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Social Action Models of Teaching & Learning for Social Enterprise Dev.

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To explore the relationship between social enterprise and social change; T&L in different contexts; look at social enterprise education.

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Learning Objectives

  • Explore the relationship between social enterprise and social change
  • Identify and discuss implications for teaching and learning in different contexts
  • Examine opportunities for social enterprise education

Dr. Sheila Cannon:

Assistant Professor in Social Entrepreneurship at Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin. She is Associate Director of the Global Business undergraduate degree programme, and the Director of Engagement at the Trinity Centre for Social Innovation.

Her doctoral research, "Surviving the Peace: Processes of organisational identity work in response to deinstitutionalisation of Irish Peacebuilding," which she completed at Trinity College Dublin (2014) received the 2015 Rudney Memorial Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Nonprofit and Voluntary Research. She conducts research on and teaches about the third sector, including social enterprises, nonprofits, and civil society organisations. Her research contributes to knowledge on how organisations influence and respond to socio-cultural change. She has studied contexts including peacebuilding, LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, digital disruption, just transition, and sustainability. She publishes in peer-reviewed academic journals as well as in popular outlets like The Conversation and Newsweek. Sheila teaches social entrepreneurship to undergraduates and MBA students through engaged learner-centred and applied approaches. She supervises student research at master’s and doctoral levels.


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Topic: Processes and tools for learning about social entrepreneurship

In this short talk I will present three different process models to illustrate different approaches to teaching and learning social entrepreneurship. Each process model corresponds with a different set of tools that can be used in social purpose organising. The first one is a commercial linear approach that involves applying entrepreneurial tools to a social context. The second approach is a more complex nonprofit model of understanding the process of social entrepreneurship. The third approach is a model for understanding social change. Reviewing these three models helps understand different roles for and approaches to social entrepreneurship: social business, commercialised nonprofit, and system change. Teaching and learning about SE in business schools tends to focus on the first commercial approach, and sometimes the second, non-profit approach. The third approach, social change, is more often found in departments of political science, international relations, and public administration.

Rosemary Kunene

Rosemary is a Community activist and a social entrepreneur.

She is involved in a number of social integration initiatives in Co. Laois. Passionate about community empowerment for the marginalised groups of people in particular refugees and international protection applicants. She completed a BA degree in Applied Addiction Studies and Community Development, while living in Direct Provision. She is the joint chair of Laois Integration Network, board member of Places of Sanctuary Ireland, member of Social Entrepreneurs Republic of Ireland (SERI) advisory group and represents migrants at Laois County Council Covid-19 response forum. The lack of support in self employment for refugees and people living in Direct Provision motivated her to establish Dignity Partnership, a social enterprise that promotes integration of migrants and refugees through self-employment and entrepreneurial skills development. At present, studying MSc. in Cooperatives & Social Enterprise with University College of Cork.


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A social enterprise learning journey

The social change Rosemary wished to contribute to.

How she accessed structured supports and education or training, and how these have or have not contributed to her successes?

Challenges in her journey, barriers to participation in the social economy

Advice for educators, programme designers and policy makers seeking to support people trying to solve complex social issues especially those they experience themselves?

Suzie Cahn M.Sc.

Suzie is the Social Enterprise Officer and Community Educator in the Higher Education team at An Cosán.

Suzie has 25 years’ experience as regenerative educator and programme designer at all levels of education, and expertise in education for sustainable development and social enterprise in Ireland. Responsible for HE modules Level 6-8 in Social Enterprise, Community Development and Leadership. She has a deep commitment to community led social change and climate justice through the creation of local livelihoods. Suzie co-founded a social enterprise called Carraig Dulra and has served as informal advisor and formal member for a diverse range of social enterprises and charities. ShuttleKnit Traveller GIY Waterford, VOICE Ireland CREATE (formerly CAFÉ) and WWOOF Ireland

Suzie’s background was in art therapy as one of Irelands first art therapists and holds an MSc in art therapy from the College New Rochelle, N.Y. Suzie co-founded IACAT and has developed educational inputs in several university-based programmes including Crawford CIT, and the Irish Hospice Foundation.


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New international frameworks from SDGs to EU Green deal are attempting to reorient to a “farthest behind first” approach. What does this mean in the context of teaching and learning for social change and social enterprise development in Ireland?

In this seminar I will present considerations of a community and value-led social action approach to teaching and learning social enterprise development. I will outline some of the polarized approaches that are influenced by the structural positions of those designing and resourcing them. These will include discussion of what other theorists have defined as: compensatory versus transformative, elite versus slum, “heropreneurship” versus apprenticing to learn from those experiencing a social issue. I will outline some of the insights gained from HE pilot programme work at An Cosán, with its collaborative partner ITCarlow. An Cosán’s vision is to give access to education at all levels to learners from the most marginalized groups in Ireland and “empower through education.”

Seminar coordinated by Teaching & Learning Centre, Institute of Technology Carlow and An Cosán. Funded by the National Forum for Teaching & Learning.

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