IHP: Social Entrepreneurship: Innovation, Technology, Design, and Social Change

IHP: Social Entrepreneurship: Innovation, Technology, Design, and Social Change

Explore what “social entrepreneurship” means around the world, drawing on the disciplines of anthropology, management, economics, technology, and design.

urban scene in UgandaIn this program, you will examine how various forms of entrepreneurship are being employed to address some of the most pressing social challenges of today. The program offers a comparative study in four contrasting locations around the world, incorporating case studies and onsite meetings with social entrepreneurs, activists, and local individuals seeking change. Learn to listen, observe, and engage in collaborative analysis and work with social entrepreneurs in the field to translate your research into practical applications. Field studies will include meetings with small businesses, NGOs, international banks, philanthropists, and local microfinance providers.

Key Questions:

  • What are best practices and criticisms relating to social entrepreneurship?
  • How and why do social enterprise and innovation emerge, develop, and evolve in different contexts?
  • What innovative approaches and strategies have evolved to address critical issues relating to education, agriculture, environment, health, and social and financial inclusion to further positive social change?
  • How can technology and digital tools be used in furthering social innovation and entrepreneurship?
  • What does design thinking entail and how might it be used in furthering social innovation?

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

United States: San Francisco, Bay Area, California
(2 weeks)

The Bay Area is home to scenic beauty, cultural attractions, diverse communities, legendary cuisine, and game-changing entrepreneurship. The Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Berkeley’s Haas Graduate School of Business have exceptional programs in social entrepreneurship, and faculty members from both will be participating as lecturers. Study will include the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, the Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies, the design firm IDEO, and at least one social accelerator.

Receive orientation to the program and conduct on-site study of a variety of entrepreneurship models such as the Skoll and Delancey Street Foundations, FSG, RedF, New School Ventures, Old Skool Café, the offices of Net Impact and Business for Social Responsibility, and the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund. Meet with Sander Daniels ’02 (IHP), one of the founders of Thumbtack, Inc. Starting with this hotbed of social innovation in the US will give you a solid introduction to the many challenges and facets of social entrepreneurship and will lay the foundation for comparative study in Brazil, India, and Uganda.

Brazil: São Paulo
(4 weeks)

São Paulo is an ethnically and culturally diverse cosmopolitan city with 11 million people in 96 districts. The city has a vibrant cultural life and outstanding music, art, architecture, and food. Here, you will find many examples of established and emerging entrepreneurship. Brazil’s unique blend of abundant natural resources, creativity, cultural openness, flexibility and collective action contribute to the success of its social entrepreneurs. Not surprisingly, Brazil has the largest Ashoka program with 200 active Fellows.

The impact-investing sector in Brazil has shown significant market growth over the past ten years. Leading Brazilian-based organizations including Artemisia Social Business, the Avina Foundation, Potencia Ventures, and Vox Capital have been cultivating social or inclusive business models for a number of years and in 2010, along with a half dozen others, came together to form a regional chapter of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs. Now the chapter has more than 30 members including foundations, universities, accelerators, incubators, investment funds, researchers, government agencies, environmentalists, and corporations supporting small and growing enterprises.

In Brazil, learn how social innovation and entrepreneurship have been widely embraced and integrated in the country and have created many new models by and for people across socioeconomic backgrounds, sectors, and industries. Brazil will provide a platform for comparison of innovative businesses in the US, social enterprise in Bangladesh, and emerging entrepreneurship in Uganda.

India: Delhi
(5 weeks)

Delhi is a sprawling metropolis home to 18 million people out of the 1.2 billion that inhabit India, where almost 40 percent of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day. Reports show that between four and eight million inhabitants of Delhi live in slums and lack adequate access to education, health, financial, and social services. Such conditions have led to the emergence of numerous social enterprises, developing an ecosystem that is supporting social entrepreneurs with incubators, mentoring, and financing. India has been called “a laboratory” for testing new ideas for social change at the bottom of the pyramid and is home to more than 350 Ashoka Fellows, who are coming up with unique models to tackle some of these pressing problems.

In India, you will visit initiatives and meet with social entrepreneurs developing mobile apps for health, transforming waste to products, creating employment opportunities, and providing microfinance services for agriculture and food initiatives, among other things.

