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  • The Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative (IEI) is a university-wide initiative that supports early-stage entrepreneurial leaders in developing the mindsets, skills, and sense of purpose needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. The initiative aims to catalyze the creation of an inclusive economy by making entrepreneurship education, resources, and networks more accessible to students from diverse backgrounds at different stages of the entrepreneurial journey. We envision a world that works for us all, in which individuals can do well by doing good, using their talents to help shape a more sustainable and equitable economy.

    Drawing on The New School's design-infused curriculum, faculty, community of mentors, seed funding, and partnerships with the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem, the IEI provides students with the support needed to transform challenges into opportunities that have economic, social, and environmental impact. Through courses, co-curricular activities, practical training, expert coaching, and funding, we encourage positive risk taking, equipping students for leadership in a range of fields requiring creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills.

    Components of the Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative

    Venture Lab

    The Venture Lab is a semester-long course designed to support graduate students and upper-level undergraduates at The New School in developing financially sustainable ventures with the potential for scalable impact.

    Graduate Fellowship

    The Graduate Fellowship is a two-year cohort-based experience designed to support high-potential leaders from diverse backgrounds committed to creating positive social impact through entrepreneurship while pursuing a participating master's degree at The New School.

    Graduate Minor in Impact Entrepreneurship

    The Graduate Minor in Impact Entrepreneurship offers master's and doctoral students across The New School an opportunity to further develop their entrepreneurial knowledge, skills, and mindsets, with an emphasis on social impact and systems change.

    Graduate Curricular Pathways

    Curricular Pathways are clusters of graduate-level courses in topics related to impact entrepreneurship that enable students at The New School to develop entrepreneurial mindsets and skills.

    How Do We Define Impact Entrepreneurship?

    The New School defines impact entrepreneurship as an innovative and financially sustainable approach to addressing an unmet social, economic, or environmental need, such as better health care, sanitation, education, and financial security. The innovation may take the form of a new product, service, technological application, or program. The enterprise, or venture, may be structured as a for-profit company, nonprofit, or cooperative enterprise. Regardless of the form it takes, the innovation must improve the quality of life of people in measurable ways and demonstrate the potential for scalable impact. To learn more about The New School’s approach to impact entrepreneurship, watch this brief video featuring interviews with panelists from the public event ”Creating an Inclusive Economy: Pathways for Impact Entrepreneurs.”

    Coaching and Advising Opportunities

    The Impact Entrepreneurship team is always eager to meet individuals and organizations that share our commitment to supporting impact-driven entrepreneurial leaders from diverse backgrounds. Mentorship and advising are a crucial component of this support. To achieve our vision of creating a more inclusive economy, where entrepreneurship education, resources, and networks are more accessible to everyone, we actively recruit mentors and advisors to support students in translating their ideas into reality, so that they can share their gifts with the world. For more information about Mentorship and Advising opportunities with our Venture Lab course, please visit this page. For more information and Mentorship opportunities with our Graduate Fellowship, please visit this page.

    Legacy of Social Innovation at The New School

    Since its inception in 1919, The New School has been at the forefront of progressive higher education, supporting individuals in challenging the status quo and advancing positive social change. It is the world’s only design-led university, with academic centers in New York City, Paris, and Mumbai, offering over 10,000 students more than 150 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs.

    The Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative (IEI) builds on the university’s rich history of educational innovation, design-based learning, and interdisciplinary collaboration, including New Challenge and Parsons ELab. Representing just one aspect of The New School's commitment to developing entrepreneurial leaders who create positive social and environmental impact, the IEI is a collaborative effort across multiple colleges encompassing numerous faculty, deans, and administrators.