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Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Social Entrepreneurship major prepares students to launch new socially-minded companies, enter the free market, build sustainable solutions to social problems and contribute to jobs creation. The Social Entrepreneurship major differs from the Entrepreneurship major in that it focuses on the importance of positively impacting society as a whole. It stresses entrepreneurship as a way to not only achieve personal success, but to give back to others by creating innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems. The major strives to inspire students to use their ambition and passion to develop new ideas to evoke wide-scale change for major social issues. A such, it is a major ideally suited for Lenoir-Rhyne’s significant attention and devotion to service to the world around us.

Student growth progresses with comprehensive courses that focus on developing skills and broadening understanding of social entrepreneurship including non-profit public relations, entrepreneurship for social change, social problems, and community studies. The coursework is designed to reinforce skill sets in marketing, accounting, sales, leadership, and perhaps most importantly — creativity and social awareness.

The major is supported by the Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship (CCSE). Our goal through the CCSE is to prepare students to change the world one idea at a time by creating an innovative culture, surrounding them with an ecosystem of talent and resources, and ensuring each student finishes our program with the critical thinking skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives. The Center includes the Innov828 Business Incubator program incubator and access to subject matter experts.The incubator serves as a vast resource for the area’s budding entrepreneurs, providing step by step instructions for the complete development of a product or service. From legal assistance and patents to mentorships and funding, the CCSE aims to support entrepreneurs in their establishment of innovative, profitable as well as charitable businesses.

Qualified Social Entrepreneurship students interested in continuing their Business and/or Entrepreneurship education through graduate study can easily matriculate into Lenoir-Rhyne’s Master of Business Administration program. Through LR’s innovative Bridges to Dreams and Alumni Advantage programs, students who complete their undergraduate degrees at Lenoir-Rhyne University are able to complete their graduate degrees in shorter time and at significantly less expense (up to nearly half off the standard MBA degree at LR).



The entrepreneurship major requires completion of an internship allowing students to gain firsthand experience working alongside seasoned professionals in a business environment. Through the CCSE, students can also network with professionals who can serve as mentors, sharing their vast experience as entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Each year LRU hosts Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), an annual, international initiative aimed to inspire and recognize entrepreneurs. It is the largest celebration recognizing those who invent products and create new companies and start-up businesses, as well as those who use their business to create a social change. The event features speakers, workshops, roundtable discussions, and presentations all focusing on the impact of commercial, social, and industrial aspects of entrepreneurship. Faculty members from multiple disciplines, international partners, local and regional entrepreneurs, as well as LRU business students participate in the event.


It is our goal to help our students become not just successful social entrepreneurs who can establish sustainable initiatives and organizations that impact our economy and create jobs, but to also be successful people in a dynamic and ever-changing world. Career options for students include not only building and running their own commercial or non-profit organization but also being a valuable member of an existing company. Our students learn the critical thinking and leadership skills that the world's top employers are seeking. Whether it is envisioning and building their own new ventures or helping to build value in an existing company, our students are prepared with the self-confidence and abilities to enter the marketplace and to be successful in building a better world. Students with a strong commitment to service will be especially drawn to the career opportunities available to the Social Entrepreneurship major.


Social Entrepreneurship Major Requirements

Program Contact

Dr. Ralph Griffith

Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship
Hickory Campus