Social Entrepreneurship: Who Gives and Who Gets?

What motivates pro-social behavior?

Students in this course examined pro-social motivation within a social entrepreneurial context by investigating who starts such endeavors and who supports them.

Inside the Classroom

Students, through interdisciplinary exploration, learned about theory and research on pro-social motivation and behavior. They merged this theory and research with practice and observation within social entrepreneurial contexts. Combining literatures from management and social psychology, they examined the components of successful entrepreneurial endeavors. The class studied initial start-up and subsequent growth within new venture creation, as well as how to successfully organize and procure funding for such growing enterprises. From a psychological perspective, they examined how personality, social experiences, cultural backgrounds, and contextual factors influence the degree to which individuals behave in generous empathic ways.

Outside the Classroom

Students had the opportunity to put their theory into practice in the Dominican Republic while working with Esperanza, our partner organization, and in Richmond as they interviewed social entrepreneurs, focusing on who starts such endeavors and who supports them. Students drew on their creative capabilities and newly developed theoretical expertise to empirically test their ideas for successful marketing techniques to benefit Esperanza and their efforts. Students presented their knowledge and research to the fundraising and microcredit teams at Esperanza during their community trip over fall break.

Research and Capstone Project

A synthesis of the students' academic research and hands-on experience provided the foundation for the capstone project. In the spring semester, students worked to create, design and implement a fundraising gala, to benefit Esperanza as their capstone project.

The gala had students utilize what they had learned over the semester and drew on their creativity, through digital story telling and other medias, to raise money to benefit the people and communities that Esperanza works with in the Dominican Republic.