University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota


This two-credit course is offered each January. It is a 5 day, 8 hour a day course, the week before Spring term starts. It is taught by the Institute on the Environment (Fred Rose). The course features numerous guest lecturers, discussions and activities for the aspiring social entrepreneur.

This class is an intensive one-week course on how to turn an idea into a viable social business model. No prior experience with a business class (or even an interest in taking one) is needed. The class is geared towards a multidisciplinary audience, with a wide variety of skills and backgrounds. The goal of the class is to work on technologies or ideas that address a grand challenge in a financially self-sustaining manner. The class assumes that students have an idea (potential solution) in mind, which they will explore and develop during the class. Students are encouraged to focus on a specific community – overseas or locally. Student teams are allowed and encouraged (i.e., students already working in a team decide to take the class together).

You can learn more about this course by watching this video by Acara Co-Director, Fred Rose.

This is the January 2013 course syllabus.


Instructor permission and a short, one page, summary of why the student wants to enroll in the course, or prior completion of CE 5571. Application deadline is 6 weeks prior to the class start.

Next Course Offered:

Spring 2014 – January 13-17, 2014

Acara is a social entrepreneurship program of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment in partnership with the College of Science and Engineering and the Carlson School of Management.

September 5, 2014 :
Fall Acara Challenge course begins

September 9, 2014:
Acara Open House

October 31, 2014:
Dow SISCA Applications Due

December 4, 2014:
Dow SISCA Final Presentations