Uganda: Kampala
(5 weeks)

kampalaSocial entrepreneurship and innovation have been emerging in numerous ways in Uganda, a country historically served by the international aid community and private charities. It has become widely recognized that individuals with deep knowledge of local problems and challenges are key to building effectiveness, impact, and sustainability in developing countries, and Ugandans are joining the ranks of executive directors and senior-level development officers and are founding social ventures.

Learn about challenges and successes with leaders at organizations such as the Acumen Fund, Unreasonable Institute, and Yunus Social Business Accelerator. Study the ventures of social entrepreneurs such as Rita and William Nkemba, founders of Dwelling Places, an NGO helping rescue and rehabilitate street children, and Ashoka Fellow Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, who is linking wildlife management and rural public health programs to create common resources benefiting both people and animals. Uganda is also the site of BRAC’s largest, fastest scale-up in Africa, serving 4.2 million Ugandans. You will also have an opportunity to exchange ideas with students and study with professors who are also social entrepreneurs at the Makerere University Business School (MUBS).

This time in Uganda will give you the opportunity to see firsthand the kinds of challenges social entrepreneurs in developing countries with a history of unrest face and how social innovation can take hold to bring about positive and transformational societal change. Study in Uganda will include a final retreat to reflect on conclusions of the comparative study of social entrepreneurship in the US, Brazil, India, and Uganda and how this study is relevant globally. What are the social, technological, design, cultural, and political elements that create the most fertile conditions for entrepreneurship and social change? What are the best practices? What are emerging ideas to follow and pursue?


None, but previous college-level coursework and/or other preparation in economics, anthropology, business studies, entrepreneurship, design, or other related fields is strongly recommended.

Access virtual library guide.

The program takes a holistic, interdisciplinary view of academic topics, drawing not only on articles and faculty lectures, but also student observations, guest lectures, and homestay interviews to facilitate learning. Assignments typically involve written essays, oral presentations, and more creative projects such as posters and photo stories.

Students enrolled on this program take all courses listed below for a total course load of 16 credits.

Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Anthropology and Social Change – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
In this course, students will work as a team on an applied project related to a social business and thereby gain practice in both applied research methods and possibly video ethnography. Students will learn to engage in collaborative analysis and work with social entrepreneurs in the field to translate their research into practical applications at the bottom of the pyramid. The course will also explore, among other questions: how and why do social innovation and social enterprises actually emerge, develop, and evolve over time? How does social innovation direct, shape, or otherwise influence social/societal change? What kinds of practices/processes do social entrepreneurs/enterprises employ? Are they conscious or unconscious? Can such processes be taught or learned? If so, how? What is the relationship between social enterprise and social innovation? What are the processes for deciding upon the direction, inclusion, and exclusion of participants and partners in social enterprises and/or social change? How does inclusiveness unfold over time? What is the process of incorporating newcomers or relating to those not present at the onset? The knowledge and application of human-centered design and empathic design varies: how can this knowledge and such techniques be better distributed globally? What are the critical steps that occur when businesses wish to integrate design and design-driven innovation in their activities? What are the roles of local business advisors and other stakeholders? How can methods and principles of design, technology, and applied/cultural anthropology be of help?
Social Entrepreneurship – syllabus
(MGMT3000 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
This course highlights a number of innovative approaches and strategies that have evolved to addresses and advance global social and economic development. The course introduces students to the concept of social entrepreneurship and how it is expanding globally across sectors and organizations. Students will examine the ever-changing demands and contexts in a globalizing world and learn to identify and evaluate the elements required to build and operate effective and scalable social enterprises. Students will be introduced to corporate strategies and challenges in aiding the poor in underdeveloped and underserved markets. Aspects of economic development and how those aspects relate to social progress and issues of sustainable development are highlighted. The course also addresses the challenges and opportunities social entrepreneurship offers corporations through partnerships. Students will learn how companies and social entrepreneurs may create new and innovative sustainable business models that provide social value and also generate financial returns to both build and serve new markets at the bottom of the pyramid.
Technology, Change, and Innovation – syllabus
(MGMT3005 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
In this course, students will learn about technology and how digital tools may be used in furthering social innovation and entrepreneurship. The course will provide students with an overview of many available digital resources and social entrepreneurs who are successfully using technology to further their enterprises and causes. Students will engage in a series of skills developing assignments (including a simulation) that build upon each other throughout the duration of the course. The class will culminate in a final project that will allow students to apply what they have learned to a specific social and policy challenge they are passionate about.
Design Thinking and Human Centered Design – syllabus
(MGMT3500 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
In this course, students will explore modes of creativity, thinking, and knowing and learn tools of applied research, proto-typing, ideation, and problem-solving tools adapted from human-centered design and architecture. Students will develop skills as ethnographers, visual thinkers, strategists, and storytellers through a hybrid of seminar discussions, site visits, and collaborative projects. Readings, case studies, lectures, and writing exercises will further students’ thinking about local design-thinking experiences and site visits. Students will learn how to thoughtfully and critically understand human behaviors within specific social contexts, explore and develop ideas, and effectively communicate design solutions. This course will include fundamental readings in design thinking, interaction design methods, and processes and usability along with hands-on real field projects. Students will also have the opportunity to meet individuals and visit organizations and social innovation labs doing very inspiring work in social innovation and design in each country visited. Over the course of the semester, students will directly apply what they have learned to public service and social entrepreneurial challenges about which they are passionate and explore innovative and new ways to create real impact.

