Written by Ekaterina Perfilyeva
On December 1st, CS students participated in Sustainable Entrepreneurship Day held at Aalto University for the first time. The event was organised by the Entrepreneurship unit of Aalto University School of Business together with Aalto Global Impact and Impact Iglu.
Sustainable Entrepreneurship Day marked the end of the Sustainable Entrepreneurship course offered for the first time to the master students of Creative Sustainability programme and other disciplines at Aalto University School of Business. The course introduced students to the practices of sustainable entrepreneurship and the role of business in our changing world.
All students could choose between three tracks offered within the course: consultant for sustainable venturing, sustainable entrepreneurship researcher, and sustainability oriented entrepreneur. The consultancy track focused on the current refugee crisis challenging students to come up with sustainable business solutions.
Throughout the course, students learned how to engage in sustainability practices with small-scale business, identify opportunities and develop entrepreneurship in the context of sustainability. Participants in the research track conducted an analysis of a European-wide study on sustainable enterprises. The students in the entrepreneurship track developed their business ideas further applying the lessens learnt during the course. In this context, Marta Jaakkola and Robert Nuorteva, first year CS students, presented their startup projects Arctos and WST.
The course’s consultancy track was produced together with Startup Refugees and Aalto Global Impact. The students first gained an understanding of the lives of asylum seekers by visiting the refugee communities in Helsinki and learning about their problems and needs before coming up with creative design solutions.
Sustainable Entrepreneurship Day kicked off with a workshop facilitated by Maria Ritola of Demos Helsinki. This workshop aimed at generating ideas to solve challenges refugees face in Finland with the participation of students, guests and asylum seekers. The event proceeded with sustainability startups fair and student presentations. In the end, the guests gathered for a panel discussion on potential ways of solving the refugee crisis with the means of entrepreneurship. The panel participants were the representatives of Funzi, Sitra, City of Espoo and Ministry of Employment.
In the future, Aalto University hopes to make Sustainable Entrepreneurship Day an annual tradition involving the students of Creative Sustainability programme and other disciplines to bring in sustainable perspective to current challenges in business, society and culture.