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PSU Impact Entrepreneurs launches groundbreaking certificate program in social innovation
Author: Christina Williams
Posted: November 14, 2013

Portland State University’s Impact Entrepreneurs program announced a new Business of Social Innovation professional certificate for designing entrepreneurial business models to address social and environmental problems. 

Starting in January, the Business of Social Innovation professional certificate is a majority-online, four-course, one-year program for designing and launching social change organizations. In less than a year, participants gain business, leadership and social solution design skills to enable them to launch, lead, or manage high-impact social ventures or intrapreneurial initiatives.

A recipient of the PSU Provost’s Challenge award to reTHINK PSU, the program is believed to be the first of its kind worldwide, bringing together diverse participants including professionals, retirees, and university students from various disciplinary backgrounds, reflecting the real-world diversity and cross-sector collaboration that are hallmarks of successful social entrepreneurship. 

Courses include: Design Thinking for Social Innovation, Money Matters for Social Innovation, Storytelling and Impact Measurement for Social Innovation, and a Field Study Practicum. PSU faculty, social entrepreneurs and expert guest speakers will teach the courses. Assignments are individually tailored through applied learning activities and personalized feedback. 

“We are excited to launch a program that can inspire and equip diverse individuals to make a lasting positive difference through entrepreneurial approaches,” said Cindy Cooper, co-founder and director of Impact Entrepreneurs. “Entrepreneurship is an engine of economic development, it can be taught, and when focused on addressing problems like poverty, access to healthcare, and social inequity; it is also a powerful force for creating a healthier world and the rewarding lives we seek.”  

“Portland is a hub for innovation in both for-profit and non-profit sectors," said David Griswold, president and founder of Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers.  "This program provides new social entrepreneurs and those interested in social impact careers with the tools to turn great ideas into viable social enterprises that drive positive change.”

Applications are now open for community members (for Continuing Education Units) at http://www.changemakercertificate.com. Early bird discounts apply until December 5th, 2013. University students can enroll for academic credits. An academic certificate is pending approval.