This class is focused on the creation of sustainable enterprises based on ICT innovations supporting community development. In this class, we take a broad view of entrepreneurship — including starting new businesses, non-profit initiatives and/or public sector projects.  In this course, we will take a highly iterative, design-oriented, feedback-driven approach to developing and refining business plans for social enterprises.  Ideas will be refined and expanded over the course of the semester by multi-disciplinary project teams, including the development of rough prototypes, identification of partners, determination of social impact metrics and formulation of an operational strategy for pilot-testing the idea, demonstrating the potential for impact and generating sustainable funding.  The final deliverable will be a business plan and/or project proposal describing a product or service with a comprehensive implementation plan, including necessary partnerships, a funding/revenue model and appropriate next steps.  These will be presented to a panel of experts for assessing their feasibility and potential for impact.  Course faculty and mentors will help students throughout this process, including in writing proposals for seed funding, or submitting to a social business plan competition, like GSVC.


Course Objectives:

  • Development of complete mini-business plans and/or project proposals for social enterprise ideas supporting international development
  • Provide students with experience conceiving social enterprises and developing project proposals or business plans, including developing prototypes, establishing partnerships, determining metrics for social impact and pitching to potential funders


Instructor: Tapan Parikh, Office Hours: TBD


Meeting Time: Wednesday 9-12 in South Hall 205, except as indicated on the schedule


Mailing List:


Grading: The most important grade will be that you give yourself – in terms of what you have learned and experienced through this exercise.  That said, official grades do still have to be assigned.  For these, there will be both a group and individual component for the grading.  The group component will be the primary component, and will determined based on progress demonstrated for each project during the class.  The maturity of the project idea when initially pitched will be taken into consideration.  Progress will be assessed based on the interim deliverables, and the final mini-business plan and pitch.  All group members will receive the same grade for the group component, unless there are rare, extenuating circumstances.  The individual component will be based on individual class participation – including attendance, and participation in lectures, discussion and in-class activities.