Wrestling with wicked problems? The value of business plan competitions to social entrepreneurship education

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Accepted/In press

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership
Issue number2
StateAccepted/In press - 31 May 2019


In this work we present an account of our experiences with a group of graduate students studying social entrepreneurship at Master’s level. They participated in a prominent international business plan competition which challenges students to come up with a solution to a significant real world problem. We facilitated the process of their involvement with the support of a visiting colleague to identify what the students thought was a workable solution. Our students learned about the nature, scale and complexity of so-called ‘wicked problems’ and potential solutions. We consider that practice-based co-curricular activities are not an easy option for faculty: that students need extensive support, and while they can gain significant learning from such experiences, we consider that learning outcomes are best enhanced through students working closely with those with a deep, contextualised familiarity of context in order to co-produce integrated solutions.


  • social entrepreneurship, business plan, graduate students