Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship


Social entrepreneurship has a natural home at Mendoza and the University of Notre Dame. The very attributes of social entrepreneurship discussed in so many classrooms internationally and across the country - passion, business-like discipline, ingenuity and innovation, determination and perseverance, relentless pursuit, spread of ideas, systemic change, and marshaling of resources/bootstrapping - resonate with Mendoza students, faculty and staff, alumni, and the wider Notre Dame community.

At the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship, we are committed to the advancement of socially responsible forms of business and to engage and promote new and creative ways of using business as a tool to solve pressing social issues.  We encourage students to think beyond personal wealth creation and instead, to create wealth and deliver lasting impact in disenfranchised communities around the world.  Social entrepreneurship is more than just well-intentioned philanthropy.  It provides a vital link between economic AND social value.

A social enterprise can take many forms, including a purely nonprofit pursuit, a for-profit business venture, a hybrid venture with an equal for-profit and non-profit component, or a multinational corporation serving the needs at the base of the economic pyramid.  In addition to social and/or environmental impact, we emphasize financial sustainability.

Our goal is to outfit the social entrepreneur with the business knowledge and strong social mission needed for success, including:

  • Academic programming that provides knowledge of fundamental business concepts and tools to build a social enterprise 
  • Annual business plan competition whereby the Irish Entrepreneurs Network lends their experience and expertise to help students move their social enterprise ideas forward
  •  Immersion experiences and internships provide on-the-ground experiences for students in social enterprise/partner organizations
  • Annual Irish Impact Social Entrepreneurship Conference that seeks to unite social innovators who are developing new enterprise models with likeminded students who are searching for concrete examples and avenues to address societal needs

For further information about resources that the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship and The University of Notre Dame have to offer, visit irishimpact.nd.edu/resource/