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Event Review: The Summer School for Social Innovators

The Competence Center for Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship and Intel® Corporation successfully co-hosted their first "Summer School for Social Innovators"

Eskinder Mamo, a student at the technical University of Berlin, wants to improve the educational situation in his home country of Ethopia with an educational App. Alexander Barclay, a student from the University of St. Gallen, came up with an idea for a platform, which connects artists from developing countries with buyers from developed countries. Both these ideas for social innovations, as well as 19 others, were developed during an intense, one-week-program conducted under the academic leadership of Prof. Dr. Peter Russo and Dr. Susan Mueller from the Competence Center for Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (SISE).

The Summer School, which took place from July 23 to 27, was geared toward students from all over Europe who were both intrigued by the potential impact social innovations can have on society and by the opportunity to improve upon their own ideas. Application requirements for the program included a motivation letter and a short description of an idea for a social innovation. Based on these, 25 European students were invited to participate in the program.

The program was designed as a “fast-track incubator”: Learning sessions allowed participants to acquire the necessary theoretical background. Idea improvement sessions and feedback from experienced coaches allowed the participants to transform their ideas into well-designed concepts. Also, two social innovators, Stephan de la Peña from Transfair and Christina Veldhoen from ROCK YOUR LIFE!, shared their practical experiences with the students.

Among the final presentations given on the last day of the Summer School, the international jury was most persuaded by those of Eskinder and Alexander. They were each granted a “wildcard” for participation in the finals of the Intel® Business Challenge Europe 2012 in Sopot/Poland. In organizing the first Summer School for Social Innovators, SISE and Intel® Corporation have taken on an active role in educating tomorrow's social innovators.

 

13 Sep 2012