WHEN: Spring 2017, Teaching period IV
TEACHERS: Ass. Prof. Ewald Kibler & Post-Doc Steffen Farny
PARTNERS: City of Helsinki, The Shortcut, Impact Iglu
“The course focuses on the promise of entrepreneurship to play a key role in the transformation towards a more sustainable economy and society.” [My Courses]
Sustainable Entrepreneurship is a CS elective course from the School of Business. The course is tailored to suit students with various interests, and so they have an opportunity to choose one of the following tracks: Consultant for Sustainable Venturing, Sustainable Entrepreneurship Researcher or Sustainability-oriented Entrepreneur. The results of the course are presented in the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Day (SED), which is the final session of the course and open to the public.
This year, the main topics of SED were Asylum Seekers and Helsinki 2030. The day started with a workshop, which was led by Ville Luukanen from Impact Iglu. The workshop yielded ideas for sustainable Helsinki 2030, which were discussed at the end of the day in the panel discussion with candidates in Helsinki Municipal Elections 2017. However, most of day was reserved for the students’ presentations on the projects they have worked on during the course.
“The event provides a great opportunity for Aalto students’ projects to generate an impact on how Greater Helsinki is moving forward. For instance, the students’ consultancy track projects focus on the organization of social integration of asylum-seekers, and their projects will serve as information base for the City of Helsinki to prepare their Future Strategy Report for 2018-2021.” Ewald Kibler
CS Students’ experiences:
In the beginning of the course there was a girl who was shy, but at the end she was pitching an idea at the mall
The quote above is a response to a question about the overall experience of the course that was discussed at the end of the SED. Earlier that day, all these students had been on the stage to pitch their ideas to the audience that included stakeholders from asylum seekers to policy makers, and students, teachers and others. The presentations were very impressing and discussions with the students revealed how the course guided their ideas to turn into real projects. One of the key things that came up in the discussion was the importance of working with real clients and experiencing the field work. Especially work with refugees was described as “cool”. Furthermore, a number of refugees participated to SED to listen and comment on the students’ ideas.
You can pitch the idea and let it grow
This was a comment on the course from another CS student. The Sustainable Entrepreneurship course is experienced as a great course for those who are interested in learning about entrepreneurship. The students described how the course taught them to come up with ideas quickly and how to bring the ideas into action. For some, this course was an opportunity to continue ideas created in the How to Change the World course. Personal feedback throughout the course supported the learning process and the projects. For a CS student, the course did not teach anything new about sustainability, but instead, it offered examples and inspiration on how to apply sustainability to entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the students suggested that the participants of the course should already have a basic understanding of sustainability prior to attending.
Sustainable Entrepreneurship Day was experienced as a great way to share projects and ideas with others. A group that pitched an idea about importing Finnish education to Mexico, to support Mexican teachers’ education, had an opportunity to see what SED could be at its best. While they were pitching their idea, there was a policy-maker in the audience who is moving to Mexico, and she was convinced by the idea and willing to take it forward.
Photographs of SED: [CS Flickr]