• British Council

Effective Policymaking to Build the Impact Economy

Learn how to develop policy that supports businesses to respond to pressing challenges and create an inclusive and fair economy.

6,161 enrolled on this course

Man and woman sat chatting, with more people in the background.
  • Duration

    8 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • Digital upgrade


Discover how business models can drive positive change

Business as usual has the planet at breaking point and in the face of the climate crisis and inequality, we need to embrace the possibility of great change.

On this eight-week course, you’ll explore the role social enterprise and business plays in building a new future – one that is greener, safer, more inclusive, and connected.

You’ll understand how alternative business models can help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, address global challenges, and create an inclusive impact economy – where businesses generate profit in a manner that contributes to the public good.

Explore the importance of policymaking

Policymaking plays a crucial role in how businesses will help deliver solutions to worldwide challenges, such as inequality and the climate crisis.

Delving into case studies from around the world, you’ll assess the different policy options and tools available before exploring the advantages and disadvantages of each.

You’ll explore a range of policy areas and how they link to the Sustainable Development Goals.

With this understanding, you’ll see how policymakers support businesses to help tackle the climate emergency, and how governments can promote inclusive and sustainable business model innovation.

Explore strategy development to promote diversity and inclusion

You’ll discover how policymakers can support businesses to shift and contribute to a more inclusive economy, including addressing gender equality. You’ll also explore the ways policymakers can contribute to social finance and impact investment.

Using strategy development, you’ll finish the course empowered to take the next steps to help build an impact economy where no one gets left behind.


  • Week 1

    The challenges we face - what is the role of business as a solution?

    • Welcome

      Welcome to the course! Jakira Khanam, Director of Global Partnerships for Social Enterprise Academy will provide an overview of what to expect from this course and explain the overall structure.

    • The challenges we face

      A look at the main challenges we face around the world and the kind of future we need to build.

    • The role of business

      Why does business part of the solution to the challenges we face?

    • End of week summary

      A look back on what has been covered this week

  • Week 2

    Inclusive and sustainable business model innovation

    • Introduction

      This week covers definitions and conceptions of sustainable business model innovation aiming to give you an understanding of what is meant by terms such as social enterprise and inclusive business.

    • Inclusive business models

      Exploring different terminology and definitions, such as social enterprise and inclusive business

    • Rationale and objectives

      Sharing your learning.

    • End of week summary

      A look back at the week.

  • Week 3

    Policy Making

    • Introduction

      Our focus for this week is on the process, levers, public sector architecture and other factors relevant to policymaking in relation to these businesses.

    • The role of government

      How does government influence and shift business behaviour?

    • Legal forms and recognition

      How does laws and regulation act as a tool for policymakers?

    • Access to markets

      How can access to markets be encouraged by policy?

    • End of week summary

      What have we covered?

    • Live Session

      These sessions are a great chance to hear experts in the field and ask them questions.

  • Week 4

    Social Finance

    • Introduction

      What will we cover?

    • Accessing funding and finance

      What are the specific challenges for social businesses when accessing finance?

    • How can social businesses finance themselves?

      Moving beyond grants

    • What can government do to help?

      What role can government play in enabling financial flows to reach the impact economy?

    • End of week summary

      What did we cover?

  • Week 5


    • Introduction - The climate emergency and the role of business and government

      This module takes a deep dive into the current climate emergency, which is now widely recognised as humanity’s biggest threat, and the most complex problem humanity has ever had to face.

    • Climate: the challenge

      A look at the current climate emergency and the effects it has on our global communities.

    • Climate: the roles of business and government

      How can government policy encourage business to tackle the climate emergency?

    • Creating a climate policy

      How can we develop a policy that shifts business to act on climate change?

    • Innovative businesses leading the way

      Read more about some social enterprises working in the climate emergency space.

    • End of week summary

      A look back on what has been covered this week

  • Week 6

    Diversity and Inclusion

    • Introduction

      We will take a look at existing government policies designed to support inclusivity within business, and you will have the opportunity to build a policy suited to your own country context.

    • Diversity and inclusion: the challenge

      People around the world face diverse challenges every day. We are all different. But in our society, some people face greater challenges than others.

    • Diversity and inclusion: the role of business and the government

      Business is one of the most powerful forces worldwide, and has the potential to be the single greatest influence in improving diversity and inclusion.

    • Creating a diversity and inclusion policy

      Take the time now to design a policy that is applicable to your own context.

    • Innovative businesses leading the way

      Find out more about how social enterprise and inclusive business can play a leading role in ensuring diversity and inclusion in the workforce.

    • End of week summary

      A look back on what has been covered this week

    • Live Event

      These sessions are a great chance to hear experts in the field and ask them questions.

  • Week 7


    • Introduction

      A look at what will we cover in this module

    • Gender equality: the challenge

      Gender inequality still exists in all countries around the world. The SDGs address gender equality in 14 of the 17 agreed goals.

    • Gender equality: the role of business and government

      How can business and government solve the challenge of gender equality?

    • Creating a gender equality policy

      Designing a policy that will enable businesses to take action on a challenge relating to gender equality.

    • Innovative businesses leading the way

      Social enterprise and inclusive business is a powerful tool in supporting women’s empowerment.

    • End of week summary

      A look back on what has been covered this week

  • Week 8

    Action Planning and Next Steps

    • What's next?

      What have we covered in this course?

    • Making use of policy levers

      Policy levers can include spending programmes, tax incentives, laws and regulations, and other softer policy initiatives, such as adjustments to the education curriculum, for instance.

    • Developing national strategy

      The development of an overarching strategy to support more inclusive and sustainable enterprises in any country requires the involvement and support of a number of relevant government departments or ministries.

    • Action planning

      Reflection on and sharing our ideas with others

    • Live Event

      These sessions are a great chance to hear experts in the field and ask them questions.

    • Final test, thank you and goodbye!

      We thank you for taking the time to study this course.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the role that alternative business models can play in creating an inclusive, impact economy
  • Identify different business models for sustainability
  • Discuss case studies and examples from around the world and consider how these could apply in their context
  • Assess the policy options and tools available to build the impact economy and identify the advantages and disadvantages of each
  • Investigate a range of thematic policy areas through exploring the scale of challenges in these areas, their link to SDGs, and the role of policy for each
  • Demonstrate the most up-to-date knowledge of policies to support the development of the impact economy

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with an interest and passion for more inclusive business models and influencing policies and strategies.

You may be an emerging or senior policymaker, or you could be a student or young leader.

Who will you learn with?

I have over 20 years’ experience of supporting social enterprise and social investment internationally helping to create business solutions that create greater economic equality for people and planet

I am a Consultant on Social Enterprise at the British Council. I’m interested in developing capacity building programmes for young people.

Who developed the course?

British Council

The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language.

We work on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2019-20 we connected with 80 million people directly and with 791 million people overall, including online and through our broadcasts and publications.

What's included?

British Council are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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