8 Experiential Learning Programs for Social Innovators and Social Entrepreneurs

Are you social entrepreneur, social innovator or change-maker looking for an intensive education program or learning experience? If you're indifferent about which letters appear behind your name, one of these opportunities may be for you. 

April 19, 2018

It’s not easy navigating the path to meaningful work. If you’re a social innovator craving a better understanding of impact creation, tailor-made opportunities to expand your skills and experience are few and far between.

Until now. Offering a mix of travel, hands-on projects, and standard coursework, there are several field-based learning to help accelerate your transition into a more meaningful career or gain the hands-on experience needed to launch a social venture. 

For those who are indifferent to adding formal post-secondary letters behind their names, one of these intensive programs could be just the right fit. Plus as a bonus for the budget-conscious, they are often a lower-cost alternative to traditional graduate programs. Pick your blend of immersive adventure, social entrepreneurship curriculum, and expert mentorship from the list below.

If you don’t see a learning opportunity that piques your interest here, browse our list of impact-focused graduate programs tailored for social entrepreneurs and social innovators.

1. Amani Institute

Amani Institute School for Social Change Makers

 

Social Innovation Management

DURATION:
9-months total (1 virtual + 4 immersion + 4 virtual)

COST:
$7950 (not including travel expenses)

LOCATION:
Nairobi, Kenya | Bengaluru, India | Sao Paulo, Brazil

Goals:

This experiential program combines an apprenticeship in Brazil or India with access to mentorship to equip participants with the skills they need to transition into an impact-driven career.

Structure:

This program starts with 1-month of virtual study with ~15-20 hours commitment per week. Following this foundation, participants will complete 4-months immersion in either Brazil or India with ~45-50 hours per week in an Apprenticeship. The program is completed with another 4-months of ‘acceleration’ where participants apply learning from a flexible location with ~5-10 hours per week commitment.

Completing this program counts as 25% towards an MBA through Lynn University and with two additional online courses makes participants eligible for a Diploma in Social Innovation through University for Peace in Costa Rica.

Who it’s for:

This program is open to anyone with an undergraduate degree or at least two years work experience. Flexible in nature, it is feasible to participate even while working full-time or leading a social venture.

 


 

2. DSIL

DSIL Innovation Leadership course for Social Entrepreneurs

 

The Innovation Leadership Course

DURATION:
5 months

COST:
$8,500 *Includes accommodation, most meals, and course materials during Immersion. (or join the 9-day immersion only for $6,500, or the virtual classroom for $2,000)

LOCATION:
Virtual | Bangkok, Thailand | Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Goals:

Through real-time cases and design sprints, the DSIL course provides participants with the skills and mindsets required to understand and apply design thinking to solve challenges. The program offers participants a tool-box and the experience to bring the learning back to their teams and organizations after the program finishes.

Structure:

This 5-month course includes 15 one-hour virtual sessions to connect with global thought leaders on various course themes, five at home DSIL challenges, and two executive coaching sessions. 

If participating in the immersion in Thailand and Cambodia, time will be split between the two countries working with local innovators and social entrepreneurs on real-time challenges and design sprints.

Who it’s for:

This course is designed for established leaders from all backgrounds. Alumni of 130+ from over 55 countries range in age from 26 to 60 years old and includes people of all educational backgrounds.

 


 

3. Grassroots U

Grass Roots University Experienced Based Program

 

Experience-based Programs

DURATION:
8-14 Days

COST:
$3,000 + $800+ for additional weeks

LOCATION:
India

Goals:

Grassroots U has several experiential programs available for students and professionals to build leadership and organizational capacity in social entrepreneurship. Curriculum areas include social enterprise, sustainable organizations, impact investing, and social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Structure:

Participants are immersed in the local community where they can problem solve and innovate in real-life. The programs center around learning-by-doing with 70% being experiential learning, 20% peer learning, and 10% formal learning.

Who it's for:

There are different opportunities depending on experience. For example, the Impact Consulting program is for graduate students or working professionals to gain field experience, and the Social Entrepreneurship program is designed for undergrad students and recent college graduates.

 


 

4. Hollyhock Leadership Institute

Hollyhock Leadership Institute Program

 

Social Venture Institute at Hollyhock

DURATION:
4 Days

COST:
$850 + tax + accommodation at Hollyhock

LOCATION:
Washington, DC region | San Francisco Bay Area

Goals:

Running since 1982, Hollyhock is a learning center that has offered leadership programs to over 2,500 entrepreneurs who are making the world better.

