The University of Massachusetts Amherst

SPP 497C: Catalyzing Change: Creating & Operating a Nonprofit

This course is for students who dream of starting, running, or working for a social mission enterprise---an organization that meets a specific social mission, makes its financial goals, and considers the environmental and personal impacts of its actions. In this class, students will take initial steps towards creating a fictional social mission enterprise, with practicing social entrepreneurs acting as mentors. Students will also complete a project that will help solve an issue facing the social enterprise with which their mentor is affiliated.

The course begins with a discussion of the issues around which students hope to pursue change and of ways to address those issues. We then discuss personal leadership styles and team building skills, both of which are essential components of any successful social enterprise. Students will then begin to shape their own social enterprises, using design thinking, Lean Startup methodologies, impact measurement, and budget development skills that they are learning in the course. Students will also be exposed to the legal structures within which social mission enterprises can exist, and they will develop oral and written communication skills that are essential to any successful social mission enterprise.



Catalog Number: 

SPP 497C

Class Number: 



Betsy Schmidt

Meeting Times: 

T 2:30-5:00

Meeting Room: 


Course Type: 

Undergraduate Courses