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The Business of Social Innovation online certificate

A one-of-a-kind online professional and academic certificate delivering applied skills in social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and design thinking for students and professionals.

The certificate in social innovation and social entrepreneurship equips you with the latest tools and approaches to tackle the world’s most challenging social and environmental problems. 

Creating and launching appropriate and sustainable social innovations and enterprises is a complex and extremely rewarding process. Together, the four courses in this program will enable you to deeply examine a social or environmental problem of your choice and design a new business, nonprofit organization, or internal program to address that problem. Each course will allow you to build on what you discovered in the last course. As you learn more about yourself, the social problem and the potential customers, you will make changes and refine your ideas with support and feedback from instructors, topic experts, and a community of peers. 

Courses are taught by experienced Portland State University faculty and practicing social entrepreneurs, with guest visits from global experts in social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Upon successful completion, you will emerge with a set of skills to launch, lead, or manage a high-impact social change initiative aligned with your personal purpose. 

The Business of Social Innovation series begins in January, 2015. Registration for the first course in the series will open in December, 2014. 

COURSES (click for information on each course)

The certificate features:

  • Focus on a social issue and venture of your choice
  • Interaction with leading social entrepreneurs
  • Personal and organizational leadership
  • Human-Centered Design
  • Lean entrepreneurship and the Business Model Canvas
  • Impact measurement and reporting
  • Approachable and useful financial tools
  • Hands-on, real-world learning

Who Should Attend

  • Undergraduate and graduate students at PSU
  • Entrepreneurs aspiring to launch a new social venture
  • Social enteprise managers and employees seeking to expand their skillset
  • Mid-career professionals looking to transition into social entrepreneurship 
  • Late-career professionals who want to create real impact in their encore career


  • Non-credit: $895/course (not including travel costs for optional international practicum)
  • For-credit: based on university tuition and fees

Additional Info

  • Academic certificate available to students in the Oregon University System
  • Those taking courses not-for-credit will receive Contuining Education Units instead
  • Not-for-credit course length: 8-week courses with optional 2-week individualized intensive coursework, except Storytelling and Impact Measurement which is an accelerated 5-week course
  • For-credit course length: 10-week courses, except Storytelling and Impact Measurement which is an accelerated 5-week course 

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