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Chair in Social Entrepreneurship

The Chair in Social Entrepreneurship, created at the end of 2016 with the hiring of Professor Filipe Santos, recognized international academic leader in this area, is a strategic bet that intends to affirm CATÓLICA-LISBON as one of the leading business schools in Europe in the areas of innovation and social entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurship - the process of developing sustainable solutions to neglected societal problems - is one of the fastest growing areas in the world, gathering particular interest from new generations who are increasingly seeking to combine business with a positive impact on society.

According to Filipe Santos, "it is now widely recognized that the promotion of social innovation is essential for the prosperity of our society and the promotion of more sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Promoting social innovation is empowering citizens to build new and effective solutions to society's problems in a decentralized way, involving social economy, business and state entities in inter-sectoral cooperation processes. This chair will develop knowledge bases and pedagogical tools that help develop a true ecosystem supporting social innovation, affirming Portugal as an attractive base for social entrepreneurs and a leading country in social innovation."

Research within the Chair focuses on the challenges of growth of impact projects and innovation in financing models, creating scientific and practical bases for a model of capitalism that promotes social impact and inclusion. The theme of intersectoral partnerships is also explored, in particular how companies can deepen their area of social innovation and how the Foundations develop social investment and philanthropic impact activities.

Filipe Santos is among the world’s most widely cited scholars in social entrepreneurship and social innovation. His Impact Bootcamps and Scaling Impact training modules have been used by more than 4000 students worldwide, and his 2013 book "The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Changing the World" was the first manual of its kind in Portuguese.

His thinking on social investment led in 2015 to the development and adoption of the "Portugal Social Innovation" public policy, now under consideration for replication by the European Commission.

A two-year overview:

In the first two years the Chair has engaged in a set of relevant international partnerships (EIB, EVPA, GSG, GSIC), developing pioneering advanced training programs worldwide and deepened the offer in courses for Católica-Lisbon students in social entrepreneurship and impact investment from Undergraduates to Executives, also contributing to the national ecosystem of social innovation and development of the Girl Move Academy.

In collaboration with the Executive Education, the Chair developed programs to train social entrepreneurs and social investors with European Investment Bank (EIB SIT Impact Bootcamp), the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA - Scaling Impact for Social Investors), and Girl Move Academy (Leadership and Social Innovation).

As a result of the great potential among the participants in the second and third SIT impact bootcamps organised in collaboration with Católica Lisbon, EIB institute hosted sessions showcasing high impact ventures at the EVPA Annual conference in Oslo in 2017 and in Warsaw in 2018 with mentoring of Professor Filipe Santos. The two showcases connected social entrepreneurs to over 100 social investors.

Strengthened ties with EVPA: Católica-Lisbon hosted in 2017 and 2018 a gathering of Corporate Foundations and heads of Sustainability - Connect for Change, to discuss how to maximize and achieve social impact with better investment strategies. 

The Chair in Social Entrepreneurship supports initiatives driven by societal concerns and the creation of positive social impact, having recently established a partnership protocol on behalf of Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics to be YourBestLife Education Partner providing knowledge and training in social innovation.