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MA Professional Practices


Pathway : Entrepreneurship for Impact

“One thing is very clear to me that with social business taking off, the world of free market capitalism will never be the same again” - Prof. Muhammad Yunus

Sabras, an impact enterprise owned by salt pan farmers in Little Rann of Kutch


Market-driven-businesses that bring together - Business Strategy, Design Thinking, Leadership, and Inclusive Ownership and Capital - can be a decisive force to bring an end to global poverty, ultimately creating a new gentler capitalism for more purposeful lives.

Business and design have devised a race to the bottom approach when it comes to the consequences of many business  and economic activities be it the impact to environment, to just and equitable society and even the institutions that are meant to provide society with strong governance.

Tony Fry refers to this as “defuturing” where the future of the human race is not assured due to climate change and social unrest, yet even in the midst of a once in a century pandemic, the rich have grown unimaginably richer.

Business and design require a structural change and among the harbingers of this change are Impact Enterprises, where business can be a force for regeneration of Environmental Social and Governance principles. More and more companies are being called to account on “ESG” audits but can business that are hard wired to be impactful, by the very virtue of their existence advance this ?

These businesses need leaders who are empathetic yet professional, caring yet focused on business sustainability and flexible and adaptable in thinking yet focused on efficiency in operations.

Through an approach that combines entrepreneurship, design thinking and social impact, the Professional Practices-Entrepreneurship for Impact program equips its students with the tools to create successful impact enterprises.

The course guides active and aspiring entrepreneurs to:

  1. Transform a business idea into a business plan with  design thinking and understanding of end customers with unique value addition for regeneration.
  2. Develop the business skills and leadership traits  necessary to lead an impact business venture
  3. Use design methods  to create compelling  solutions to social needs and aspirations.

Learning Approach

Learn - Experience - Apply – Practice: Learning in the classroom is accompanied by experiencing the learning through workshops and quick exercises and then moves too intense field based research before final iterations piloted in the field through a quick design, rapid prototype in a fail-forward through iteration model.

The toggling between classroom and enterprise in action backed by evidence through research, with mentoring allows for rapid “pilot and hone“ business model building. Peer learning opportunities are provided by the boot camps.

Modes of Learning offered by the pathway in Entrepreneurship for Impact course

The specialisation in Entrepreneurship for Impact is a full time practices based course that allows practitioners (both novice and experienced) to develop and extend their professional practice. It is offered in two modes of participation of onsite studios and tutorials with practice based research in the field.

During the 2-year program,  practitioners come for weeklong, intense, onsite (class-room based learning) leadership boot camps and then apply their newly gained knowledge and skills in their (mentor-supported) real-time projects on the field. 8 sessions of week-long leadership boot camps (studios, tutorials, seminars, workshops) in year 1 and 3 in year 2  year with 2-4 weeks of Practice based research in the field in between each leadership boot camp, in addition would be 2-4 week long interlude and a semester long capstone project in the 4th semester.

The practice based research is supported by mentorship, field assignments and assessments. The practice based research can be in the enterprise the practitioner is working in, or is building or is assigned to.

Award: On successful completion of the  2-year program candidates will be awarded the  MA  Professional Practices  Entrepreneurship for Impact Degree from MAHE.

Capability Sets

Practitioners develop the following capabilities

  1. Position oneself and one’s personal purpose within enterprise and its purpose
  2. Learn to use a variety of methods tools and processes in a way that advances the goals of the enterprise and its mission
  3. Apply this capability in real world projects in ways of designing business
  4. Steer their enterprises to make a better world and create positive impact

Learners will explore and experience

  • Business strategy powered with design thinking
  • Transformative models not the merely incremental
  • Actionable business design thinking
  • Taking the businesses from ideation to execution
  • Team work, collaboration and partnerships
  • Environmental, social, economic and cultural sustainability
  • Nurturing creativity and leadership
  • Enabling professionals to be successful social entrepreneurs

These businesses will also go a long way in fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals, meeting the SDGs.

Businesses have for the most part contributed to the “defuturing” of the planet, we are in need of business models that can “refuture” the earth for human survival in harmony with the rest of nature. Impact enterprises are one way of doing this in ways that not only minimizes harm but positively makes good, previous harm done to the environment and to communities.

