Software Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship

University of California - Santa Cruz, 2007 - $33,000

The School of Engineering (SOE) is relatively new at the University of California, having been formed only eight years ago. The program continues to grow, however, and with this grant will add a sixth course to the curriculum: From Software Innovation to Social Entrepreneurship. The course will focus on the creation of businesses with social value using software and technology innovation. The course will hopefully be a step toward the creation of a social entrepreneurship degree at UCSC.

The new course's curriculum will include motivating students through people, projects, and case studies from startup companies; working together to brainstorm innovative software and technology ideas; integrating discussion and business models; and emphasizing the characteristics of entrepreneurship. The course will place a special emphasis on mentorship; students will work in groups, each with three mentors (an experienced student mentor, a topical area expert, and a business expert). A board of judges will select 2-3 student groups with the best business proposals, who will then be funded to develop prototypes and refine business models.