ISB Partners with SAP to Accelerate Social Entrepreneurs in India

ISB Partners with SAP to Accelerate Social Entrepreneurs in India

The Indian School of Business (ISB) and the Indian innovation lab of German software giant SAP have partnered to nurture tech startups pushing social impact on the Indian Subcontinent – the latest global b-school initiative to boost social entrepreneurs and innovators. 

The deal highlights the lengths business schools are going to accelerate social enterprises which seek to make a measurable impact on society or the environment, not just turn a profit. 

Called ‘Jumpstart Social Enterprise Accelerator’, the program aims to identify and support 10 early-stage and five growth-stage ventures with the potential to bring about a large-scale impact on the lives of people by providing guidance and mentorship. 

Startups shortlisted based on innovation, impact, scalability

Startups in sectors such as education, healthcare, energy, agriculture, financial technology, infrastructure, water and sanitation, among others are eligible to apply. Startups will be shortlisted through a nationwide selection process based on their innovativeness, social impact and scalability. Shortlisted finalists will be invited to pitch their business plan to a panel of investors, ISB faculty, SAP employees, and staff at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ISB. 

Professor Rajendra Srivastava, dean of the b-school said: “ISB is committed to its goal of taking on a larger role of incubating and supporting entrepreneurial ideas as well as scaling up ventures that will potentially generate employment, foster economic and social progress, and create significant social value for the country.” 

“The ISB SAP Jumpstart accelerator program is one such initiative to support promising entrepreneurs in thinking big, [which will] help scale their businesses, create impact in areas of national priority, and help build a better tomorrow,” he said.

“Through this initiative, we are supporting in creating investible- and growth-oriented social enterprises which can contribute to the economic development of our country,” added Dilipkumar Khandelwal, managing director of SAP Labs India.

ISB, based in Hyderabad and Mohali, offers a range of management degree programs and is also one of the largest providers of executive education in Asia, as well as being a prolific research institution. 

B-schools focus on educating leaders who ‘do good’

Business schools have been criticized for focusing too much on shareholder value, but over the past several years they have placed more emphasis on educating or accelerating leaders who want to do good in the world as well as make money. 

Earlier this year, for example, ESADE Business School in Europe teamed up with the Ashoka Foundation, which invests in social enterprises, to promote social entrepreneurship among its students by giving them opportunities to work with the foundation through consulting projects. ESADE has also created a master’s degree in innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as the “Creapolis” innovation center near Barcelona where students can launch a new social product or service. 

MBAs pursue careers with impact

Many MBA students are pursuing careers that provide a tangible impact on the planet. Bain & Company, the management consultancy firm, polled 1,500 MBAs and more than 50% said they will prioritize impact in their careers over financial rewards.

Some are becoming social entrepreneurs. Mike Quinn, for example, became the CEO of Zoona, a mobile-money operator founded in Zambia in 2009 that processes US$200 million in transactions each year, after studying an MBA, specializing in social entrepreneurship, at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School.  

This highlights the diversity of career paths an MBA degree is now relevant to, outside of traditional jobs in investment banking or management consulting. 

Seb Murray
Written by Seb Murray

Seb is a journalist and consulting editor who has developed a successful track record writing about business, education and technology for the international press.

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