About us

Our goal is to maximise the impact of social entrepreneurship to transform unjust or unsatisfactory systems or practices around the world and address critical social and environmental challenges.

We do this by:

  • developing change leaders of the future through world-class graduate education
  • delivering actionable insights through research
  • bringing together social entrepreneurs, thought leaders and key players in business, government and philanthropy to enhance social impact

Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

Female talking

Skoll was a fundamental attraction for me, I knew that I could spend two years incubating ideas that could scale for the world

Tarun Varma

1+1 Pershing Square Scholar

What we do

We foster innovative social change through world-class education, pioneering research, and collaboration among business, policy, academic, and social leaders.

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

In this section, you can read and engage with our work, as well as find out more about what we offer.

Developing talent through social impact education

Classroom in the Oxford Foundry

We provide a variety of co-curricular courses, competitions, and events aimed at providing high potential, socially-minded graduate students across the University with the support, skills, and experiences to pursue their goals.

  • Skoll Scholarship – up to five fully-funded MBA scholarships awarded to social entrepreneurs each year.
  • Map the System – a global competition that asks participants to examine the complexity of a problem they wish to solve
  • Awards and grants - funding and recognition of the impact work achieved by our students and alumni
  • Social impact programmes for students – learn more about our Social Impact Lab and our leadership development opportunities for students of Oxford

Find out more about the programmes open to you as a student:

Research and insights to advance social impact

Student in library

We work with faculty and early career researchers at Oxford Saïd and beyond to enable high-quality research that generates insights to address pressing environmental and social challenges globally. Our aim is to connect researchers with social impact practitioners, catalyse new research ideas, and communicate research findings to generate real impact.

Some of the activities to achieve this are:

Impact Finance

An area that the Skoll Centre focuses its insights on is the growing field of impact finance, led by Professor of Social Entrepreneurship, Alex Nicholls.


Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation

The Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation (CrESSI) project sought to explore the economic underpinnings of social innovation, with a focus on how policy and practice can enhance the lives of the most marginalised and disempowered citizens in society. The project began in February 2014 and concluded in January 2018.  

Catalysing deep exchange through convenings

Crowd of people in a workshop

Every year we organise a range of events seeking to catalyse 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.

Two of the main events we host each year are:


Our flagship social innovation conference for you to learn about the ‘what’s next’: the big ideas disrupting and challenging unjust systems and practices.

It brings together a community of those who are driving transformational social change, and those who want to get involved. At Emerge, you can explore new ideas, dig deeper into issues, and immerse yourself in the innovations which are redefining our world.

Skoll World Forum

The Skoll World Forum is the premier international platform for advancing entrepreneurial approaches and solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. The purpose of the event is to accelerate the impact of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs by uniting them with essential partners in a collaborative pursuit of learning, leverage, and large-scale social change.

This event is run by the Skoll Foundation. The Skoll Centre hosts the event at the Saïd Business School annually running its own events alongside it, such as lively Oxford Union debates on social impact education.

Social Entrepreneurship

Erica Mackey with Off Grid Electric, fitting a solar unit

The practice of combining opportunity, innovation, and resourcefulness to address critical social and environmental challenges.

Thoughts on social entrepreneurship

We have pulled together a mix of academic papers, blogs, and reports that help explain the terminology, add discussion and debate on social entrepreneurship, social innovation, and social impact - all written by those within our network and community.

Classroom filled with smiling students sat behind desks.

We offer unique opportunities to hear from, network, and collaborate with the world's leading experts on social entrepreneurship.

We run numerous seminars, debates, lectures, webinars, and interactive workshops during the year. Many are led by influential policymakers, business people, academics, and social innovators. All our events are open to University of Oxford students, and many open to the public. 


Skoll Centre Blog


Discover fresh thinking from the Skoll Centre's dynamic collection of bloggers on social entrepreneurship.

Here, you can find the latest stories, insights, and thought provoking ideas from the people behind the Skoll Centre and our global community of entrepreneurs. 

Keep up-to-date

We will share updates on our upcoming programmes, events and opportunities.