Use Our Courses to Start, Build and Grow Your Social Enterprise.

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Impact Practice is the world’s most comprehensive online impact measurement program. Developed by international experts at the Social Enterprise Institute, it covers everything you know to plan, measure communicate and grow your social impact. Take the full program, or start with just a single course: 1. ESTABLISHING YOUR MISSION Your organization is on a mission to change society for the better. It all starts here. Find out how to tell others about your cause and why it matters. Learn how to build consensus on the mission that propels your work forward and defines its success. 2. DEFINING YOUR BUSINESS MODEL All successful social enterprises find the sweet spot between mission and money. Learn about the different businesses approaches that can be used to deliver your mission and how to design a business model that will maximise impact. 3. IDENTIFYING YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION Social enterprises are complicated organizations. They create value in many ways. Find out about value propositions, and how you can use them to describe the things that make your work distinctive, successful and uniquely valuable to others. 4. DEVELOPING A RESULTS FRAMEWORK Making a positive change in the world isn’t easy. It takes careful planning. Find out how to explain your theory of change, and how to use it to manage the relationship between your strategies, your performance, and the results you bring about. 5. USING PERFORMANCE MEASURES Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. Find out how to find, use and apply performance measures to show that you are making progress and achieving the impact you hoped for. 6. COLLECTING USEFUL INFORMATION The facts are always friendly, so let good evidence guide your way. Find out how to decide what information you should be collecting and the methods that you can use. Learn about our 10 tips for better data collection and a simpler life. 7. GAUGING PERFORMANCE AND IMPACT Using data can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to drown in a sea of numbers. Find out how to assemble and analyze data quickly and in a way that stands up to scrutiny. Learn how to use data to make smarter and more impactful decisions. 8. REPORTING ON RESULTS You no longer have to get weighed down by the same dull reports. Find out how to produce a full, balanced and persuasive account of your work. Learn how to use narrative, numbers, images and stories to good effect. 9. COMMUNICATING WITH IMPACT Don’t keep your story a secret; shout it from the rooftops. Find out to use tried and tested communication methods to share your evidence, strengthen your message and mobilise an army of supporters behind your cause. 10. USING EVIDENCE TO GROW IMPACT Got your message out there but want to take things to the next level? Find out how to use evidence to drive a cycle of improvement – transparent performance, useful learning, better results, more support, and it goes on. Read More

As you start to envision the product or service you wish to bring to market, there are a number of steps and considerations that help create a success launch. This bundle introduces users to design thinking and prototyping, market research and pricing for impact and profit, as well as channeling and enterprise promotion. For any launch, proper promotion and market knowledge is equally as important as having a well-designed product or service. Prototyping: Start-ups are not like existing companies. When a company has an idea it already has customers and resources to run the product development cycle. A start-up must focus on pure customer development. Getting product / market fit right as early as possible is critical for a start-up so it doesn't burn out of cash. This requires walking a razor's edge of prototyping, shipping and iterating. Market Research: After completing this learning module, learners will be able to draft effective, concise, and meaningful market research questions to be used in surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, interviews and other primary market research). The course helps participants define what they need to know, avoid common pitfalls and mistakes, and actually draft a set of questions to guide the development and promotion of their business. Pricing for Impact and Profit: How do you put a price on transformational change? This course introduces non magical, yet effective techniques to price your product or service to maximize both social impact and financial sustainability. We will help you identify important information about your business to allow you to make informed, strategic and effective pricing decisions: know your costs, estimate your value in the market, and even determine why and when you might like to charge some people a little and some a lot. Promoting Your Social Enterprise: Explore, understand, and apply the promotions component of the “4 P’s of Marketing.” At the conclusion of this course you will be able to make strategic and effective choices on how to promote your products and services. Learn about market segmentation techniques to position your offering for each customer segment. Understand how and when to use your social value proposition in your promotions. Channels: After completing this learning module, learners will understand what a “channel” is and will recognize the importance of developing an effective channel strategy. They will receive a high-level introduction to popular channels and will learn how to identify and test different channels while maximizing their ROI and avoiding costly mistakes.  Design Thinking: This course introduces the design thinking process of solving a problem creatively, and how to use those problem-solving techniques to get at the core of the customer problem. Additionally, design thinking gets you to think about the development of your enterprise in necessary social and environmental contexts. You will examine multiple examples of processes used to interact with the individuals impacted by the problem. Read More

Finance is the fuel required to propel your social enterprise forward. You may need outside finance from a bank or social lender to: Get things off the ground if you are starting something new. Maintain positive cash flow to deliver a service, finance a contract, or cover costs. Scale-up to take on more services, bigger contracts, or reach more people. Improve your long-term financial stability by buying an asset. Fortunately, there is an increasing variety of social investment options available to help you achieve social impact - loans, equity finance, bonds, and more. There’s a lot to think about though. Taking on investment is not suitable for every organization or in all circumstances. By taking on investment, you are taking on risk. Remember, (in most cases) the money is repayable. You also need to be ready with the right structure, skills, and business model to attract investors. The more you can prepare, the more likely you are to secure funding and the less likely to run into problems later. Developed in partnership with leading social finance intermediaries including Vancity Community Foundation, Verge Capital and SVX, this program has been designed to help social sector organizations get investment-ready. Through a series of 8 online courses, the program provides all of the information, insights and tools you will need to get ready for investment:  1. SOCIAL FINANCE 101 Taking outside investment may be an unfamiliar concept to you, or a complicated one at best. Learn all the basics of social finance, including about the main sources of finance, what they can be used for, and who supplies them. 2. DETERMINING YOUR FINANCIAL NEEDS Nearly every business has to raise money at some point. Learn how to figure out how much money you will need, the size and timing of the raise, the most suitable sources of funding, and which investment strategy is right for you. 3. FEASIBILITY MODELLING Before approaching an investor, you will need to demonstrate the viability of your business idea. Learn how to quickly consider all of the essential elements that impact financial feasibility, and build a simple model to validate assumptions. 4. COMPLETING A FEASIBILITY MODEL Before asking for investment in your business, you must ensure the numbers stack up. Learn how to combine market data with accurate modelling to see if your project makes sense, given your market and circumstances. 5. PRESENTING THE FINANCIAL DATA The financial data that you produce is only as good as the use you put it to. Find out how to analyse data from your financial model, how to present it, and how to use it to make your case for investment. 6. DEMONSTRATING SOCIAL IMPACT TO INVESTORS Social investors give money because they want social return, as well as financial return, and they need to be confident you can deliver both. Find out how investors assess impact and how you can produce a credible impact plan to satisfy them. 7. REFINING YOUR BUSINESS MODEL AND PLAN A carefully crafted business plan will help you explain to investors how you will use the money and how you will repay it. Learn how to assess your business model and strengthen your business plan based on investors’ most common requirements. 8. TAKING ON AN INVESTMENT Before investing, an investor will really do their homework. Brace yourself. Learn more about the deal room documentation you will need to collect, how you can deliver the perfect pitch, and how to prepare for negotiating final terms. Read More

We guide you through the steps, tools and tips you need to learn about marketing to help your social enterprise succeed. 1. SETTING YOUR MARKETING GOALS Learn why marketing is a necessary, and reasonable, investment in business growth, and understand the basic elements of a marketing plan and strategy. This course offers a foundation to a successful approach to marketing for your social enterprise and introduces the initial concepts, definitions, requirements and help you confirm your marketing expectations. 2. MARKET RESEARCH: TOOLS & TECHNIQUES Understanding who will buy from you and what their needs, wants, and whims might be will help point your towards creating a sound set of marketing initiatives to launch, sustain and grow your social enterprise. However, market research can be done wrong. This course provides a strong understanding of the tools available to you, and how to use those tools to build real understanding of your customers. 3. MARKETING MIX: PRICING FOR IMPACT AND PROFIT Arguably, consumers buy products and services based on two main criteria: Price and Quality. They may be interested in the social or environmental benefits of your social enterprise, but setting the price to cover costs and to maximize both revenue and demand are key elements in any marketing strategy, and are often not clearly articulated by most social enterprises. After completing this learning module, learners will have several tool and approaches to set prices for their social enterprise products or services that will help to achieve their business objectives. 4. MARKETING MIX: PROMOTIONS You need to develop the key messages that you want to share with targeted audiences in order to gain their attention and encourage them to buy your product or service. Recognize when to promote your social mission to encourage demand and when to focus on other marketing messages. Ensure that messages for different audience segments are integrated and mutually support the brand development of your entire enterprise.  After completing this learning module, learners will understand techniques that can be used by social enterprises to promote their products and services in order to generate demand 5. MARKETING MIX: PLACEMENT This course allows you to understand the value of placement in your successful marketing mix, and to define a path to create an effective and efficient placement strategy for your products or services. Online webstore? Farmer’s market? Consignments? Trade show booths?  Learn the pros and cons of different options for placement of your product or service in order to ensure that customers can buy from you…conveniently. You’ll also consider cross-platform options and make placement choices to target different market segments. 6. BUSINESS TO BUSINESS (B2B) & WHOLESALE MARKETING Selling to other businesses usually requires a different set of promotional and placement approaches. This course offers a marketer’s view of how to sell to other businesses; including how to set wholesale prices (for volume sales), how to prepare for the competitive bidding process, and how to research where your (business) customers will find you. Understand how to modify your market research tools and techniques for commercial, public sector and other social enterprise buyers. 7. INTERNET MARKETING There are numerous new tools available to support online marketing. Having a website is a basic necessity, but the world of internet marketing is changing by the day; how much time and energy should you put into online marketing for your business. This course will offer recommendations on some of the ways to make an early investment in a scheduling or automation tool to help minimize the requirement for ongoing social media management. 8. RELATIONSHIP MARKETING: MANAGING CUSTOMER RELATIONS It is far more cost effective to maintain a customer than to find a new one. Building relationships with customers requires data management, clear analytics, dedicated communications tools and cycles and respect for privacy. This course offers recommended strategies for customer retention, viral marketing, and customer upgrading to help increase revenues, build loyalty, and expand the social mission of your enterprise. 9. MEASURING MARKETING SUCCESS Understand how to design both marketing messages and medium to ensure that it is simple to track the effectiveness of each and every initiative. Learn simple and inexpensive ways to track customer response to marketing and promotions to allow you to analyze the results of marketing activities using criteria related to budgeted sales, costs, profits, and other appropriate criteria. Read More