The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.

Katy de la Garza, EdD, Program Director

de-la-garzaKaty has worked with international development, social justice, and education quality issues in Latin America for more than 15 years. Previously, she was the strategy and innovation officer for Televisa Foundation, country director for The Nature Conservancy Costa Rica, the program manager for the US Peace Corps Rural and Community Development Program in Costa Rica, and the client services manager for the international microcredit organization Pro Mujer, providing programs for women in Mexico.

Katy holds a doctorate in education (EdD) from Teachers College, Columbia University; a master’s in international development management from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA); and a bachelor of science degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Her intellectual interests focus on social entrepreneurship, rural education, microfinance, bilingual and intercultural education, indigenous peoples and development, teacher education, technology and innovation, social movements, and migration.

Anna Gail Caunca, MA, Program Manager

Anna Gail CauncaAnna Gail’s previous work experience has focused on the areas of youth and young adult leadership development, community-building, residential life and student welfare, international education, and human rights education. Building on her graduate studies in social justice and international education, Anna Gail worked with World Learning’s Youth Leadership and Peacebuilding Programs facilitating workshops with the Governor’s Institute of Vermont on current issues and youth activism and traveling with and supporting students through the LondonX and Iraqi Youth Leadership Program for two years. In 2013, she traveled as the IHP Trustees Fellow for the inaugural year of the Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy. After four adventurous years living in Wellington, New Zealand, she is excited for a new chapter as the IHP program manager in 2015.

Anna Gail earned her BS in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She graduated from SIT Graduate Institute with an MA in intercultural service, leadership, and management and received her educator’s licensure in secondary education: social studies, incorporating social justice in the classroom. She is a vegetarian, photographer-in-the-making, and running enthusiast with a hearty laugh.

Jack Beck, Launch Coordinator

Jack BeckJack Beck has worked in international health and human rights for the past 10 years. After completing a degree in international development and global health, he worked in China for several years supporting grassroots groups to prevent HIV among local LGBT communities. He went on to serve as director of communications for the Global Forum on MSM & HIV, where he led the development of a global network of LGBT activists and organizations across more than 160 countries. Today this network includes over 4,000 organizations, connecting stakeholders working on the front lines of the HIV epidemic with the international organizations that dictate global policy and funding flows, including the United Nations, the Global Fund, and the International AIDS Society.

Jack left the Global Forum in 2015 to found a new startup nonprofit called TurnOut. Using a novel web and mobile platform, TurnOut connects volunteers with LGBT nonprofits, supporting the LGBT nonprofit infrastructure and promoting civic engagement within the LGBT community. Developed collaboratively with nonprofits and LGBT groups at high schools, universities, and major corporations, the technology has completed its initial pilot phase and the organization will launch publicly in September 2016.

Gabriel Lima, Country Coordinator, Brazil

LimaGabriel Barbosa Lima is a social entrepreneur, passionate about designing and facilitating social change processes and business to address complex challenges around the world. He is a Reos Partners associate, a member of the Art of Hosting global community, a Slow Food Brazil activist, and an Outward Bound Brazil wilderness instructor. He has lived and worked in South Africa, the United States, the Netherlands, and Brazil.

