Social Entrepreneurship: Sustainable Solutions to Global Challenges

Multidisciplinary honors seminar with five-day study tour to Montréal in Fall 2015!
Class times: T, R 3:30 - 4:50pm

This multidisciplinary and cross-cultural course is designed to introduce and promote entrepreneurial thinking for effectively responding to key challenges in our new global economy. The course will center on global issues such as the environment, health, poverty, education, sanitation, agriculture, trade, and migration/immigration.

The focus is on social entrepreneurship: how to develop a product that would be responsive to a societal need and to produce a social benefit. Students will work in teams to develop a product that meets these goals without harming the environment. These low cost, innovative products will be for consumers who make between just $2.00-$5.00 a day and will contribute to solutions to complex global problems.

UC students will collaborate with peers from the University of Québec at Montréal (UQAM) to develop the products, working in cross-national and cross-discipline teams via video conferences and direct meetings in Montréal and Cincinnati. These student teams will create entrepreneurial solutions, using critical thinking in bringing about economically sound decisions to solve contemporary global challenges.

During the course and the visit to Montréal, students will meet with entrepreneurs and other professionals who can provide examples of “best practices” that the students might be able to emulate (e.g., visit with a microfinance expert in Cincinnati, having guest speakers in class such as a CEO of a local social entrepreneurship venture, and more).

Learning Goals

  • Acquire expertise with which to manage global challenges in a socially responsible way and from an entrepreneurial business perspective.         
  • Develop the ability to integrate knowledge from various fields, operating in a socio-culturally diverse environment, and convert such knowledge into a scenario which would enable optimal decision making.
  • Learn, by working with other students, how cultural differences may impact decision making.
  • Acquire the culture & knowhow of how to use social entrepreneurship to solve a social issue.
  • Develop a specific product concept toward solving a social issue.
  • Identify and ameliorate an existing product that is being used by a business.    

Montréal Study Tour
The tentative study tour will be from September 16th - September 20th, 2015. 

*Note that the study tour component takes place during fall semester. The group will be in Montréal from a Wednesday through Sunday missing three days of class. It is each student's individual responsibility to contact their instructors (as early as possible) to find out if it will be possible to make arrangements for exams or other requirements that will be missed during that time.

Tentative Itinerary (subject to change):

Day 1  Traveling to Montreal via Chicago

Day 2  Centre Sportif in the morning, lunch at Bistro Sanguinet, two speakers in the afternoon, dinner at L'academie, Chez Serge in the evening.

Day 3   Brain storming in the morning, lunch at Cora Dejeumer, team formation-project orientation in the afternoon, dinner at La Creperie Bretonne, Club La Mouche in the evening.

Day 4   Work on the project in the morning, lunch at Eaton Center, free time in the afternoon, dinner at Les 3 Brasseurs, Les 2 Peirrots in the evening.

Day 5   Return to CVG via Chicago

Total expected cost to be paid to UC is $850. The actual cost per person for UC is $1,600, but this will be offset by a $750 grant from University Honors and a grant from UC International (TBD). All participants will receive these grants. 

Costs will include airfare, CISI insurance and accommodations.

Costs do not include baggage fees, meals, passport, ground transportation, or other personal expenses.

To apply please fill out an application. Applications for this seminar are being accepted on a rolling basis.

Space is limited and the class can accommodate only 10-12 students. If you are interested, be sure to register early! Registration is limited to those who are at least a rising second year student.

UC undergraduates who are not in the University Honors Program are welcome and encouraged to participate, provided the student has a cumulative university GPA of 3.4 or above. Graduate students are not eligible to enroll. If you are a UC undergraduate and would like to enroll, please contact Neil Choudhury of the University Honors Program with your name and M Number.

Course Expectations

Students are expected to meet the instructor's academic and behavioral expectations during the class time leading up to the travel component. Students who do not meet academic and/or behavioral expectations will not be permitted to travel. Students in this situation will not receive a refund.

Travel Documents

In order to travel outside the United States, you will need to have a passport that is valid for at least six months after your return; for this course, that means March 2015.  To find the forms you need to apply for or renew your passport, go to the Passport page on the US State Department's website.  New passports regualrly cost $135 while renewals cost $110.

UC encourages that all students have an International Student Identification Card (ISIC).  UC International has information regarding how to obtain an ISIC.  ISICs are $25.

You are encouraged to review the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control's page on Canada.

Other Notes
Comment from a previous participants – “I now look at problems with more critical thought and think about how they are really just opportunities.”

Contact seminar professor Dr. Constantine Polychroniou or Neil Choudhury of the University Honors Program.