Social Entrepreneurship

Make a difference in the world with a knowledge that intersects servant leadership with entrepreneurship.

About the Minor

The Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) is one of the most unique fields at the University. The SEP was created for students who are inpatient with sitting in classrooms and labs. They want to do something about the world. They are risk-takers and impatient with the way governments and corporations are meeting the challenge facing the planet today. SEP is for those who can't understand why so many people (2 billion) are still living on less than 2$ per day, or can't find clean drinking water, or can't get adequate physical or mental health services, or why our environment is changing for the worse, or why our children are not being properly educated, or why women remain second class citizens. The program is for those who can't understand why the gap between the rich and the poor is growing daily or why our churches and non-profits are not doing more to help. SEP is a search for answers to these and other questions.

An amalgamation of different disciplines (business, economics, engineering, environmental science, psychology, the arts and more) combined with extensive experience in community settings both here and abroad, it is designed to provide students with the values, academic training and skill sets considered necessary in order to create and manage public service organizations. Students will be helped to create either a "business" that puts a social or environmental good above profit, or they learn to improve the social outcomes of struggling non-profits and/or religious organizations – both opportunities designed for students to make a difference in the world. Among the goals of the program are to develop skills for effective servant leadership and entrepreneurship and bridge the gap between traditional academic disciplines, the liberal arts and the professions. Students learn to how to develop a business plan, research markets, develop written applications for grants, evaluate program outcomes and manage successful triple bottom line programs

Outreach and Engaged Learning

Students are trained both in the classroom, labs and "real world" settings. SEP provides students with the values, academic training and skill sets considered necessary to create and manage two types public service programs in particular. Students are trained to create real "businesses" that place social or environmental outcomes above profit, or they learn to improve the social outcomes of real non-profits and/or religious organization. SEP provides opportunity for students to learn to make a difference in a changing and complex world while in college and beyond.       

Outside of the classroom, learning is achieved through private and public community settings made up of communities consisting of faculty members from different university divisions, representatives from the world of business, non-profit managers, public leaders and directors of private philanthropies.

Students often work in teams to create innovative organizations designed to meet the world's toughest challenges such as extreme poverty, health care, economic sustainability, environmental sustainability, globalization, inclusion of persons with disabilities and more. They become part of a service development "incubator" that is designed to create programs that strengthen inclusive human communities and meet individual needs.

Internships are encouraged, as well as a Mercer On Mission experiences, where students engage in service abroad. Students complete their study with a valid social enterprise or research project with the help of incubator partners from the faculty and community and graduate with a realistic set of plans – some with a guarantee of funding.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

There are many opportunities for research throughout the course of study. Many of the subjects are based on analysis and assessment that require firsthand research and development. The Senior Practicum and Project Development Seminars culminate in a formal research paper and/or formal written business plan.

In the Classroom

Students become part of a "learning community" that consists of faculty members from different university divisions, representatives from the world of business, theology, non-profit managers, public leaders and directors of private philanthropies. Classes are very small, averaging less than ten.

Beyond Mercer

Students who graduate from this program carry with them an impressive resume of academic work and real world experience. In fact, students can boast of having more experience than any other major.Students who complete the program move on to studies in:

  • Pharmacy
  • Law
  • Business
  • Medical
  • Education
  • Church Ministry
  • Theology
  • Social Work
  • Public Policy and Planning
  • Psychology

The amalgamation of academic study with community service helps students to enter the private field in a variety of disciplines including:

  • Public Health
  • Social Work
  • Environmental and Public Policy
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Management
  • Education

Need More Information?

Visit the department's Website.