Minor New economic thinking & social entrepreneurship

Broadening minor
Minor hoort bij de opleiding


In this minor, we focus on understanding why and how transformative business models emerge and how students can contribute by developing business models themselves. The aim of this course is to explore new economic futures by critically engaging with innovative entrepreneurs and following academic debates around economic transition.

Even though more and more companies acknowledge their responsibility to contribute to global issues like climate change, poverty and resource scarcity, they often struggle to develop new business models and value propositions that help to guide and accelerate transitions to a sustainable economy and society. Examples are new business models based on circular/sharing economy, social entrepreneurship or impact investment. To embody this mindset and further empower you, the minor is linked to BlueCity010, a hub for new entrepreneurship which includes ‘Aloha’, ‘Rotterzwam’ and ‘Fruitleather’.

Learning objectives

• Develop knowledge and new perspectives on the (potential) role of business in society;
• Develop an understanding of the complex nature of our socio-economic challenges and societal transitions;
• Communicate and reflect on theories and empirical research on new business models;
• Understand methods to measure and manage the value proposition of impact;
• Conduct an empirical study on the role of business in society by developing a business proposition.

Special aspects

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. 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

Overview modules

Module 1: Perspective on new economies, transitions and governance challenges

  • Code:
  • ECTS: 4
  • Content: In this module, the students will familiarize themselves with recent theories and insights from economics, impact and transitions research. Lectures will offer basic concepts and ideas to introduce the debate around sustainability and economic development. The challenge of economic transitions and sustainability will be linked to discussions around alternative value models and propositions as well as to challenges of governance and government. This module will put emphasis on the academic debate and students will need to engage in critical reviews of existing literature as well as to collectively reflect, with lecturers, upon recent events such as the economic crisis, the Paris Climate agreement and political disruptions. The specific characteristics, challenges and opportunities of impact investing will be outlined and the students will be introduced to BlueCity010 and the Social Entrepreneurs they will cooperate with.
  • Teaching method: Lectures/Seminars, individual and group assignments, debates.
  • Teaching materials: Reader: the scholarly articles + videos can be downloaded through the university library, internet or will be handed out in class.
  • Contact hours: 4 – 8 hours per week.
  • Self study: 20 – 26 hours per week.

Module 2: New business models and value propositions

  • Code:
  • ECTS: 8
  • Content: This module will focus on the characteristics of and theories on new business models by presenting theories as well as concrete examples. Lectures are included on how to understand and analyze new business models, what drives the entrepreneurs and what can be done to stimulate their growth. This includes how they are financed, managed, marketed and scaled. Many of those new business models strive to reduce or even solve various social dilemmas, yet surprisingly little is known about the actual success of such new business models in creating social impact and we have only a fragmented understanding of the processes through which entrepreneurs may help produce social change and at the same time create economic wealth. You will be introduced to the world of new value propositions, true value accounting and social impact thinking and get familiar with different ways to account for the effects, value and impact of new business models.
    During this module you will work with an entrepreneur and help him to overcome financial, marketing or business proposition challenges. We will organize a Dragons Dens, a half-day event, organized at Blue City010 where you will pitch your ideas and suggestions to the entrepreneurs and other representatives from business and policy.
  • Teaching method: Lectures/Seminars, individual and group assignments, group coaching and debates.
  • Teaching materials: Reader: the scholarly articles + videos can be downloaded through the university library, internet or will be handed out in class.
  • Contact hours: 6 – 10 hours per week.
  • Self study: 18 – 24 hours per week.

Module 3: Development of a theoretical or empirical business proposition

  • Code:
  • ECTS: 3
  • Content: In this final module, you will identify an individual challenge in the new economy. You will focus on the role of business in society, try to understand why and how transformative business models emerge and can contribute by enlarging their impact or even by developing transformative business models themselves.
  • Teaching method: Individual mentoring on your paper assignment.
  • Teaching materials: Guidelines for assignment.
  • Contact hours: 2 – 4 hours per week.
  • Self study: 20 – 28 hours per week.

Overview content per week

Module 1

Week 1

Introduction Minor

Transition thinking

Week 2

The role of Business in Society
Introduction BlueCity and Pitches

First meeting with the enterprise you will work with

Week 3New Perspectives on transitions
From Macro to micro level

 Module 2

Week 3

Sustainable Development Goals
Social Enterprises + modeling canvas

Week 4

From Purpose to Impact
The Value Accounting

Week 5

Circular Economy
Business models in the food system

Week 6

New financing models
Investors perspective and debate

Week 7

Road to next economy
Transitions in the Port of Rotterdam

Week 8

Behavioural economics
Pilot Pitches

 Module 3

Week 9

Individual sessions
Open Office Hours

Week 10

Open Office Hours
Dragons Den + Drinks


Method of examination
Module 1 and 2 will be graded based on class preparation, class participation, individual and group assignments, pitches, presentations and debates.

Module 3 will be graded based on an individual assignment

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 in the course manual. An average grade of 5.5 is sufficient to pass the minor.

Feedback on the group work (assignments, preparation, participation and debates) will be provided in class and at the end of each module. Feedback on the individual assignments over the weeks will be graded within one week and individual feedback will be provided. Feedback on the paper (module 3) will be provided at the end of the minor. Students can always make an appointment with the lecturers to receive extra or specific feedback.

Contact information

Dr. Karen Maas
(010) 4081363
room: M05-31

Faculty website
Erasmus School of Economics 
Impact Centtre Erasmus 

Broadening minor
Minor hoort bij de opleiding
Erasmus School of Economics
Studiepunten (ECTS)
Campus Woudestein, Rotterdam


Please read the application procedure for more information.