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A social enterprise, broadly defined, is a ‘for profit’ organisation that has a social or environmental mission at the core of what it does. Whilst social enterprises might have different legal structures and reinvest or redistribute profits in different ways, they are all characterised by an integrated business model that enables their (social and/or environmental) mission to be realised through their direct business operations and not by business profits alone. Driven by the desire to find innovative solutions to systemic social problems and environmental challenges (local and global), social entrepreneurs have facilitated collaboration across traditional ‘sectorial boundaries’ (the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors) using business thinking to reach people in need and utilising markets for social good.

COMM5201 Social Enterprise: Doing Business for Social Good is an experiential course that enables students to learn about the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of social enterprises and to apply their knowledge and skills through developing a social enterprise business case for the national Bid Idea competition. Working in small teams, students can develop an existing idea for a social enterprise or derive inspiration from the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals to identify a social enterprise to address a local and/or global social and/or environmental problem. The course is designed to follow the process of developing a social enterprise, beginning with discovery, then defining and development of the business case, and culminating in a presentation to a local Big Idea judging panel who will select the UNSW team to present at the national Big Idea pitching competition in Melbourne.

COMM5201 is a core course in the Master of Commerce and Master of Commerce (Extension) Global Sustainability and Social Enterprise specialisation.  It is also available to students in other MCom specialisations as their additional General Elective.  

Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 2



Indicative contact hours


Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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