The VUB Chair of Social Entrepreneurship and our CSL practices.
The VUB launched in 2015 the VUB Chair of Social Entrepreneurship within the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences and the Solvay Business School, in which Prof. dr Nikolay Dentchev is appointed as Chair. The chair is currently founded by BNP Paribas Fortis, Close the Gap and Euroclear.
The main objective of this chair is to bring together both academia and business, NGO’s and public organizations in search of sustainable business models of social entrepreneurship. Our mission is to become a center of excellence for social entrepreneurship in Belgium and abroad. We want to support social entrepreneurs in their ambition to develop entrepreneurial and innovative approaches for resolving the sustainability issues of our society. We would like to realize this by developing an interdisciplinary network.
The Chair currently has 4 fulltime Ph.D. students at VUB:
• Drs. Philippe Eiselein (Belgium) is developing his research on Business models on Social Entrepreneurship.
• Drs. Abel Diaz (Colombia): is developing his research on Networks in support of Social Entrepreneurs.
• Dra. Claudia Alba (Bolivia): Joined the team in December 2018. Her research focuses on International support for enterprises at the bottom of the pyramid.
• Drs. Jason Roncancio (Colombia): Joined the team in December 2019. His research is on entrepreneurship and innovation.
In May 2017, we launched our flagship program to support social entrepreneurs: the VUB Social Entrepreneurship Platform. This is a free online tool that enables crowdsourcing and crowdfunding and allows social entrepreneurs to present their projects including their business plan, financial goals, and operational objectives.
The platform makes it for social entrepreneurs easier to communicate, network, find missing competencies, and attract people willing to help. So far, we have 43 projects in the platform and we are constantly publishing more. We have been working closely to create a network in support of social entrepreneurs.
The Chair actively seeks to involve university critical masses to be engaged in the resolution of the most pressing societal challenge. We lead annually a large event, the Social Entrepreneurship Fair, in which more than 50 projects are presented (poster session) together with keynote speakers with inspirational talks. This fair receives the visit of more than 550 participants a year. A big portion of the 50+ poster presentations is coming from the students of some of the courses from Prof. Dentchev (Entrepreneurship, Introduction to Business). These courses have a compulsory assignment based on experiential learning. Students are required to select a case (social enterprise, social project, an organization supporting social enterprise) and analyse their current situation, shortcomings and needs of support. During the course, they need to propose a concrete plan for their case, to provide a hands-on contribution. The results of their projects are presented during the fair. Students can select projects from the VUB Social Entrepreneurship Platform as their case study. This increases the interaction between the critical masses, provide extra feedback to their ideas and need and gives the opportunity to be supported critically to further develop their initiative.