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Center for Social Entrepreneurship

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is social entrepreneurship?
    Social Entrepreneurship is the process of creating value through the exploitation of an opportunity, in the pursuit of both financial and social returns. Social entrepreneurs are the individuals who focus on tackling major social issues, like access to clean water, hunger and poverty, droughts and floods, energy deficiencies, violence and gender inequalities, and lack of educational opportunities, just to name a few. They engage the market, and develop creative revenue-generating solutions in their pursuit of significantly changing the systemic structures that perpetuate these social problems.

  2. Why do we need social entrepreneurs?
    Because we have some pretty massive social problems confronting us, like the extreme poverty experienced by 20% of the world's population, or the 1billion people who lack access to clear drinking water. And because governments and non-profits cannot do it alone. They don't have the resources, and many times corruption is a problem, particularly in the countries experiencing the extreme social problems. We need creative individuals to develop innovative solutions for these problems. And that is what social entrepreneurs are.

  3. What is social entrepreneurship at NIU?
    Faculty, students, alumni and friends of the University are engaging in the social entrepreneurial space, through their involvement in experiential learning, research, and outreach programs and activities. Social entrepreneurship at NIU includes experiential courses, student organizations, venture competitions, and much, much more. Explore our website for complete details.

  4. How do I declare a social entrepreneurship minor?
    If you are interested in studying social entrepreneurship at NIU, please visit the department of management website or center for social entrepreneurship website.

  5. Are there other ways to get involved besides classes?
    Yes, the NIU College of Business is home a to a student organization - The Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs (CAUSE). CAUSE aims to provide every person with the inspiration, the skills, the experiences, and the networks needed to make a social impact through innovation and entrepreneurial pursuits. Students from across campus interested in social entrepreneurship are invited to get involved with CAUSE. For more information please visit their website .

  6. How can alumni and friends of the University get involved in social entrepreneurship at NIU?
    NIU has become a leader in social entrepreneurship and are already doing a great deal of meaningful work to help further develop our students and the field as a whole. But we aim to do so much more. We want to remain on the cutting edge of this space, and to do so, we need to continue to develop and grow our programs. We invite you to consider how you might become a part of the growing, and significantly important, space we call Social Entrepreneurship. To learn more about how to become involved or how to support the programs, please contact us as cse.niu.edu.

  7. Where can I learn more about social entrepreneurship?
    There are lots of resources about social entrepreneurship, who these amazing social entrepreneurs are and what they are doing to change the world. Click here for a list of just a few articles, books, and website.