The oldest business school in the world partnered with the first centre in Europe exclusively dedicated to impact education in order to present a new path to train the next generation of impact entrepreneurship experts.
How does a company with a high social impact function? How are its effects on the community measured? Is it possible to design new models that are productive and ethical? The first course co-designed by Cottino Social Impact Campus and ESCP Business School - Impact Entrepreneurship, Option-E - will investigate and answer these questions.
From a common vision of the future, the need arose to combine the two schools’ vast wealth of knowledge and experience to train a new generation of impact entrepreneurship experts, who will be capable of creating value in companies while becoming agents of change, promoting sustainability that is both economic and socially conscious. "The entrepreneurial spirit is one of the core values of ESCP and as a business school, we have always cultivated this vision among our young talents,” says Turin campus Dean, Prof. Francesco Rattalino. “The new generation of entrepreneurs has understood that, in a world troubled by ever deeper crises, to achieve lasting success it is essential to make economic interest coincide with a positive impact on the environment, the territory and the community. The ability to embody this sensitivity in a business is not a new approach, but comes from afar and is the basis of the longevity of family businesses that have made the history of Europe. In fact, these companies have survived generations, wars and upheavals of all kinds because they shared some fundamental traits: they had a passion for their product while respecting the values of society.”
"The social impact is the intention, which becomes concrete and operational planning to generate positive social change,” adds Cottino Social Impact Campus CEO Laura Orestano. “The challenge we are experiencing now is to coherently aggregate, and with a world-making vision, a fragmented, sometimes polarized knowledge. This synergy has developed a unique and relevant path and experience for young entrepreneurs and future leaders, and can become part of a new social DNA, economic and cognitive. We want to bring this systemic approach to planning and generating social impact in companies through frontier knowledge, so that they are profitable and relevant for people and communities, becoming new transformative energy."
The keys to becoming an entrepreneur of the future, building a business that will make an impact on the world
The programme’s first participants will be involved in a learning journey lasting 120 hours, from January to April 2021, during which they will be provided with tools and strategies for impact entrepreneurship. Divided into four modules and delivered in English, the course is a specialisation for ESCP Master in Management (MiM) students but can be attended by students outside the business school, as well as young professionals who have graduated, from any discipline, within the last three years. They will be introduced to this new systemic approach through lectures, case studies, testimonials, group work and simulations, with the possibility of real experiential learning through on-site visits with local impact entrepreneurs and social businesses.
The methodologies that will be used to explore innovation and the entrepreneurial process in the classroom are Design Thinking and Art Thinking – which was conceptualised by ESCP professor Sylvain Bureau, who runs the school’s Jean-Baptiste Say Institute. At the same time, specific modules will deepen knowledge on impact leadership, storytelling, marketing and finance. A particular focus will be dedicated to the analysis of impact-oriented entrepreneurial challenges, from social business modelling to family business, and finally, a real “Entrepreneurial Mission” will allow students to apply what they’ve learned in the field with local entrepreneurs.
At the end of the programme, the participants will be able to demonstrate a deep understanding of impact organizations and the context in which they operate, with a critical and independent mindset. They will acquire new strategic skills for impact management, considering social and ethical issues within businesses, and learn how to make relevant decisions. “We want to offer students the opportunity to get into the mindset of entrepreneurs who want to create impact, giving life to entrepreneurial initiatives that are long-lasting and have a purpose with a long-term perspective,” concludes Jean-Baptiste Say Institute member Alisa Sydow, who is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Turin campus. “This programme is not only for entrepreneurs but is also perfect for those who want to become an innovative leader, for the successor of a family firm, or for those interested in innovation and how to turn it into impact. This is an interactive program that involves international students, professors and practitioners in the field of business and high-impact start-ups.”