Harvard Business School » Social Enterprise » Impact


Influencing practice and advancing the field for over 25 years.

Through the work of the faculty, the Social Enterprise Initiative has built a foundation of knowledge that has both responded to and influenced the changing field of practice. And by engaging alumni, students, and practitioners, we’ve fostered the adaptation of new management frameworks to drive social change within all sectors.

Advancing the Field

Nonprofit Strategy & Governance

Expanding its early focus on helping nonprofits operate more efficiently to the emerging space of social enterprises and the challenges of measuring social impact, the HBS faculty has developed a body of knowledge that encompasses leadership, strategy, and governance of mission-driven organizations across the spectrum, from entrepreneurial ventures to more established firms.

Business for Social Impact

Since its inception, the Social Enterprise Initiative has explored the role of business in creating social value. Today, SEI continues to examine the challenges and opportunities in harnessing the power of the markets to create both economic and social value.

K–12 Education

Over the last decade, HBS has focused on adapting and applying management concepts within urban school systems to drive improved performance and on using entrepreneurial strategies to effect systemic change in K–12 education.

Impact Investing

Building upon prior research on venture philanthropy and social capital markets, SEI launched a multiyear Forum on Social Impact Investing to pursue an action research agenda in conjunction with leading practitioners.

Catalyzing Action

Influencing Practice

One of the primary interfaces between the Social Enterprise Initiative and practitioners is through the SEI portfolio of executive education programs. The first program was launched in 1995 and, since then, the portfolio of programs has provided transformational learning experiences for more than 7,000 social impact executives and board members.

Supporting Careers

Beyond the classroom, SEI offers a portfolio of career development, field-based learning, and community engagement programs designed to bring together students, alumni, and organizations to focus on real-world challenges while providing the opportunity for individuals to tailor their engagement based on their specific goals.

Accelerating Innovation

As social entrepreneurship has taken on increasing prominence over the past two decades, HBS alumni have been at the forefront of change—from starting new organizations to imbedding an entrepreneurial spirit within established ones; from funding innovators in the field to creating new forms of social investing.

A Network for Change

The Social Enterprise Initiative at HBS is a focal point for the creativity and energy of its worldwide community. This network includes students and alumni with backgrounds in all sectors who seek to engage in socially-driven pursuits at various stages of their personal and professional lives.