The Tamer Institute for Social Enterprise and Climate Change at Columbia University educates the next generation of leaders to use business knowledge, entrepreneurial skills, and management tools to address social and environmental challenges. The institute supports the creation and communication of new ideas by providing curricular and extracurricular opportunities for students in four key areas of focus: sustainability and the environment, international development, public and nonprofit management, and social entrepreneurship. The institute’s goal is to be the preeminent generator of leadership and ideas in the world of social enterprise and climate change.

A decade ago, social enterprise was composed of a small collection of like-minded students. Today, it represents a dominant force not only at Columbia Business School but throughout Columbia University and New York City.

The institute offers a wide range of opportunities for students and alumni to explore and connect with local and international organizations. Initiatives are listed below.

  • The curriculum provides more than 25 MBA/EMBA courses related to social enterprise, such as those on impact investing, philanthropy, business and society, and social ventures. Tamer Institute Executive Education delivers custom and open enrollment programs for businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit professionals — not only in New York City, but also nationally and internationally.
  • The Loan Assistance Program encourages MBAs to pursue climate and social impact careers with management and leadership positions in the public and nonprofit sectors, and with social ventures, by alleviating the financial burden of education loans.
  • The Nonprofit Board Leadership Program (NBLP) provides an opportunity for students to simultaneously conduct a pro bono consulting project for a nonprofit organization, while also serving as a board observer. Alumni can find board service and volunteer opportunities at our annual Nonprofit Board Showcase.
  • The Pangea Advisors is a pro bono international development consulting initiative where student teams spend an academic semester working on consulting projects with organizations focused on international development and emerging markets.
  • The Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program provides financial support to Columbia University undergraduate and graduate students engaged in summer internships that create social and environmental value.
  • The Tamer Fund for Social Ventures provides seed grants to nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid early-stage Columbia University-affiliated social and environmental ventures. This funding is made available to seven ventures each year.

Newer initiatives are listed below.

  • The Capital for Good Program & Podcast explores the sources and uses of capital to solve social and environmental challenges. Students and alumni are able to leverage our local and international connections to explore the intersection of finance and social enterprise with courses, experiential learning opportunities, conferences, and more.
  • The Business and Climate Change Initiative uses markets and business skills to identify and implement solutions to mitigate, adapt to, or reverse climate change and its impacts on society globally. The annual Climate Business & Investment Conference is jointly hosted with The Climate School.
  • The Climate Knowledge Initiative provides business leaders with the curated, actionable knowledge needed to pick investable and scalable green technologies, while unapologetically flagging areas where business and public interests diverge.
  • The Climate Practitioners Network helps alumni leaders leading the race to net zero stay connected to each other and to the latest innovations and talent at CBS, and to leverage and amplify the collective climate impact of this growing network.
  • The Open Climate Curriculum facilitates sharing of curricular resources and course development insights among business schools to accelerate the teaching of business and climate change.
  • The Inclusive Entrepreneurship Initiative, creates venture ecosystems within local communities through bridging social, digital, and economic divides.
  • The ReEntry Acceleration Program (REAP) trains MBA students to teach business courses to incarcerated individuals, develops tools for potential employers, and creates forums for new relationships to shape a solutions-focused dialog around post-incarceration employment.
  • Justice Through Code (JTC) focuses on career-track tech employment for formerly incarcerated individuals.​ This is a joint initiative between the institute and Columbia University’s Center for Justice.
  • Startup Works encourages justice involved people to build inclusive teams and develop an idea into a working prototype for a startup. This workshop series provides entrepreneurial skills and nurtures leadership in people with criminal records to interrupt the cycle of poverty and recidivism.

More information about past events and honorees can be found below.

2023 Awards Breakfast

Honoring S. Mona Sinha ’93

2019 Awards Breakfast

Honoring The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation and Robert Frost ’97

2018 Awards Breakfast

Honoring Paul B. Guenther ’64

2017 Awards Breakfast

Honoring Jon Friedland ’97 and Shaiza Rizavi ’96

2016 Awards Breakfast

Honoring Russell ’67, Judith, Cecily, Edward, and Madeline Carson