Social Entrepreneurship at Heller

If you think only business students can start their own ventures, think again. Heller offers a variety of competitions, workshops and classes to give every student the opportunity to pursue a social venture, develop a plan and get feedback from professionals. Whether you’re pursuing an MBA or not, you’ll learn how to bring a business idea to life.

At Heller, we don’t believe in silos. Students always have the support of their own cohorts—but are encouraged to step beyond those boundaries to engage with students in every program. They mingle and make friends, and even form teams to share expertise and deliver a successful program or product that can help solve some of the world’s most pressing social challenges. 

Here are just a few examples of how Heller students can flex their entrepreneurial muscles: 

UN Sustainable Development Goals Case Challenge

Students from across the Boston area tackle a UN Sustainable Development Goal, designed to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. The day-long event brings together master's students from Brandeis, Tufts, Babson, Boston College and Boston University to develop business solutions based on their diverse business and international development experiences. In addition to gaining feedback from judges on their solutions, students also receive training on how to improve teamwork and presentation skills. 

The Heller Startup Challenge

60 hours. Dozens of students. $1,000 prize. This intensive, three-day social enterprise initiative, open to Heller students as well as undergraduates and alumni, gives students who aren’t in the Heller MBA program or the International Business School an opportunity to put their ideas to the test. Participants form or join teams around an idea to solve a pressing social issue, develop a business plan with the help of a mentor, learn from peers with different skill sets and pitch their plan at the end of the weekend.

Read one student’s first-hand account of the 2017 Heller Startup Challenge

The Hult Prize at Brandeis

This year-long international student competition to sustainably solve the world’s most pressing social challenges offers a $1 million prize—but first, students have to win at their local college competition. The Hult Prize at Brandeis is the culmination of a semester full of entrepreneurship, offering students a chance to pitch ideas refined through feedback at previous events. To meet the requirements of the Hult Prize, students are challenged to scale up their ideas to maximize global impact.

Read about the 2017 competition

Heller alumni Wafaa Arbash, Jennie Kelly and Shadi Sheikh Saraf

WorkAround: A social enterprise founded by three Heller alumnae

Wafaa Arbash, MA SID/COEX’17, Jennie Kelly, MA SID/MBA’17 and Shadi Sheikh Sara, MA SID/COEX’17, co-founded WorkAround, a startup company that provides online micro-tasking jobs to refugees and displaced people around the globe. They first pitched it at the Heller Startup Challenge in 2016. Read their story in the Winter 2017 issue of Heller Magazine.