Past Event

Building Blocks Social Entrepreneurship Workshop for High School Students

November 2, 2020 - December 7, 2020
4:00 PM
Online event


The course is designed to give high school students an introduction to social entrepreneurship and their power to create innovative solutions for their local and global communities.


The course includes lectures about how entrepreneurship is changing the world, how students can be a part of that change, and meetings with successful entrepreneurs sharing their lessons as master innovators. The course encourages students to put their skills to the test by working in teams to design ventures and present them at the conclusion of the program.

Students are asked to bring their ideas, energy, questions, and to get ready for a jam-packed week of engaging with talented youth from across Nairobi all interested in making the world a better place.


In our interconnected and rapidly advancing society, innovation and entrepreneurship are becoming increasingly important. Building Blocks seeks to respond to these new dynamics by inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. Specifically, Building Blocks looks to collaborate with Columbia Global Center | Nairobi to introduce high school students to social entrepreneurship.

During the 5-6 Week workshop, students will:

  1. Apply an entrepreneurial way of thinking to yield social impact
  2. Become familiar with the commonly used business model canvas and funding terms
  3. Explore facets of ecopreneurship in conversation with UN Sustainable Development Goals
  4. Speak to founders about their entrepreneurial journeys
  5. Design their own ventures and present their pitches


Curriculum Topics

Week 1: Entrepreneurial Thinking - What is social entrepreneurship? Who is an entrepreneur? What problems exist and how can entrepreneurship be used to solve these problems?

Week 2: Business Model Canvas & Funding Strategies - What are the core elements of a successful startup? How does one understand what a business does and how it makes money?

Week 3: Ideation - Where do new venture ideas come from? How do founders tackle major social problems? How can one improve society with a sustainable and/or profitable business model?

Week 4: Pitch Writing & Making - What is the role of storytelling in the venturing process? How do I tell a good story? What does it mean to have a good story?

Week 5: Pitch Practices & Competition - Final touches on your presentation and perfecting your pitches! What are the key takeaways from the course? How does this all fit together?



Current and former members of the Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs (CORE) will lead curriculum development and course facilitation, with the possibility of additional student founders who are experienced in social entrepreneurship.

Some Facilitator Profiles (among others):

Irene Koo

Irene (Heejin) Koo is a recent graduate of Columbia University, with coursework in economics and computer science. She was introduced to entrepreneurship and founded a startup in high school, which inspired her to co-design this curriculum. Teaching social entrepreneurship for the third year, Irene has taught in New York City, Amman, and Istanbul, in one-day conferences, weeks-long courses, and workshops abroad. At Columbia, she served as the 2018-2019 president of CORE, published research with the Columbia Earth Institute, and worked with accelerators and startups. Upon graduation, Irene will be working as a product manager. She plays racquetball and enjoys raising awareness about Korean culture in her free time.

Justice Betty

Justice Betty is the curriculum co-designer and has delivered the course content to students in the United States and Jordan. On-campus, Justice was VP of CORE. Justice graduated from Columbia as valedictorian with two bachelor’s degrees as part of the Dual BA Program between Columbia and Sciences Po Paris.  Following graduation, Justice joined a management consulting firm, where alongside client work, she invests her time in gender equality and diversity initiatives.


Intended Audience

The intended audience for this workshop is approximately twenty high school students from Nairobi, Kenya who are interested in learning more about social entrepreneurship.


Course Format

Our workshop will incorporate both online and offline learning and collaboration, reflective of industry discussions of “future of work.” Our workshop will incorporate flipped teaching, with recordings of course content and online sessions. Prior to online sessions, instructors will provide students with taped and published course content through a private classroom portal.

Online sessions will consist of activities, brainstorming, and collaboration exercises to add dimension to students’ understanding and engagement. For the duration of the workshop, there will be two hours of online sessions on each day. Instructors will provide regular office hours,   chats with guest speakers on ecopreneurship, and feedback on students’  work.  To check students’ understanding and mastery of the material, there will be short assignments and quizzes, and every student will present their idea through a pitch deck to a wider audience.


Required Resources

Students are required to have;

  • A well-working laptop with internet connectivity
  • Good command in English and fluency
  • Can commit 2 hours per day for 5 to 6 Weeks.