New Economic Thinking & Social Entrepreneurship


About this minor

Enlarge your positive impact on the world through new economic approaches and transformative theories and methods.
Many of today’s most pressing challenges require transformative change that affects the ways we think, organize and behave.
Their solution can be sought in a sustainable, circular, prosperous and inclusive economy. This course explores new economic futures by critically engaging with social enterprises and academic debates addressing socio-economic transitions.

The aim of this minor is to explore new futures of the economy by critically engaging with transformative entrepreneurs and in academic debates around economic transitions as well as by diving into the everyday practices of new value propositions advanced by social entrepreneurs. The minor involves case-based learning together with enterprises and start-up companies that aim at making a difference by creating wider societal impact through innovative value-creation. We focus on understanding why and how transformative dynamics in socio-economic systems evolve, how system change may come about and how sustainable business models emerge.

As part of the Minor, we will address these points:

  • We will provide students with an overview of research on impact thinking, sustainability transition theory, social entrepreneurship, the role of innovation and new value propositions, from an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspective, combining insights from economics, management, and transition studies.
  • We will support students to become familiar with alternative economic models, and ways how businesses change and innovate in response to societal transitions.
  • We will support students to better understand how societal change (positive impact) occurs and to map sustainability transition dynamics.
  • Business challenges and opportunities of diffusing such innovative business models will be discussed from an academic and practitioners’ perspective including financing, management and governance lenses.
  • Attention will be paid to the value proposition of impact thinking and impact measurement.
  • Students will work in groups on an empirical study in which they will apply their new academic knowledge and insights on a practical case (i.e. carrying out a consultancy project to develop a business advice in collaboration with a social enterprise). At the end of the course, each group of students will pitch their ideas and suggestions to entrepreneurs and representatives from business during a “Dragon’s Den” event.

Examples are new business models based on doughnut/ circular / sharing economy, social entrepreneurship or impact investment.

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the complex nature of social, economic, and environmental challenges of our society and explore the role of societal transitions and businesses;
  • Characterize theoretical concepts, frameworks and methods on sustainability transitions, new economic thinking, and business models;
  • Explain the (potential) role of business as a transformative force using theories of new economic models, value propositions and societal transitions;
  • Assess debates around new economic thinking using transition and impact thinking;
  • Identify the ways a social entrepreneur can contribute to a new economy based on theories about new business models, value propositions and societal transitions;
  • Improve presentation, debate and teamwork skills;
  • Jointly formulate advice to a social enterprise based on the theoretical and practical knowledge acquired in the course; jointly deliver a presentation suitable for your social enterprise client.

Good to know

15 EC minor
12 EC minor for ESE-students
Campus Woudestein and Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship

If you want to participate in this minor, we expect you to be open minded, curious and – at times – provocative and interested in solving the grand challenges society is facing.
You will engage in critical debates and be able to reflect critically upon offered theories.
Multidisciplinary perspectives, applied research and problem oriented learning approaches have your interest. Group work with students with different (study) backgrounds and collaborative approaches are considered key in this course.
As this minor is delivered in English, you need to have a sufficient command of the English language in speech and writing to actively participate in class. We strongly encourage students from diverse disciplines to apply.
Several research centers contribute to this minor as well as the economic students association:Impact Centre Erasmus



Teaching method and examination

Lectures/Seminars, interactive group sessions and exercises (e.g. application of tools), individual and group assignments, debates, group mentoring, individual mentoring on research paper preparation


  • Old to new economic thinking and societal transitions

  • From business innovation to societal transformation

  • Optional: Development of a (theoretical) research paper

Teaching material
Reader: the scholarly articles + videos can be downloaded through the university library, internet or will be handed out in class.

The grade for Module 1 and 2 will be based on:

  • Individual or group written assignments and video assignments for 7 weeks, incl. peer reviews (500 points);
  • Group project: a team of max. 6 students will consult a social enterprise on an actual business challenge related to societal transitions and social impact. The team will develop new ideas, approaches, or methods for the social enterprise to help them overcome their challenge(s). The group project consists of a written report (300 points) and a presentation (200 points);
  • Points can be deducted for lack of participation in the minor;
  • Students who miss more than 25% of classes need to do an additional assignment in order to pass.

Module 3: (Optional): individual research paper about a topic of choice that counts for 250 points (3 ECTS).

In sum, this course includes 1000 points for 12 ECTS or 1250 for 15 ECTS.

Composition final grade:
The final grade of the minor is the weighted average of the two (or three) modules.
Specific grading per assignment will be specified to students in the course manual.
An average grade of 5.5 is sufficient to pass the minor.

Link to more information

  • Credits
    ECTS 15
  • Level
  • Contact coordinator
  • Selection minor
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Erasmus University.


  • Start date

    2 September 2024

    • Ends
      8 November 2024
    • Term *
      Block MINOR
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      15 May, 13:00 - 15 Jul 2024
    Only one day to enrol
These offerings are valid for students of Erasmus University