Social Entrepreneurship

NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program

The NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program is designed to support and train the next generation of changemakers who will implement sustainable and scalable solutions to society’s most intractable problems. Reflecting the notion that social entrepreneurship is a meta-profession that draws on the skills and methodologies from a wide variety of disciplines, this cross-university initiative encompasses all 14 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools at NYU.

Social entrepreneurship is a form of leadership that maximizes the social return on efforts to change the world while fundamentally and permanently changing the way problems are addressed on a global scale. Social entrepreneurs employ a wide variety of creative approaches and practices from diverse academic disciplines and professional sectors. These methods allow social entrepreneurs to develop and implement pattern-breaking solutions for previously intractable social problems in ways that are sustainable and scalable to a larger population.

Our Four Assumptions

At New York University we have four assumptions that frame our understanding of the field, and shape of the NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program:


Social entrepreneurship can exist in any sector (private, not-for-profit, and government). Much of the most effective work crosses sectors.

To realize effective and lasting change, social entrepreneurial efforts cannot be relegated to one or two sectors. Policy makers, public service systems, private for profit and not-for-profit concerns are all critical components of sustainable and scalable change.


A 'meta-profession,' and therefore cross-university.

Social entrepreneurship is best understood as an approach that can be taken up by a variety of professional disciplines or fields. As such, NYU has chosen to create the NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program as a cross-university initiative available to students from throughout the greater NYU community. This approach will be a hallmark of our program, and one of the notions that makes it unique.


A focus on the work of social entrepreneurship and not just on the personal characteristics of individual social entrepreneurs.

We have chosen to focus on the work of social entrepreneurship rather than just on the personal characteristics of individual social entrepreneurs. Sustainable and scalable efforts require contributions from people in multiple roles.


Articulate skills, experiences and credentials young people need to move into this emerging field.

As a university, one important contribution we can make to the field is to better articulate what skills, experiences and credentials students and professionals need to move into this emerging field.

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