About us

We equip people to transform their communities and improve the lives of others

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

We help 1,000 people a year 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.

Our story

Check out this video from our 20th birthday party for a flavour of what SSE’s all about…

For an in-depth look at SSE’s recent work:

Our history

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 realised 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.

Founder of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Michael Young

Michael Young, founder of SSE

“Everybody has the capacity to be remarkable”

More about Michael

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. It included our current CEO, Ali Wilson – see if you can spot him below!

Ali keeps us true to Michael’s vision, while evolving SSE into an international network for positive change.

The first ever cohort of SSE students in Bethnal Green with Michael Young

The first ever cohort of SSE students with founder Michael Young in 1997 – including Ali Wilson, who is now CEO

Our beliefs

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

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.

Our values are integrity + inclusivity + empowerment.

Our commitment to diversity & inclusion

Logo for the EW inclusive cultures pledge

The School for Social Entrepreneurs has signed up to the EW Inclusive Culture Pledge 2020, for the third year running, because we are committed to improving the diversity of our organisation and building inclusive cultures.



Read more on why we care about diversity and inclusion: