Since the 1990s, the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship has been spreading worldwide, particularly in Israel. Social entrepreneurs are agents of change in civil society who aim to achieve sustainable social change using new and creative methods. Social entrepreneurs evince high commitment both toward the populations that they serve and toward the economic, social and environmental outcomes of their activity.
The aim of social entrepreneurship is to succeed in providing grassroots and creative long-term solutions to social problems like inequality, poverty, social exclusion, environmental justice, etc. Social entrepreneurs are people with vision who develop innovative ideas through many various tools, among them purely social ones, but also via business and technology.
Social entrepreneurship is an important practice adopted by managers of organizations in civil society who are active in competitive organizational environments and who require creative solutions to advance the target populations that their organizations serve. Accordingly, alongside traditional social entrepreneurship, in recent years, business social entrepreneurship and technological social entrepreneurship have developed.
The great importance of business social entrepreneurship is in shattering the traditional division between sectors regarding social responsibility, so that the business sector also works to advance social goals. This means developing business/social projects, using market forces to advance social goals. Such projects do not rely only on philanthropy, but also yield income. The projects can take place in the framework of existing associations and help them advance their social goal or as a development of services and new associations in the form of social businesses. Technological social entrepreneurship attempts to make use of advanced technologies to develop and promote solutions for social problems. These are groundbreaking technological ideas and situations in which technology is harnessed to achieving positive social change.
Description of the specialization
Specialization in the field of social entrepreneurship is a necessity today, and is aimed at training the social leadership of tomorrow. The School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University, by means of the Schwartz Program for Non-Profit and Community Organizations Management, is the natural place to develop a specialization in social entrepreneurship. The program combines theoretical and practical knowledge, promotes values of developing civil society as an open public sphere in a democratic society and social capital, and trains students for management positions in social organizations in order to improve the welfare of individuals in their environment, while developing civil society. In the program, students study theories and methods of action in civil society; various aspects of social policy and social theories in areas of social problems such as poverty and exclusion; organizational theories and current management practices; models of management; inter-sector relations; models and practices of community organization and social change. The knowledge and experience of the researchers and faculty of the program form a rich academic substrate for the growth in both theoretical and practical aspects of the specialization in social entrepreneurship.
The overarching conception of the specialization relies on an integrative perspective, that emphasizes the theoretical and practical connection between conceptions and theories relating to the roles of civil society and social change, and business and technological aspects for formulating new ideas and developing projects. Students in this specialization will receive knowledge and tools that will help them with social entrepreneurship and developing social business projects. They will be trained to work with models and practices adapted to a measurable and result-oriented process, taken from the social and business worlds. Students in this specialization will learn to develop partnerships with other factors in the community and will be capable of expanding the choices and opportunities of the people and groups with which they work.
The specialization is based on academic courses such as theories of civil society, organizational theory, management and leadership, philanthropy, inter-sector partnerships, etc.; on practical courses such as economic and financial management, legal aspects, branding and marketing, fundraising, etc.; and also on practical experience in starting a social project—with a social, business or technological emphasis (or the combination of any of the above), according to the project’s character.
In part of the practical experience of this specialization, the students will be accompanied by mentors—people with extensive proven experience in social entrepreneurship. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a lab run by the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Hebrew University in order to strengthen and promote a project with high potential. In the lab, students can experience starting a project, as well as getting advice and collaborating with professionals and students from other fields and disciplines.
The specialization is open to students in the Schwartz Program for Non-Profit and Community Organizations Management. The intake of the specialization is up to 20 students. These students may take the specialization courses (12 credits) as part of their MA studies.
Specialization in the field of disabilities, rehabilitation, and mental health
The overarching conception of this specialization relies on an integrative perspective, that emphasizes the theoretical and practical connection between social policy, and organizational and social aspects of the field of disabilities, rehabilitation, and mental health.
The specialization aims to allow students to develop a broad view of these fields, in order to evaluate the situation of people with disabilities and their families and to develop appropriate responses to their needs. Within this overarching conception, the specific fields of knowledge and specialization in which the school’s faculty are expert will be presented.
The specialization is open to students in the Schwartz Programs, in both research and non-research tracks. These students may take the specialization courses (12 credits) as part of their MA studies.