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Master's programs

Inclusive & Social Business Certificate

Inclusive & Social Business Certificate

The certificate is an annual 6-week full-time program open to a selection of HEC students, but also to managers, visiting professors, and young alumni from other schools and universities. It usually starts at the end of April and ends the beginning of June.


This idea for the Inclusive & Social Business Certificate was born out of the perception of a threefold challenge…

  • Growing inequalities and lasting forms of poverty and exclusion
  • Increasing power of business firms vis-à-vis national governments
  • Growing “meaning crisis” in the world of work

…and a threefold conviction

  • Market-based initiatives, developed by firms together with civil society organizations and public actors, can bring solutions to unsolved problems.
  • These initiatives are not only socially meaningful but can also represent important opportunities for businesses: to explore untapped markets, gain access to new resources, motivate their employees, and innovate.
  • Social issues need to be understood and tackled in all their complexity.

Missions and objectives of the program

The aim of this Certificate is to inspire and train a new generation of managers, aware of societal challenges, and aspiring to be part of the solution, regardless of their professional activity.

The objectives of the program are to help students:

  • Develop an in-depth understanding of specific social issues and reflect on the role that firms can play in society to address them
  • Explore new economic models in both developed and developing countries
  • Investigate new co-creation systems involving businesses, civil society, public authorities, academics, etc..
  • Critically analyze firms’ attempts to develop inclusive business models, to understand key pitfalls and success factors
  • Develop a good knowledge of specific tools and methods such as Social Impact Assessment, Behavioral Economics in Action, and to understand under which conditions they could be used
  • See how they can concretely combine and reconcile a search for meaning and social impact with a business activity
HEC Paris S&O


The Society & Organizations Institute is an interdisciplinary Institute at HEC Paris that brings together over 50 professors and educators. Together, they carry out research, teach, and implement ideas to organize and lead our responses to the daunting challenges of our time. These contemporary challenges include climatic constraints, social inequality, loss of purpose, technological disruption, epidemics, social contestation, ethical imperatives, and liberalization and regulation. 

Today, S&O research, teaching, and actions to contribute to a more inclusive economy, where businesses seek to maximize their social impact together with their economic performance, are supported by the following sponsors:

Inclusive & Social Business Certificate - Logos Inclusive Economy


The Certificate consists of two distinct components. Students complete an in class “theoretical” module that explores Inclusive & Social Business themes and studies business involvement in the fight against poverty. This complements all students' main fields of study. The second module is "in the field" , with students taking part in a business, social integration structure, or social entrepreneurship project involved in fighting poverty.


This part is divided into “courses” and “tracks”. Each course/track involves lectures, readings, cases, conferences, both at HEC and in situ of some social organizations.

Courses :

  • Multinationals & Low-income communities
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Finance & Social Innovation
  • Two tracks :
    • « Access to .. » sessions designed to analyze actual inclusive business models developed in key “access” areas such as energy, mobility, food, or health
    • « Methods & Tools » sessions such as social impact assessment and behavioral economics
  • The Immersion week:

The objective is for participants to immerse themselves in the field of poverty alleviation by spending 3 to 4 days with social entrepreneurs and social organizations. The idea is both to spend time co-working in the field and to meet managers who are helping alleviate poverty. Such an immersion is meaningful and full of learning potential. It consistently makes an impact on participants’ lives.

  • The Fieldwork:

The Fieldwork is an integral part of the Certificate. Participants are expected to work on a “field project” throughout the six-week-program with five days earmarked so that participants have time in the field. They can either design a social business model to tackle a specific social issue, or they can choose to do an Individual Project—individually or in small groups—as some participants may already have a social business project they would like to develop.

Here are some of the 2021 partners: ARES Ateliers Sans Frontières , ANDES- Potager de Marianne, Emmaüs Défi , Extramuros, Jardin de Cocagne de Limon, Association La Mie de pain, Association La Cloche, Lemon Tri, Rebond Insertion, La Gerbe - Les Mureaux, ENVIE Trappes, Farinez-vous, Equalis, TAE - ATD Quart Monde, APTE, CEDRE, Tricycle environnement et les Jardins d'Auteuil 

Immersion Logos 2021


Faculty and Experts:

  • Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot, Affiliate Professor of Strategy & Business Policy, Executive Director of the Society & Organizations (S&O) Center
  • Jacques Berger, Director of Action Tank “Entreprise & Pauvreté”
  • Jean-Marc Guesné, former Head of Ashoka France, Partner at Archipel & Co 
  • Adrien Baudet (H.2013), Ph.D, Partner and Director of KOREIS, a social impact research and consulting firm
  • Olivier Kayser, Founder and CEO of Hystra consulting firm
  • Alice Magand, Consultant in Inclusive Business, Strategy Consultant at Hystra
  • Rachel Maignan, Investment manager, Agence Française du Développement (AFD)
  • David Menascé, Founding managing Partner, Archipel & Co consulting firm specialized in BoP strategies
  • Laurence Moret, External Communication, Institutional Partnerships and Documentary Director, Crédit Coopératif
  • Charles-Edouard Vincent, CEO and Founder of Lulu dans ma rue and Founder of Emmaüs Défi
  • Patricia Thornton, Visiting Distinguished Professor at HEC Paris (2019-2020), Author, Professor of Sociology and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University

And other inspiring people:

  • Emmanuel Faber, former Chairman and CEO of Danone
  • Martin Hirsch, former High Commissioner for Active Solidarities and High Commissioner for Youth in the French government (2007-2010), now Head of the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris
  • Professor Muhammad Yunus, Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, economist and civil society leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2006

Student's story

Master's programs

Collins Kimaro

Having recently launched a social enterprise in Tanzania, the Inclusive and Social Business Certificate has been a great learning experience so far! It has provided research-based insights and practical...

Master's programs

Ester Galende Sanchez

The Social Business Certificate has allowed me to delve deeper into issues of poverty and inequality, and how global issues can be tackled from a business perspective, through startups, multinationals...

Society & Organizations Institute

Adolfo Diaz Valdez

Adolfo Diaz Valdez is a 2015 graduate of the Master in Sustainability and Social Innovation and the Inclusive and Social Business Certificate from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He launched the first Social...


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