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Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

Frequently Asked Questions

What is your relationship with the University of Oxford?

We are formally and legally part of the University of Oxford. We are one of several research centres of the Saïd Business School, and located within The Oxford Launchpad in its Park End Street building in Oxford.

Are you the Skoll Foundation?

The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship is not the Skoll Foundation. The Skoll Foundation is a strong partner, advisor, and founding investor of the Skoll Centre, but we are two separate entities.

Are you a grant funder?

No, the Skoll Centre is not a grant-making foundation and does not invest financially in social enterprises outside of the University of Oxford community.

We provide funding for five MBA students per year in social entrepreneurship through the Skoll Scholarship. Read more about Skoll Scholarship.

We also award a pool of £20,000 grant funding to up to three social ventures that have been founded by Saïd Business School students and alumni through our Skoll Venture Awards. Read more about the Skoll Venture Awards.

We also provide up to £12,000 to established researchers across University of Oxford through our Skoll Research Grants Programme. Researchers will use this money to fund their project on a particular social or environmental impact research project. Read more about the Skoll Research Grants Programme.

What makes you different from other research centres for social entrepreneurship?

The Skoll Centre is uniquely situated between two key partners - University of Oxford and the Skoll Foundation. We leverage value from each, and bridge the gap between the academic and practitioner worlds.

Our research and community are global in scope, and we uniquely use the power of networks to magnify the work of our researchers, students, and wider community beyond local and national boundaries.

We also provide fully funded MBA scholarships with living stipends for social innovators; we facilitate cutting-edge research in social entrepreneurship and we run the Emerge Conference and the Skoll World Forum, two of the leading gatherings for entrepreneurs seeking to drive large-scale social change.

Who are Skoll Scholars? Are they the same as Fellows of the Skoll Centre?

Skoll Scholars are recipients of a fully funded MBA scholarships. There are five each year. Read more about the Skoll Scholarship.

Scholarships are awarded for each individual's previous track record of - and future commitment to - social innovation.

Fellows of the Skoll Centre are researchers and practitioners who are affiliated with the Centre.  They publish, collaborate, and teach various topics on social entrepreneurship.

I am interested in studying at Saïd Business School. How do I apply to be part of the Skoll Centre?

You do not need to apply to be affiliated with the Skoll Centre.  As an admitted Saïd Business School student, you have access to the courses and resources offered by the Skoll Centre, and are automatically “a part” of our community should you choose to engage with us. That said, our events are open to all.

I'd like to invest in the Skoll Centre. How do I get involved?

We see all our investors as critical partners in advancing the field of social entrepreneurship. If you would like to speak about potential partnership and investment opportunities, please contact us.

How can I get into the Skoll World Forum?

The Skoll World Forum is by invitation only. For more information, please visit the Skoll World Forum website.

What is social entrepreneurship?

Social entrepreneurship is an approach that combines opportunity, innovation and resourcefulness to address policies and practices that are detrimental to people and the planet. It is systemic rather than palliative, makes use of market forces where possible, and continuously monitors its outputs to refine its approaches.

Socially entrepreneurial activity happens across fields - from health to climate change to education - and across sectors - from non-profit to commercial to governmental.

Is social entrepreneurship the same as social enterprise?

No, the organisations social entrepreneurs create are called social enterprises or social ventures. However, not all social enterprises are created by social entrepreneurs who seek transformational social change. Some social enterprises are created by governments or non-profit organisations to generate employment opportunities or address other social issues. These usually include an income-generating strategy, hence the term “social enterprise.”  But they are not particularly innovative nor transformational.

Can you teach me how to be a social entrepreneur?

We believe that you cannot teach someone to be an entrepreneur. But we do know that entrepreneurship is contagious, and by working alongside entrepreneurs one can learn to think in a more entrepreneurial fashion. By doing so, countless students, who didn’t think they were entrepreneurial, have discovered their entrepreneurial streak and true passion for social change.

We aim to equip students with the tools - both academic and practical - needed to strengthen their capacity to create this change.

Isn't social entrepreneurship just smart charity?

No, social entrepreneurship is entrepreneurship, focused on creating value for society rather than accumulating value for shareholders. Social entrepreneurs are just like entrepreneurs in the traditional business sector – driven, efficient, and market-oriented.

While charities serve a meaningful purpose in our society, most charitable ventures are palliative, assuaging social problems rather than designing systems-changing initiatives that seek to address the roots of the social problem.

Why is academia important for the field of social entrepreneurship?

There are 3 clear reasons.

One, universities are the breeding grounds for future leaders, and for social entrepreneurship to have scalability and sustainability, we need to educate young people to lead the field.

Two, researchers have a birds-eye view on the top trends and patterns emerging globally; they can synthesise and disseminate learning for practitioners, policy makers, and other social innovators.

Three, by establishing social entrepreneurship as a field of scholarship, it provides legitimacy and credibility to the field as both an academic and practical discipline.

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Contact us
Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
+44 (0)1865 288838