A new seminar generated high interest: How students learned about social innovation and social entrepreneurship

What exactly is social entrepreneurship? How can social innovation be defined? What conclusions can be drawn out of successful cases? Prof. Butkeviciene and a dozen international students tried to find answers – a short review.

The Institute for Research on Management of Associations, Foundations and Co-operatives, short VMI, maintains research collaborations with the Baltic States for more than 20 years. Its founder, Prof. Blümle, initiated this exchange which is still being upheld via the Ernst-Bernd Blümle foundation.

It is in this context that Prof. Butkeviciene from the Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania visited the VMI and the University of Fribourg to hold a seminar about “Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship” on the 7th and 8th of April 2014.

Since this topic is very popular within the media, the business and the academic world, it is not surprising that a dozen students from many different nationalities (Argentina, Germany, Italy, India, Ukraine, USA and Switzerland) participated in the seminar.

new seminar generatedDuring two intensive days, the group discussed the complexity of definitions of social innovation and social entrepreneurship as well as their relevance to different social and policy fields. After having studied theoretical frameworks to approach the concepts, the students analyzed different case studies in small groups and presented them to each other. Critical discussions summed up the very interactive course.

The VMI conducts interdisciplinary research, teaching and consulting in the field of Nonprofit-Management. A recent research topic is the analysis of innovation drivers in NPO.
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