Governments use funding when they are engaging non-profits that are working to reduce expensive problems such as incarceration, diet-related diseases, homelessness and children in care. Funding is usually limited, unpredictable, administratively burdensome and not connected to outcomes. Shaun describes transformative tools of social innovation that allow governments to create markets for solutions. Shaun gives examples of how these tools are already being used by governments across Canada which essentially turns government from a funder into a customer. These outcomes oriented relationships get resources to solution providers and save governments money, risk-free.  Social innovation is a term used to describe new, novel and unique approaches to solve societal problems. The Social Innovation for Civil Servants bundle will provide real case studies, change your perspective on problem solving, and offer tangible tools to take action. Review historical examples of government policy that are counterproductive, see how current policy can hinder or support social outcomes, and get a glimpse on how businesses and organizations external to government are increasingly working to address these issues. Designed for Civil Servants from all levels of government, this certificate will illustrate how Civil Servants can enable solving social problems using a market-driven approach. Read More

  Welcome to the Social Enterprise Procurement Certificate. This learning path will lead you through all the courses you need to complete the certificate.    The Policy and Practise of Creating Social Value from Existing Purchasing - Social Procurement adds social value to existing purchases and infrastructure investments, leveraging the purchase and its effects to create increased social value. Through the social procurement accelerated certificate you will learn about social purchasing and community benefit agreements, how to develop an appropriate policy framework, engage stakeholders in program design, draft criteria to evaluate purchases and measure impact.   Goal: Designed for the buyers of social value products and services, this certificate enables procurement staff of municipal, provincial and federal government, universities and hospitals, and private companies to make the changes in their existing purchasing practises to better reflect their unique social values.   Learning Objectives: Participants will enhance their knowledge and professional ability in seven key areas: Describe what social enterprises are, their market role, and the contributions they make to local economies and communities Understand and define what social procurement is, its purpose and role in community economic development, and key barriers and opportunities Understand the role and identifying opportunities for social purchasing in an existing supply chain process Understand how to design a social purchasing policy, develop a process, and evaluate a system Understand how to design, implement and evaluate a Community Benefit Agreement Design of monitoring and evaluation options to access and measure social impacts How to apply the social procurement model in a case study .helpButton { display: none; } { opacity: 0; -moz-animation: cssAnimation 0s ease-in 2s forwards; -webkit-animation: cssAnimation 0s ease-in 2s forwards; -o-animation: cssAnimation 0s ease-in 2s forwards; animation: cssAnimation 0s ease-in 2s forwards; -webkit-animation-fill-mode: forwards; animation-fill-mode: forwards; } @keyframes cssAnimation { to { opacity: 1; } } @-webkit-keyframes cssAnimation { to { opacity: 1; } } @import url(|Raleway); @import url(; Read More

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