ESADE Business School has teamed up with the Ashoka Foundation, which invests in social enterprises, to promote social entrepreneurship among its students.
The deal is the latest example of the explosion of interest in creating startups that seek to make a positive impact on the planet, rather than just profit, at top business schools. It also highlights the diversity of career paths a business school degree can now launch, other than the traditional routes of management consulting and financial services.
Under the agreement, the two institutions will provide pro bono internships and consulting work for ESADE students, as well as scholarships and grants for Ashoka members who want to receive training at the Spanish business school. The organizations aim to foster an educational model and innovative solutions that can be implemented and disseminated for the benefit of society.
Eugenia Bieto, director general of ESADE, said: “By pooling our efforts, our two institutions can contribute to the development of society and to the well-being of people in today’s increasingly globalised world…With Ashoka, we can promote social debate, attract top talent to our classrooms and, in this way, make sure the educational experience offered by ESADE is unique, innovative and transformative.”
Maite Arango, president of Ashoka Spain, said: “This alliance with ESADE is a unique opportunity to combine social entrepreneurship with one of the world’s most important institutions in academia and the business world.”
She added: “Being able to work strategically with the faculty, students and alumni, as well as the rest of the ESADE community, is a great opportunity that will allow us to accelerate the positive change in society that we all want to see and to head off problems by providing solutions.”
ESADE has increasingly pushed into the field of social innovation, with its education model designed to encourage students to engage with social issues. It created the Master’s in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a €26,500 degree program designed for those wanting to find, launch or manage high-growth ventures. It also created the “Creapolis” innovation centre just outside Barcelona in Sant Cugat, and plans to open three more “labs” in which students can conduct feasibility studies and launch a new product or service.