George Williams College

Social Entrepreneurship


"Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry." — Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka

John Muir, Bunker Roy, Maria Montessori, Muhammad Yunis, Marian Wright Edelman - they are all social entrepreneurs, daring innovators who saw a problem in society and initiated a solution. At George Williams, we inspire students to engage in this important work. Building upon our YMCA heritage, we invoke a community commitment to social entrepreneurship: the business of finding creative solutions to society’s most pressing concerns.

Social Entrepreneurship 101

What it is

Where business entrepreneurs transform industries, social entrepreneurs transform society. They see a problem - poverty, hunger, injustice - and work to find an accessible, ethical, and long-term solution.

Why it’s important

It may seem idealistic, but social entrepreneurism is actually quite practical. It marries concepts from the nonprofit and for-profit worlds to improve conditions for people on local and global levels. In doing so, it also creates jobs, stimulates economies, and leads to the development of new goods and services.

The qualities of a social entrepreneur

Social entrepreneurs (like George Williams College students) are passionate, creative, and determined. They are motivated by an inner drive to elevate their communities - to pitch in and solve problems.

Social entrepreneurship at George Williams College

"George Williams’ students commonly have an inner calling—a curiosity in the world and a desire to help other people." — Chris Wells, Assistant Professor Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management

At George Williams, social entrepreneurism is infused throughout the curriculum. The general education program is guided by our belief that education should teach skills, develop values, and contribute to the well-being of others.

All courses—from communication to mathematics and science to arts, humanities, and culture—relate to social entrepreneurship. Students receive a high-level education in these subject areas and understand how each discipline can be utilized to aid society. They also take focused, thematic courses in social entrepreneurship and responsibility throughout their four years at George Williams College.

  • In year one, they learn about the field of social entrepreneurship and see how creativity and innovation are used to effect societal change on local and global levels.
  • In year two, they gain the skills needed to implement sustainable, constructive solutions to societal ills.
  • In year three, they apply their skills to a real-world social problem and launch their own social entrepreneurial venture.
  • Finally, in year four, they serve as mentors, teaching their skills to other George Williams students, and developing leadership capabilities.

Upon completion of their degree, all George Williams College students are therefore prepared with professional experience and personal insights to guide their continued growth in mind, body, spirit and service.

Want to learn more about social entrepreneurism? Check out the following links.