Housed under the University of Texas at Austin's undergraduate Student Government, the SELL Fellowship Program will give students of the university a first-class introduction to social entrepreneurship and innovation.


Of all the world’s influential universities, The University of Texas at Austin is an entrepreneurship powerhouse. Yet, even as the University continues to advertise the motto, “What Starts Here Changes the World”, students often struggle in executing actionable steps to go about enacting that type of societal change. 

In a time where both businesses and organizations of all sizes are pushing for social responsibility practices and objectives, Texas’s “University of the First Class” has yet to make its mark.


The goal of the Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab (SELL) is to bring together students from all backgrounds to create meaningful solutions to age-old programs.

Cohorts of SELL Fellows will meet on a weekly basis to better understand difficult societal crises in an immersive manner. At its end, participants of the fellowship will be able to think critically about social issues as well as understand the process of creating impact.


The SELL Fellowship Program consists of a 6-part program of 3-hour workshop sessions where students are equipped, step-by-step, with a social entrepreneur's essential toolbox. To accomplish this, the program will use various education elements in order to have students LEARN, THINK and ACT on social entrepreneurship. Various levels of outside participation is expected from program elements. However, the goal is that no week should exceed more than 2-3 hours of outside preparation time on behalf of the student fellow participants.

What is social entrepreneurship?

Answering historical problems with modern solutions.
Social entrepreneurship differs from “traditional” entrepreneurship in the use of innovative “lean” techniques by organizations and entrepreneurs to develop, fund and solve difficult social, cultural, or environmental issues.

While models of social entrepreneurship vary, it is generally clear that most social enterprises fall somewhere between a traditional non-profit and a modern corporation.


  • Why do social business models work?
  • How social enterprises operate differently?
  • What is a social problem worth solving?
  • How is technology repurposed for social enterprises?
  • How to find and leverage a community?
  • How does social impact investing work?
  • How can we measure the success of a social enterprise?
  • How do we communicate with investors and stakeholders?
  • What happens when social enterprises fail?
  • How to find a social entrepreneur co-founder?


How is the SELL Fellowship different from other entrepreneurship programs?

SELL focuses exclusively on the social entrepreneur and challenges specific to building positive and effective social impact in communities that are not typical markets. The learning lab is also different in its combined approach of solutions engineering, unlike the typical individual or duo nature of entrepreneurship.

Why is SELL perfect for the University of Texas at Austin?

It has become abundantly clear over the last few years that student demand for social impact education has skyrocketed at UT Austin. From the various social responsibility and innovation courses popping up in many colleges to the new Social Innovation Initiative at the McCombs School of Business and naming of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, it is obvious that the SELL Fellowship is a product of the campus.

Why is SELL perfect for the City of Austin?

The City of Austin has become a hub for impact investing over the past few years. Investors focused on both profit and purpose have helped create “project accelerators” that serve as launch pads for social enterprise. Facilitators such as Capital Factory, Enable Impact, UnLtd USA, and others have become the fuel behind dozens entrepreneurial and philanthropic minded businesses. 

I haven't heard of SELL before. Is this program new?

Yes! The SELL Fellowship Program is the first of its kind. We are confident that it is the only student-specific social impact learning lab in both the school and perhaps the country.

What are some examples of social enterprises?

  • Teach For America (TFA): Founded in 1989, TFA’s goal is to eliminate educational inequality in the United States. Since its founding, TFA has placed more than 24,000 high achieving college graduates in some of America’s neediest schools by building a cadre of young and enthusiastic classroom teachers that enact change both inside and outside of the classroom!
  • Grameen Bank – Created by Nobel Prize winner Mohammed Yunus, Grameen Bank reverses conventional bank practices by creating a system based on trust, accountability, and participation rather than collateral and risk. The bank gives small loans to the poorest citizens of Bangladesh entirely based on solidarity. Since its founding the bank has empowered more 8 million borrowers who repay their loans at a rate of 97%. This microfinance enterprise is slowly revolutionizing the solution to extreme poverty.
  • Seventh Generation – Seventh Generation specializes in the creation of household cleaning, paper, and personal care products that are environmentally safe and sustainable. The company, recently acquired by Unilever, has received countless awards and commendations for its sustainable products and its transparent business practices that have set it apart from traditional “organic” retailers.


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