The world’s top universities, like NYU, Oxford and Columbia, all offer postgraduate degrees in social entrepreneurship – yet not one university in Australia offers such program.
That’s all set to change from next year though, with Sydney’s Macquarie University offering the esteemed program through its Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) from January 2014.
Dr Debbie Haski-Leventhal, Master of Social Entrepreneurship program director, told Dynamic Business that the new course brings together the skills needed for individuals wanting to take their passion for social justice to the enterprise level.
“Social entrepreneurship, very similar to regular entrepreneurship, is about using business ideas and models to tackle a new idea or come up with an innovative solution to some problem. But the two main differences is the social entrepreneurs are more interested in addressing social problems, than just addressing a market problem,” Haski-Leventhal said.
“The second one is on profit. While social entrepreneurs and enterprises can be very profitable, profit is not the main drive to start a social enterprise. But rather, addressing the social problem is the aim,” she added.
The program has ambitious outcomes for students. It is expected that a large number of students will go on to establish their own successful enterprises to solve social problems.
“There are a lot social entrepreneurs who are very passionate about what they do, but without the knowledge and tools, it’s very difficult to create a sustainable enterprise. And so it’s important that in addition to having a passion and desire to address social problems, they also have the tools and knowledge to achieve those outcomes,” Haski-Leventhal said.
Macquarie University Provost, Professor Judyth Sachs, who initiated the degree, added the role of social entrepreneurs in contemporary society is to think about complex problems in different ways and through this identify social issues and improve social conditions.
“This degree enables students to think differently, follow their hearts, follow their passion and to make the world a better place,” Sachs said.