Gabriel holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, focusing capacity building for local economy, from the Schumacher College, UK. He worked as guest faculty for Fundação Getúlio Vargas FGV applying UN principles for responsible management education, a worldwide initiative that encourages business schools to integrate into their curricula and institutional strategies the issues of corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Working with a variety of national and international clients, including social business, corporate, civil society and government organizations, Gabriel strives to create learning spaces for collective awareness. Gabriel has a keen interest in supporting the emergence of innovative educational paradigms that facilitate the connection between theory and current reality. He works together with a network of freelance education experts to provide educational opportunities and learning journeys in challenging real scenarios.

Abid Siraj, MA, Country Coordinator, India

Abid SirajAbid Siraj has been working with SIT Study Abroad for more than five years. He is an academic coordinator for a semester program on public health, policy advocacy, and community. He is also India country coordinator for the IHP: Health and Community program. Abid completed his master’s degree in social work from Aligarh Muslim University and is now pursuing his PhD in family planning. Before joining SIT he was involved with various development and health projects funded by USAID on community development, capacity building of grassroots leaders, and family planning. He has worked with UNICEF while implementing projects on intensive pulse polio immunization and maternal and child health in the states of Utter Pradesh and Rajasthan. Abid’s infectious smile and unending patience coupled with a passion for social justice and peace always helps students.

Martha Nalubega Wandera, Country Coordinator, Uganda

WanderaMartha Nalubega Wandera has worked for SIT since 2002. She holds an MA in peace and conflict studies from Makerere University in Kampala; a BA in social sciences also from Makerere University; a diploma in business education from Kyambogo University; and a postgraduate certificate in entrepreneurship, innovation, and social change at the UPEACE Center for Executive Education in Costa Rica.

Martha has experience in designing curricula, facilitating cross-cultural learning, providing student services, and conducting program review and evaluation. As a Ugandan, Martha brings a personal understanding of the country’s current social, political, and economic situation to her scholarly commitments. Her years of professional experience have provided her with the opportunity to develop relationships with diverse partners, including university professors, nongovernmental organizations, homestay families, and a variety of service providers. As a member of the Uganda Women’s Entrepreneurship Association Limited (UWEAL), Martha has further strengthened her connections with the business sector in Uganda. Over the past few years, she has served as academic director of SIT’s Uganda: Microfinance and Entrepreneurship, Uganda: Development Studies, and Uganda: Post-Conflict Transformation programs. Martha enjoys working with young people.

Sophia Sanan, Traveling Faculty

SananSophia has worked as a lecturer, researcher and writer in the fields of visual culture and arts education in South Africa for the last six years. She has developed and run a number of community-based art and design projects, which aligned experiential learning practice with social justice imperatives. She has taught and developed courses on visual culture, arts education, and globalization and design for social change. Sophia has most recently worked for the African Arts Institute, a civil society organization, where she focused on the development of cultural policy in diverse African contexts, on social and cultural entrepreneurship training, and on public participation through the arts.

Sophia holds a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Freiburg in Germany, Jawaharlal Nehru University in India, and the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She has an academic background in political philosophy, English literature, and visual communication design. Her research work has focused on art and design education for social justice, race and institutional transformation, cultural policy development in Africa, and socio-cultural dimensions of African diasporic communities in Europe, South Africa, and India. She has spent extensive time in North India, which has become a second home.

Ansley Rubinstein, Trustees’ Fellow, Fall 2016

rubensteinStriving to always challenge her perspective and others’ through travel, Ansley has spent the last five years working with students, both at home and abroad. She has led cultural exploration, community service, and language programs in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Costa Rica, Thailand, and the UK and, while in the US, regularly tutors students as a one-on-one educator.

When a student herself, Ansley participated in IHP: Cities of the 21st Century and studied abroad in Cairo, Egypt. Ansley also spent three years writing for the internationally published travel guide, Let’s Go, traveling to Australia, Greece, Austria, and Germany to explore both cosmopolitan cities and remote islands. Most recently, Ansley's interests have taken her to isolated communities in Costa Rica and Southeast Asia to research and develop ecotourism opportunities that empower local people to protect their land and conserve the natural environment. Ansley holds a BA in Near Eastern languages and civilizations, with an emphasis on Arabic language and literature, from Harvard University.

