This class is for students who want start or work at an impact venture, or to invest in or grant to such an enterprise. The class deals with situations from the perspective of both the entrepreneur/manager, and the funder.
– Learn to evaluate impact and business opportunities in social enterprises
– Understand the potential tension between impact and revenue/profit in impact enterprises and how to manage it
– Learn how to start, grow, and manage a team and a board of directors for a social enterprise
– Become versed in how ventures are funded and the landscape of impact investors
– Be introduced to how entrepreneurs create social change through both their organizations and, potentially, bigger system change
– Hear about the personal journeys and careers of impact entrepreneurs
For purposes of this course an impact venture is “an organization whose mission is to provide a sustainable solution to a social problem.” The focus on mission makes impact enterprises different in kind from commercial enterprises. That said, it is the instructors’ view that, in most ways, impact ventures should be treated and managed like commercial ventures, and this course reflects this perspective. Even so, there are some important differences which are critical to understand to effectively launch, manage, or fund an impact enterprise. We will highlight these throughout our sessions. All the cases and class discussions will be exclusively about enterprises and organizations in the impact venture space, some for-profit, and some non-profit, but all run more or less like commercial businesses, e.g., the enterprise focus is on delivering solutions for “customers” or “recipients” to solve a social problem, create value and generating revenue (and/or profit).
Impact: From Idea to Enterprise is integrative and will allow students to apply many facets of their business school education. We will have a mixture of case discussions, lectures, student-led exercises, panel discussions, and guest speakers. The final project involves engagement with an early-stage impact venture and its management.
The instructors, Laura Hattendorf and Russell Siegelman, are both Lecturers in Management at GSB with practical experience in the startup and impact venture space. Russell spent ten years as a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers before coming to teach at the GSB fifteen years ago. He angel invests as a side-light, so has current experience in startups and has personal experience in several impact organizations as a director and donor, including previously being the Board Chair at the Global Innovation Fund, an impact investment fund.
Laura, a GSB graduate, spent many years as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of an environmental organization, Sustainable Conservation. For the last fifteen years she has been the Head of Grants & Investments at the Mulago Foundation, a top impact venture investor, where she oversees investments in, and provides guidance to, dozens of cutting-edge impact ventures, both for-profit and non-profit. Outside of Mulago, she is also an investor, donor, and board member for several impact organizations.
Both instructors come from a well-informed perspective, having seen both successful and not so successful ventures. We believe that the impact venture model we teach is critical for addressing social change. Our aim is that this course will leave students better prepared to start, work in, or fund impact enterprises.
Instructors: Siegelman, R. (PI) ; Hattendorf, L. (SI)