Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

The mission of the Skoll Centre is to demonstrate and accelerate the impact of entrepreneurial activity that aims to transform unjust or unsatisfactory systems and practices.

We do this by:

  • cultivating talent and emerging leadership: we offer world-class graduate education that provides students with the vision and skills to bring together market-based approaches and social innovation
  • supporting actionable insight through research: we generate research that contributes to the theory of social entrepreneurship and its practical applications to address critical global challenges whilst developing and supporting a network of academics and practitioners to disseminate this knowledge globally
  • catalysing deep exchanges with a global community of innovators: we connect social entrepreneurs with thought leaders and key players in business, government, and philanthropy to enhance social impact.

A historic moment in business education

In light of the recent economic breakdown, much of the world is changing. Rather than bemoan the travails of shareholder driven capitalism, there are many of us who celebrate these challenges as an opportunity to reshape the meaning of economic growth, starting with business education.  It is the moment to champion new market systems based on entrepreneurship in the public interest, and disruptive innovations embracing new technologies, new business models, new laws and regulations.

We believe socially entrepreneurial approaches have much to contribute in creating this new market; for rather than pursuing activities that seek to maximise profits at society’s expense, these entrepreneurs put principles ahead of profits for society’s benefit.

The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University’s Said Business School is strategically positioned to take a leadership role in accelerating the creation of a new business architecture where markets are underpinned by fundamental values, and where respect for human dignity and the planet is paramount.

Our values

Entrepreneurship: We believe in entrepreneurial approaches to social change. We are guided by, and committed to, market-driven approaches aimed at finding solutions to poverty and environmental deterioration. We recognise that social entrepreneurship practice can be found in the public, private and citizen sectors and that the organisations created by social entrepreneurs can be legally constituted as non-profit or for-profit entities. 

Collaboration: Innovation and impact depend on collaboration. Everything we do is united by a sense of connectivity across sectors, networks, and key players.  We believe we have the greatest impact by connecting people and ideas, bridging learning and practice, and interfacing between diverse communities. We vigorously promote multidisciplinary teaching and research in social entrepreneurship that advances the legitimacy of social entrepreneurship as an academic discipline; and with students, we provide ongoing opportunities to engage with, learn from and support the world’s leading and emerging practitioners.

Global focus: The Centre is international in reach and scope. It promotes activities, including teaching, case studies, research and events, that have relevance to the global community of practice and scholarship.

Systemic impact: We are driven by a mission for systemic social impact. Social entrepreneurship, at its most powerful, creates systems-change to threats and inequalities, and provides sustainable pathways to scalable, replicable solutions. We seek to enable others to affect change that re-imagines current paradigms and in turn, endures as new systems for operating.

Intellectual rigor and honesty: We pursue the highest level of academic excellence in education and research. Our pursuit is underpinned by principles of honesty, integrity, and ethics.  We respect and honor the historical traditional of Oxford University and aim to fulfill its legacy of intellectual fulfillment for our team, students, and the wider community.

Our pursuit of rigor and honesty includes our responsibility to monitor and address our impact through ongoing constructive and thoughtful self-critique, systematically engaging with our stakeholders in this process. 

Valuing our team: We believe that successful entrepreneurial initiatives are directly linked to the people driving them. As such, we strive to provide opportunities for team members to grow their respective individual competencies through development and on-going feedback and reinforcement, and by acknowledging that each has a right to a healthy balance of professional and personal commitments.

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