Kempie Blythe, Trustees’ Fellow, Spring 2017

bLYTHEChallenged and transformed by her experiences living abroad during high school and college, Kempie has dedicated her career to supporting students in making meaning of their experiences abroad and building bridges of understanding across borders. With nearly a decade of field experience, she has designed and facilitated summer and semester experiential programs abroad for North American high school, gap year, and college students in India, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, and Argentina. As an IHP: Indigenous Perspectives alumnus and an IHP Fellow, she is excited to return to the IHP family. As an IHP student, Kempie learned to question her assumptions, think critically, and expand her empathic capacities. As an educator and facilitator, she seeks to equip her students with the skills and tools not only to understand themselves more holistically but also to navigate the complexities of this interconnected world and find their passion and place within it.

Throughout her experiences abroad, Kempie has explored the innovative ways in which communities respond to the challenges they face from drought and displacement to access to quality education and health resources. In addition to her work as an educator, Kempie has spent time in Northern Uganda, supporting small business development projects for internally displaced women and researching rural education initiatives for returned child soldiers.

Kempie earned her master’s degree in international educational development with a concentration in peace and human rights education from Teachers College at Columbia University. She holds a BA in religion with an emphasis on eastern philosophy from Colorado College. She is also an alumnus of SIT’s Conflict Transformation Across Cultures Summer Peacebuilding Program.

You will live with a host family for between two and five weeks at each program site, with the exception of the first location. Homestays are the primary form of accommodation on the program; other accommodations can include guest houses, hostels, dormitories, and/or small hotels.

Homestay families provide you with the opportunity to live as an integrated member of the host communities. In sharing daily life, conversations, family stories, celebrations, and community events, you will not only learn a tremendous amount, but also develop lasting friendships.

Family structures vary in every place, and SIT values the diversity of homestay families. For example, the host family may include a single mother of two small children or a large extended family with many people coming and going all the time. Please bear in mind that the idea of what constitutes a “home” (i.e., the physical nature of the house) may be different from what you’d expect. You will need to be prepared to adapt to a new life with a new diet, a new schedule, new people, and possibly new priorities and expectations.

Country coordinators in each location arrange homestay placements. In most cases, students are placed in homestays in pairs, with placements made to best accommodate health concerns, including allergies or dietary needs. You will not receive information about homestay families until you arrive in each country.

Program Dates: Fall 2016

Program Arrival Date:  Aug 14, 2016

Program Departure Date:    Dec 3, 2016

The dates listed above are subject to change. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.

Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.

Application Deadline:   Apr 15, 2016

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

Tuition: $17,500

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Content and logistics for field programs in San Francisco, Brazil, Bangladesh, and Uganda
  • Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in the following courses:
    • Anthropology and Social Change
    • Design Thinking and Human Centered Design
    • Social Entrepreneurship
    • Technology, Change, and Innovation
  • Guest lectures and panel discussions
  • Site visit hosts and facilitators
  • Transportation to classroom spaces and daily program activities
  • All educational excursions to locations, including all related travel costs
  • Traveler’s health insurance throughout the entire program period 
  • Instructional materials
  • Other direct program costs

Note: Vacation costs are not covered by program fees; students are responsible for this.

Airfare: $4,500

  • Group airfare during the program
  • Airfare includes a flight back to a city in the US at the conclusion of the program.

Room & Board: $4,500

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in all four countries, urban and rural stays, all excursions, and the final retreat. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay. 
  • All homestays in Brazil, Bangladesh and Uganda
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.  

Estimated Additional Costs:

Domestic Airfare to Program Launch Site

Domestic airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

Visa Expenses: $ 275

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: $ 150

International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.

Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.


Tap to display sub-menu choices,
press & hold to open topic in new page.


SIT, 1 Kipling Road, PO Box 676, Brattleboro, VT 05302-0676
802 258-3212, 888 272-7881 (Toll-free in the US), Fax: 802 258-3296 

SIT was founded as the School for International Training and has been known as SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute since 2007. SIT is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

Accreditation | Privacy Policy | Site Map

Copyright 2016. World Learning. All rights reserved.

Back to top