I recently participated in the European Forum Alpbach along with colleagues from the Impact Hub network. We were challenged several days with ways we could individually and collectively address the UN Sustainable Development Goals. During the forum we actively engaged in workshops to exercise some of our ideas. My take away was certainly to activate my own network upon return. Therefore, this semester in the ZSEM Entrepreneurship course, we will take up the challenge where students will create, innovate and build their own business around at least one UN SDG.
One example from the EF Alpbach, coming out of Impact Hub Zurich was Mosan - Mobile Sanitation founded by Mona Mijthab, an industrial designer based in Switzerland. She sets out with her organization to address UNSDG#6 - Clean Water and Sanitation.
|Example of the Entrepreneur Profile Assignment the Students will undertake.|
While the UN Sustainable Development Goals are not without critics (see below), they do broadly identify key societal issues that can trigger students to evaluate their own values, beliefs and priorities. As entrerpeneurs in training, students will investigate different entrepreneurs around the globe who are addressing market failures and filling needs not only wants. Last year, the students in the course focused on areas that had economic potential for the development of Croatia and this year they will be challenged to develop business opportunities with Triple Bottom Line (TBL) impact: People, Planet, Profit. Future posts on this blog will highlight some student work toward these ends.
Additional Readings for Students on UN Sustainable Development Goals (Pros-Cons)
Acharya, N. (2015). How The UN Plans To Use Innovation And Entrepreneurship For Sustainable Development. Forbes.com. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nishacharya/2015/03/07/how-the-un-plans-to-use-innovation-and-entrepreneurship-for-sustainable-development/#925c6503a3c7 [Accessed 2 Sep. 2016].
Easterly, W. (2015). The SDGs Should Stand for Senseless, Dreamy, Garbled. [online] Foreign Policy. Available at: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/28/the-sdgs-are-utopian-and-worthless-mdgs-development-rise-of-the-rest/ [Accessed 11 Sep. 2016].
Jack, A. (2015). Experts divided over value of UN sustainable development goals - FT.com. [online] Financial Times. Available at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/1ac2384c-57bf-11e5-9846-de406ccb37f2.html#axzz4JxLTET1Z [Accessed 11 Sep. 2016].
Renwick, D. (2015). Sustainable Development Goals. [online] Council on Foreign Relations. Available at: http://www.cfr.org/global-governance/sustainable-development-goals/p37051 [Accessed 11 Sep. 2016].
United Nations Sustainable Development. (2015). Sustainable development goals - United Nations. [online] Available at: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ [Accessed 11 Sep. 2016].
Links for Students on TBL focused Entrepreneurs - Social Entrepreneurs
https://www.ashoka.org/ - Ashoka Fellows - Everyone a changemaker
http://www.inspiringstories.org.nz/about/ - New Zealand Foundation seeking to help young people in their pursuit of world changing ideas.
http://www.schwabfound.org/content/what-social-entrepreneur - Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs
http://www.takepart.com/big-issues - Take Part digital lifestyle magazine
http://www.ted.com/ - TED - Technology. Entertainment. Design. Videos from conference series devoted to Ideas worth spreading.