About us

We help people transform their lives and the lives of people in their communities.


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About Us

We can’t fix issues like poverty, climate change and ill-health alone. That’s why the School for Social Entrepreneurs exists.

We help people develop the skills, strengths and networks they need to tackle society’s biggest problems. We run courses that equip people to start, scale and strengthen organisations that make a positive difference. But we’re not a traditional school. Learning with SSE is inspiring, action-based and accessible. We support people in other ways too, such as funding and mentoring.

Lord Michael Young founded SSE in 1997, and we’ve grown to a network of schools across the UK, Canada and India.

Together, we’re changing lives and transforming communities.


Why Was SSE Founded?

Pretty much everyone sees the world’s problems and wishes things were different. And a whole lot of us have creative ideas for solutions. Sadly, most of us never bring our ideas to life, believing that “fixing the world is a job for someone better than me.”

But what if there were a place that could bring community dreamers together—and with just a little nudging and support—help them discover their talents and skills to make their breakthrough ideas a reality?

It all started with a man called Michael Young. Michael was a serial social entrepreneur, author and sociologist. He founded dozens of organisations, including the Consumers’ Association and the Open University.

Michael realized that he could multiply his impact by equipping the next generation of social entrepreneurs to start and grow organisations that make a positive difference in the world.

In 1997, Michael brought together a group of 24 people who wanted to learn from him. This first SSE cohort ran from Bethnal Green in East London and included our current CEO, Ali Wilson.


The School for Social Entrepreneurs Canada

SSE came to Canada in 2012, making it one of the newest members of a thriving international network of SSE schools worldwide. The head of SSE Canada, Chryssa Koulis, was in the first cohort, along with 20 other aspiring social entrepreneurs.

Using an alternative classroom format honed over 20+ years, SSE helps students connect deeply to themselves and others, and to unlearn false beliefs that have prevented them from following their dreams. Read some of our testimonials here.

We prioritize students’ individual growth within the context of their projects, and connect them to a network of mentors, experts, accomplished entrepreneurs, and social investors.

Based on the journeys of thousands of SSE fellows worldwide, we know that when everyday people rise to the challenges of our day, they transform the communities around them.

As SSE develops in Canada, we will continue unleashing tremendous people power for a more beautiful world today.


Our Beliefs:

Our vision is of a fair and equal society where the potential of all people is fully realised.

Our values are integrity + inclusivity + empowerment.

Our mission is to mobilise the experience of people from all backgrounds, and support them to use entrepreneurial approaches to create lasting social and environmental change.


SSE was founded in Canada by a collaborative steering committee of SiG@MaRS, ACCESS Community Capital Fund, Housing Services Corporation, and the Toronto Centre for Community Learning and Development.

Today, SSE is a project on MakeWay’s shared platform, which provides operational supports, governance, and charitable expertise for changemakers. The shared platform enables more time and money to go towards achieving greater impact. MakeWay is a national charity that builds partnerships and solutions to help nature and communities thrive together.

SSE is committed to principles of dignity, independence, integration, and equal opportunity. For more information please see MakeWay’s Accessibility Policy and Plan.