Social Entrepreneurship Education
Track B, Session 3 chaired by Roman H. Mesicek
Doing the right things now
Entrepreneurship by students no more only happens among universities’ front runners. Environments enabling students and experts exchange of knowledge becomes significant within todays student’s community. Roman H. Mesicek, co-chair of the Responsible Management Education Conference 2016, led the discussion among four representatives of entrepreneurial student organisations or projects with the overall intention to encourage a broad community to get active and have a social impact on the environment.
Tobias Viere, sustainability representative at the Pforzheim University in Baden-Württemberg, Germany introduced “The Pforzheim HOTSPOT concept — Teaching and Learning in a Social Context”. HOTSPOT was founded 2016 with the main purpose to develop interdisciplinary structures and frames for social entrepreneurship for the Schools of the University of Applied Sciences Pforzheim, including Design, Engineering and Business. HOTSPOT breaks conventional lecture-oriented teaching methods and increases students motivation and competencies by involving external partners and examination to work on real situations and solutions in an inter- or transdisciplinary context. Issues such as sustainable development, globalisation, digitalisation, industry 4.0, integration of migrants and the future of traditional industries are implemented as to be significant for social entrepreneurship today. Students participating in HOTSPOT not only profit from seminars, workshops and consulting by the team of HOTSPOT but as well from experience on solving real-life problems. Tobias Viere argued that he is very confident that the project will last beyond the pilot phase and faces the next challenge to realise an integration of the project into the three schools curricular.
The student’s innovation centre [sic!] of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) Vienna pursues a similar vision: Boosting changemakers. Laura Hohoff, student at BOKU and one of 19 members of [sic!], introduced the problem at which sic starts: students often face the issue of having great ideas or wanting to participate in a more sustainable world but don’t know where to go, how to implement their ideas or how to become active. [sic!] motivates and inspires students to develop social-ecological ideas and empowers to find their path to participate in a sustainable development. [sic!] provides infrastructure to meet up for free and work on ideas. Students can benefit from a network of professional support, workshops with different professors and coaches and support in different questions they struggle with. [sic!] as well consults existing start-ups and projects on how they can make their ideas more sustainable. The success of the initiative, which started only in January 2016, is tremendous with reaching over 900 people in only ten months. The members of [sic!] all participate on a voluntary basis, which is totally accepted according to Laura Hohoff: “We got a lot of benefits by the student’s innovation centre, it is a learning-by-doing process for ourselves too.” The initiative student’s innovation centre won the Social Impact Award already within its first year of existing.
Bistra Kumbaroska represented the Social Impact Award Austria/Eastern Europe by the Impact Hub which annually awards the best social start-ups. The Impact Hub is a global network with more than 15.000 members in more than 60 countries worldwide, offering resources, inspiration and collaboration opportunities for social entrepreneurship. At the Impact Hub Vienna hosted by the Vienna University of Economics and Business programs are offered for social entrepreneurs on every stage, a one-year incubator program is held and even financial support is given annually to the best start-ups. Besides raising awareness about social entrepreneurship the Impact Hub offers education, community, support, access to mentors, financial grants and plenty of workshops, innovative games, pitch training always adapting the tools and formats of the young community. The steady growth of all indicators such as the number of workshops, participants and applications reflects the overall importance and demand of a platform and environment such as the Impact Hub offers. Bistra Kumbaroska argued that for sure many of all their participants in the end probably won’t found their own business, but anyway, entrepreneurial spirit is needed in existing companies too and therefore the experience is profitable any way.
Differing from the informal student’s organisation, the university-based network organisation “The Social Entrepreneurship Academy Munich” with regard to social entrepreneurship was founded in 2014 in Germany. Kristina Notz, representative from The Social Entrepreneurship Academy, argued the organization to be a key player in the educational system in Germany today. The Academy is an organisation of the four Universities of Munich giving students support needed from every stage by offering several programs including many different formats for social entrepreneurship education. The three pillars served are qualification, coaching and network. With locations in four European countries, the Social Entrepreneurship Academy is hosting the Global Entrepreneurship Summer School focusing on one specific challenge each year. So far already 95 social start-ups got supported and 25.700 participants took part in the programs of the Social Entrepreneurship Academy Munich, waiting for many more to come.