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FutureLearn: Commercialization of Social Enterprises: Stemming the Tide of Mission Drift

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Many social enterprises are becoming more commercial, adopting the techniques, funding or governance more usually associated with for-profit ventures.

In this online course, social enterprise and microfinance experts from Université libre de Bruxelles and their guests will shed new light on this trend. They will ask how commercialisation affects the management and operations of social enterprises, and which avenues could or should be used to avoid mission drift.

What topics will you cover?

Why social entrepreneurs innovate: the motivations behind starting a social enterprise; new data related to inequality and happiness; the link between financial exclusion and poverty; and how social innovation has tried to tackle these problems.

Microfinance practices: the basics of microfinance, covering its historical roots and evolution, and the current provision of financial and non-financial services.

When a not-for-profit becomes a for-profit organisation: how institutions evolve beyond the not-for-profit structure; case studies exploring the impact, both internally and externally, of such a transition; and the concept of mission drift.

Sources of financing, mission drift and zoom out: how different sources of financing impact the social mission of microfinance institutions; the different strategies and practices to avoid mission drift in social enterprises; and what is specific to the commercialisation of microfinance and what is common to all social enterprises.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the context in which social innovations, such as microfinance, emerge

  • Explain the evolution and the main features of the microfinance sector, including products, services and organisational structure

  • Describe what happens when a not-for-profit organisation becomes a regulated for-profit company

  • Identify the practical implications of such a transformation

  • Produce different strategies and practices to avoid mission drift in social enterprises

  • Identify and discuss the managerial implications related to the shift of business model or to commercial sources of financing

  • Identify what is specific to the commercialisation of microfinance and what is common to all social enterprises

This course is designed for students and practitioners in social enterprises or microfinance, and more generally everyone who wants to know more about social enterprises and microfinance.

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Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
Subject Business
Provider FutureLearn
Language English
Certificates Paid Certificate Available
Hours 3 hours a week
Calendar 5 weeks long
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What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
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MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

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