University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

What is the Acara Social Venture Launchpad Course?

CEGE 5572 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 to take the course (i.e., students already working in a team can take the class together). The course features numerous guest lecturers, discussions and activities for the aspiring social entrepreneur.

You can learn more about this course by reviewing the January 2013 course syllabus or watching this video by Acara Co-Director, Fred Rose.

Acara Impact Entrepreneurship Header-Design Your Venture

In Social Venture Launchpad, students collaborate to develop their social business venture plans. Many participants then pursue the Acara Challenge to obtain funding to launch their ventures. 

When does the next course meet?

January 11-15, 2016, 9am-5pm each day, in the Learning and Environmental Sciences Building, Institute on the Environment, R380. This course occurs during January-term the week before spring semester begins.

How can I apply?

Students interested in this course should apply by emailing a 1-page resume and 1-page motivation essay to Acara at The essay should address your motivation for taking the course, along with describing your venture idea, where you are with developing it, and what you need to take it forward. If accepted you will receive a permission number to register via MyU. Applications are due by December 20, 2015. After December 20, course applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Seats are limited to 25. Apply soon while space remains!

Who teaches the course?

Acara Social Venture Launchpad is taught by Acara Director Fred Rose and Acara Assistant Director Brian Bell.

Fred     Brian

Fred Rose                    Brian Bell

What is Acara?

Acara is a series of courses and incubation actions to educate future leaders and develop impactful venture solutions focused on societal and environmental change in the U.S. and globally. For additional information contact Fred Rose at or see

Acara is the impact 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.