Structure:

The program is interactive and experiential with participants learning through panels, discussion with peers, and facilitation from experienced mentors and faculty.

Who it's for:

Participants who take part in Hollyhock programs come from a mix of backgrounds and levels of experience. There is typically a range of early-stage entrepreneurs and experiences leaders working in for-profit, nonprofit, cooperative, and hybrid models.

 


 

5. Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Middlebury Institute of International Studies for Change Makers

 

Frontier Market Scouts Certificate

DURATION:
2-weeks

COST:
Nondegree students: $4,000 | Middlebury students: $1,000

LOCATION:
Fellowship is in various locations for selected candidates

Goals:

Completing the professional certificate in Social Enterprise Management and Impact Investing is the first step to joining the Frontier Market Scouts 12-month Fellowship program.

Facilitated by leading practitioners in the impact space (and working with organizations like Omidyar Network, Accion Venture Lab, and Unreasonable Group) certificate students gain knowledge of the impact sector, designing innovative impact-focused business models, and what it takes to grow a social venture.

Structure:

The program runs over an intensive two-week period and provides lectures and actionable projects in collaboration with a network of social enterprises, impact investment funds, and incubators around the world. At no additional cost, students have the opportunity to apply for a two to 12-month fellowship to work with a social enterprise.

Who it's for:

The Frontier Market Scouts program trains students to become talent scouts and investment managers for local entrepreneurs and social-minded investors.

 


 

6. IDEX Accelerator

IDEX Accelerator for Social Entrepreneurs

 

IDEX Fellowship

DURATION:
6 months

COST:
$3950 + $130 / month stipend + housing  (not including travel and other expenses)

LOCATION:
Bangalore, India

Goals:

The IDEX Accelerator offers a six-month Fellowship with hands-on learning in India working with local social entrepreneurs to grow an enterprise.

Structure:

The program is a mix of online orientation (3 weeks) and coursework and workshops during the 24-week in-person field placement.

Online curriculum is comprised of readings and virtual seminars and is expected to take ~5 hours a week over the entire program. Topics covered include managing social innovation, advocacy & outreach, resource mobilization and impact measurement.

Who it's for:

Ideal participants have one to three years of professional work experience and have a passion for social enterprise. Fellowship Alumni are from 23+ countries and a variety of professional backgrounds.

 


 

7. Moving Worlds Institute

Moving Worlds Institute

 

Moving Worlds Program

DURATION:
6 months

COST:
$5,750 Institute Tuition: Includes costs for all assessments, speakers, online community, + 3 nights and meals for your in-person kickoff weekend (not including travel)

LOCATION:
3-day immersion kick-off in Amsterdam

Goals:

Moving Worlds Institute provides professionals with the skills and experience needed to move towards an impact focused career. The case-based curriculum pulls from disciplines of interactive design thinking and shared value to ground practice in theory.

Structure:

This 6-month experience starts with a 3-day in-person immersion in Amsterdam. After the in-person kick-off, with a commitment of 3-8 hours per week, it’s designed to be feasible for participants with day jobs. After virtual lessons, calls, Q&A’s and cohort-based learning, there is the option to engage in a field-based Experteering project, which is a full-time commitment for 2-16 weeks.

Who it's for:

MovingWorlds Fellows do not need to have experience working in the social impact space, but it is designed for high-achieving professionals who have the desire to move their career into an impact focused direction. Alumni range in age from 26-65 and have come from the corporate sector, public sector, academia, and non-profits.

Participants will receive a certificate from The MovingWorlds Institute and, in partnership with GlobeSmart, a certificate of completion of their cross-cultural competency program.

 


 

8. Social Entrepreneurship Corps

Social Entrepreneurship Corps

 

Social Entrepreneurship Corps

DURATION:
6 weeks (minimum)

COST:
$2,100 (for first 6 weeks - every additional week $300 per week)

LOCATION:
Guatemala | Ecuador | Nicaragua

Goals:

Through impact and immersion programs, the mission of Social Entrepreneurs Corps is to provide participants with the knowledge, skills, and support to empower marginalized individuals, families and community in Latin America.

Structure:

Each program runs for 6-weeks and takes place in Guatemala, Ecuador, or Nicaragua. Over the program, participants design projects along with local leadership to implement and scale social innovations. There is also an option to extend the experience for an additional $300 per week.

Who it's for:

This program is open to recent grads and young professionals who want on-the-ground social entrepreneurship and adaptive leadership experience.

¿Hablas español? It is recommended participants have basic Spanish language skills to make the most of the experience.
 

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