential and ways it can be harnessed to make a difference in the world.

Sustainable Value Creation (York University—Prof. Kevin McKague)

Thinking about poverty alleviation via market-based enterprises has undergone a dramatic shift in the last decade.  This course explores the disruptive for-profit pro-poor business models which are emerging in developing countries. It explains the strategic and organizational processes by which new grassroots ventures and spin-offs of large multinational corporations come to recognize unconventional niches and then successfully create new economic and social value in ways that harness and sustain novel sources of competitive advantage.

Undergraduate Level

Base of the Pyramid: Business Innovation and Social Impact (University of Michigan—Prof. Ted London)

While the challenges of catalyzing a more inclusive capitalism are substantial for both the business and development communities, so are the potential returns. Fundamental to the success of BoP enterprises is sustainability at scale: a synergistic relationship between pursuit of profits and alleviation of poverty. Co-creating new business enterprises with the BoP offers the opportunity to design economically viable ventures that have the potential to raise the quality of life for billions of people. In this course, students will a) develop a rich understanding of the unique opportunities and challenges associated with serving BoP markets; and b) apply a toolkit of strategies, frameworks, and processes for creating sustainable, scalable BoP enterprises. Emphasizing action-based learning, robust discussion, and critical thinking, we integrate concepts from strategy, international business, entrepreneurship, non-profit management, and development to build skills necessary to lead enterprises that generate economic and social value. Learn more about the Base of the Pyramid: Business Innovation and Social Impact course.

Consulting and Development (University of Notre DameProf. Michael Morris)

Students, in a structured format, are involved in assessing, prioritizing and creatively solving problems encountered by low-income and other disadvantaged entrepreneurs.  A process consulting approach is employed and a number of useful tools and frameworks are introduced. Students work with both for-profit and non-profit enterprises, producing tangible deliverables that help clients launch, grow and sustain their ventures.

Poverty Spotlight and Development (American University of Nigeria—Prof. Raimi Luqman)

Poverty Stoplight and Development is a development-focused course designed to provide students with a general understanding of multidimensional poverty in the local context, as well as how to design a realistic and sustainable solutions to poverty and poverty issues by incorporating stakeholders’ inputs into the development of poverty alleviation policies.  At the middle of the semester, the students are made to work in groups to develop social enterprises and social innovations that would redress any of the poverty-induced issues in the host community such as food insufficiency, insurgency, communal clashes over land resources, poor access to water, ineffective healthcare systems, maternal death, child mortality, financial exclusion, gender exclusion and out-of-school children. 

Social Entrepreneurship, Community Leadership, and Social Impact (University of Michigan-Dearborn—Prof. Marcus Harris)

The purpose of this course is to expose students to social entrepreneurship concepts and theories to help them learn how community leadership can facilitate the social entrepreneurship process for positive community change (i.e. social impact).  This experiential learning course is designed for students who wish to integrate entrepreneurial problem-solving skills with strategic social innovation concepts to affect positive social change in underserved communities.  This course appeals to students who have a strong desire to become, advise, or support social entrepreneurs, or work in a start-up, early stage, or entrepreneurial-minded company or community organization that creates positive social impact using a for-profit business model.