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Program Purpose


To study and practice the application of innovation mindsets through the lens of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. The Social Entrepreneurship Immersion Program will promote a culture of critical thinking, creativity and collaboration amongst students as they use social entrepreneurship as the lens through which to study the innovation design cycle, as well as challenge students to work in teams to develop their own social enterprise, and the resources to bring that social enterprise to life.


Program Design


The semester-long program will meet weekly outside of traditional school hours (Wednesday afternoons from 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.). The primary focus of the first half of the course will highlighting innovation mindsets as taught through the experiences of thriving Cleveland social enterprises and in concert with educators who have successfully approached each mindset through another discipline. One social enterprise and one educator that best highlights each mindset will be on hand for each session. During the second half of the course, students will work collaboratively to develop a plan for their own social enterprise in preparation for a course-culminating pitch competition. Each student team will have access to a mentor with the professional expertise to assist in maximizing the planning process.

Program Goals


  • Students will understand the uniqueness of social entrepreneurship and the contribution that social enterprise makes to the economy

  • Students will closely study innovation mindsets and the importance of those mindsets to successful social entrepreneurs and social enterprises

  • Students will gain a more complete understanding of the social entrepreneurship landscape in Cleveland

  • Students will work in teams to develop a plan for their own social enterprise, including financial planning that will allow plans to be sustainable

  • As a course capstone, students teams will pitch their plans with winning plans earning seed funding to launch their initiatives

  • Students will gain access to the resources and relationships to launch and sustain their social enterprise

Community Partners


At the heart of the Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship Course are the community partners who have successfully identified a need in the Greater Cleveland Community and have launched thriving social enterprises to serve those needs. The participation of our Community Partners will bring the possibility of impact to life for our students, along with illustrating the concrete application of specific innovation mindsets. 

Our Community Partners include:


Social Venture Partners

Social Venture Partners (SVP) is the largest global network of engaged philanthropists and social innovators in the world, Founded in 1997 in Seattle, SVP now includes 41 SVP affiliates (independent, city-based member organizations that share the SVP mission and brand) in 9 countries, creating a combined network of more than 3,200 engaged donor Partners. At its core, SVP fosters collaborative solutions to critical social challenges. By pooling time, talent, and resources, SVP Partners work directly with nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations to extend their reach and impact.

Breakthrough Schools

The Breakthrough Schools are a network of distinct, educator-led schools in Cleveland, Ohio. All of the schools in our network are tuition-free, non-profit, and committed to providing an outstanding educational experience to our scholars.

Cleveland Kids Book Bank

The Cleveland Kids Book Bank a nonprofit organization founded in 2016 that has the mission to foster literacy and a love of reading by providing free books to children in need. Since its founding, the Cleveland Kids Book Bank has distributed more than 400,000 books to kids in Cleveland.

Rust Belt Riders

Rust Belt Riders are a worker-owned organic waste removal service available to Northeast Ohio businesses, schools, and institutions. Our mission is to create wealth from waste through the conversion of waste food into value added products.

EDWINS Restaurant & Leadership Institute 

EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute is a unique approach at giving formerly-incarcerated adults a foundation in the hospitality industry while providing a support network necessary for a successful reentry. EDWINS goal is to enhance the community of Cleveland’s vulnerable 

neighborhoods by providing its future leaders.

Cleveland Public Theater 

Cleveland Public Theatre’s mission is to raise consciousness and nurture compassion through groundbreaking performances and life-changing educational programs. CPT develops new, adventurous work; and nurtures Northeastern Ohio artists — particularly those whose work 

is inventive, intelligent, and socially conscious. CPT’s acclaimed education programs engage underserved communities in devising new works that speak to contemporary issues, and empower participants to work for positive change in our community.

SEA Change

SEA Change is a social enterprise accelerator. It is a collaborative initiative that provides coaching, connections and capital to people who have big ideas to improve their community. SEA Change connects resources, funders, innovators, and mentors to accelerate your idea from concept to successful social enterprise.


Apply Now

Students interested in applying to participate in the Social Entrepreneurship Immersion Program are invited to complete the application below:

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