Social Innovation Fellows

Do you want to:

  • Drive positive social and environmental change through business?
  • Be immersed in the role of entrepreneurship – and intrapraneurship?
  • Interact with social enterprises and nonprofit organizations to learn first-hand how individuals and companies can employ business principles to advance social, environmental, and economic prosperity?
  • Partake in a social entrepreneurship challenge with a crash course in lean startup methodology, an introduction to stakeholder theory, a blueprint project for social change, and an interactive consulting experience?
  • Travel to sites, host guest speakers and attend conferences to develop skills in the areas of sustainability, social enterprise and organizational structure, entrepreneurship, impact investing, impact measurement, and corporate social responsibility (CSR)?
  • Attend and help organize the Annual Social Enterprise Symposium on campus?

This is a highly interactive, experiential, and dynamic program. Social Innovation Fellows (SIF) will have a resume-building consulting engagement or venture experience and gain a deep understanding of how to affect issues of social and environmental importance through organizations both large and small.

David Kirsch is the faculty champion for this program.



BMGT468V (Business Models and Methods to Affect Social Change) — Fall

Explore the role of business in addressing social and environmental issues and learn concepts of entrepreneurship and intrapraneurship as effective methods of social change. Get a crash course in lean startup methodology and explore stakeholder theory and theory of change in context to social enterprise and other business models.

Work on developing a blueprint for social change and take a longer, deeper dive into a social change issue that could be related to campus, the community, a country of origin, and more. Explore topics relevant to social impact, such as authentic CSR, impact and measurement, and accountability. “In-the-field” perspectives are shared by guest speakers from organizations that may include Soap Box, Marriott, Honest Tea, Impact Business Leaders, and the World Bank Innovation Lab.

BMGT468W (Social Innovation Practicum: Consulting and Venture Creation) — Spring

Working in teams of 4 or 5, be immersed in a social issue of common concern through either consulting for a social enterprise, corporation or nonprofit organization, or by taking a blueprint project from the Fall semester to the next phase of implementation.

What SIF Students Have to Say

"I was able to be inspired by a passionate professor who through the course has helped show the "Power of One" — one person, one idea, one moment, one itch, one fleet moment of passionate work. SIF has shown me a different way of doing business. A way that delivers social impact. We have been exposed to young changemakers who are doing it currently. Delivering products that deliver a promise of change and benefit less fortunate members in our societies. I have learned that it can be very simple ... but that it also requires work, passion, commitment ... and did I say passion! Passion! Passion! Thank you, Centre for Social Value Creation and Kirsch, for ensuring this class continues for a very long time. If I had known about this class earlier, I would have taken it TWICE."

— Edmund Ottieno, 2017, Information Systems and Operations Management & Business Analytics

"I learned what it means to create a positive impact through business. A theory of change is the foundation to the process, which is as important as the final product. Through intellectually stimulating class discussions, Kirsch encouraged me to think critically about how businesses can create value by solving social problems. My favorite part of SIF was the inspirational guest speakers who shared their wisdom from their respective journeys of social entrepreneurship."

— Sarina Haryanto, 2018, Supply Chain Management

"I've learned that business has a greater purpose than to simply return a profit; it has the ability to significantly impact our society for good, and solve those issues that are otherwise unsolvable."

— Adriano Backes Pilla, 2019, Finance and Economics


SIF Program alumni work in a range of industries and organizations, and sometimes are the founders of their own enterprises. Here are just a few examples of the career connections our fellows have made:

  • Stephanie Cantor, Senior Associate, PwC, Cohort 1, BS ‘12
  • Ryan Steinbach, Marketing Manager, Impact Business Leaders, Cohort 1, BS ‘13
  • Lauren Kurtz, The Women's Lab, The Centre for Social Innovation, Cohort 2, BS ‘13
  • Evan Lutz, Founder & CEO, Hungry Harvest, Cohort 3, BS ’14
  • Kushaan Shah, Senior Consultant, IBM Global Business Services / Founder of Social Rise, Cohort 3, BS ‘14
  • Garrett Zink, Social Responsibility, Marriott International, Cohort 3, BS ‘14
  • Daniel Kaufman, Advisory Associate at Grant Thornton LLP, Cohort 4, BS '16
  • Laura Miller, Consulting Intern, RSM US LLP, Cohort 5, BS ’17


  • Be a business major. You may apply if you are in the process of applying to Smith as an internal transfer student.
  • Rising junior or senior (sophomores with advanced standing will be considered.)
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Studying abroad for a semester (fall or spring) is not encouraged (and may be a reason for not being accepted into the program)


Program applications are now closed for coursework beginning fall 2020.

Questions? Read our Fellows FAQs or contact

Robert H. Smith School of Business
Map of Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
Robert H. Smith School of Business
Van Munching Hall
College Park MD 20742