Field based practice & research. Tribal enterprise member collecting leaves for “green” plate making enterprise in Odisha potential increase in income is 5X


Social Enterprises

  • Entrepreneurs with existing businesses strengthen their businesses and link up with potential investors.
  • Idea stage entrepreneurs build up concrete and viable business models that they can launch.

Corporate Entities

  • Corporate Intrapreneurs interested in the sector get to work with Impact Enterprises or NGOs.
  • Hybrid social intra-prises eg IKEA Social Entrepreneurs
  • As CSR manager in corporates

NGOs and Foundations

  • As Program managers in NGOs both national and international
  • As next level leadership in NGOs

Public Sector

  • Public sector institutions both at central and state levels that are working in development eg NRLM National Rural Livelihoods Mission and SRLMs, NSDC National Skills Development Corporation and State skills Development Missions as they increasingly look at PPP modes of functioning

Multilateral Agencies

UNDP, World Bank IFC etc have need for trained social enterprise managers for in country projects



Disciplinary Intersections

The program is informed by the following learning disciplines:

Research and Collaboration



This program is about creating social impact profitably and not about maximizing profit which mainstream entrepreneurship is largely about. The original purpose of business was always about serving society and not about just maximizing shareholder returns. 


Creative impact making is about newer ways of looking at development sector- this keeps the end-user at the centre and is sustained at every step of the way. It’s marriage between business modelling tools and design thinking with the purpose of maximising impact.



World over there is an increasing acceptance of the need for business solutions to social problems, and there is an emerging class of start-ups and enterprises  that address urgent societal problems across domains like
- Livelihoods
- Education
- Energy
- Water and sanitation
- Health
- Housing
- Financial inclusion
- Social equity

Moreover, we need more designers to think like businesspeople and vice-versa. This course is about building that capacity to design for business problems.


It’s not essential that you are already running an enterprise.  This program is a guided process of enterprise design and sustainability. It is aimed to allow an entrepreneur-aspirant to understand and apply their learning in real-life contexts and develop a business idea over the first year. Through creative experiments they design/hone their enterprise idea. 

The second year is about taking the ideas to marketplace, generating revenue, building channels for sales and scale, etc. If you are already running an enterprise this program will help you refine it and accelerate its development.


This is an action-based learning program therefore It is necessary to apply learning in a real-life situation while doing this program.


You are either working on your start up idea, running an enterprise, working for an NGO, a social venture fund, a philanthropic foundation or a corporate with interests in BOP markets or be in the CSR arm of a corporate.

We help learners be attached to one of our partner organisations to work in a real-life situation.

It is a fulltime program. However, being a Professional Practices MA, the program requires self-initiative and discipline to work independently. It has contact time interspersed with action-based research and guided mentorship. This work is carried out in the field or at your place of work.

Our courses are listed in the prospectus. We focus on issues like circular economy, business modelling, generating revenues and scaling ventures, sustainability and social inclusivity. We situate all our courses in contexts that affect the world today and also work on future scenarios.


Many corporates are interested in creating a layer of intrapreneurs who could lead and develop new products and services for underserved markets, this program will help build and validate credible and concrete business models for BOP (Bottom of Pyramid) markets.

Graduates of this program run independent businesses/ projects within larger organizations.


NGO founders can bring best practises from the for-profit sector to bear on their organisations to make them more sustainable especially in a climate where grant money is drying up and even grant making foundations are looking at returns on investment /grants through rigorous metrics and impact assessments.

We help create new channels for revenue generation, building more sustainable models for impact making.
Further next level leadership can be groomed through this program.

This program gives you an insight into how the recipients of your CSR activity function. It will help you draw up a comprehensive CSR policy for your company and create the frameworks for your company to interact and support beneficiaries.

Students will receive feedback and be assessed on assignments they complete from time to time. Their portfolio of work, participation and contribution to seminars/webinars will also be assessed. At end of the program students will submit a capstone project based on practice, research and field work, pass a viva voce and participate in a graduate conference.

Since the MA PP-EI is situated in an art and design school the course is influenced by design thinking processes. It focuses on an all-round understanding of the larger ecosystem in which the business is situated in order to creatively develop new business models considering a wide range of elements like people, skills, natural resources etc with an emphasis on sustainability. While financial sustainability is important, we also consider Environmental, Cultural and Social sustainability. The MA PP-EI program is more like a start-up incubator and is cross disciplinary. The program has a tangible output in the form of a business, policy or investment framework. Being practice based- students learn from applying knowledge into real-life situations, making it a more real non-jargon learning experience.