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Inclusive and Social Business Strategies: Innovation with Purpose

Summer Program

Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot
This intensive summer program is an opportunity for students to understand the reasons that prompt firms to contribute to poverty alleviation. As part of this experiential program, participants will develop innovative inclusive and social business models.

Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot


June 8 - 19, 2020.

What will the format be?

All 2020 summer programs will take place in a distance learning capacity - students should plan for remote classroom sessions between 8 am and 7 pm (CET).   All course recordings will be made available to best accommodate students in different time zones. More details regarding logistics will be provided prior to program start. 

Participants will have the opportunity to work both individually and as part of teams during the program.


  • Created and taught by leading HEC Paris Professors
  • Accessible to students (of all backgrounds) with an interest in societal issues and willing to examine the role of business in society
  • Opportunity to understand how to become an actor & a change maker/catalyst of change
  • Real-life business cases
  • Real-life experience: student group work co-creating an innovative business solution to a social issue, culminating by final student presentation
  • Exposure to new ways of thinking: Reverse Innovation, Strategic Renewal, Leadership and Innovation Management, Social Impact Assessment, etc.


If you think that the current economic model does not really need change, and that the environmental and societal challenges will be solved “one way or another”, this program is NOT for you… However, if you think that change is required, and if you want to be part of the solution, then WELCOME to this intensive 2-week program! 

We believe that the clock is ticking and that innovation is required to shift things around. We believe that firms, small and large, play a powerful role in this transformation process, and that the winners of tomorrow’s economy are the one who develop “innovation with purpose”.

This program focuses on the societal challenges; poverty remains a strong reality in the developing world, even in countries which experience high growth rates. It is also on the rise in many – if not all – developed countries. To fight poverty, philanthropic action, public authorities and international institutions have shown their limits.  In this program, participants discover how forward-looking firms develop creative market-based solutions to alleviate poverty, at times in partnership with civil society and public authorities. Participants are exposed to social enterprises with innovative business models, as well as established firms who have realized it is in their interest to develop inclusive business models. 

We believe that today you have the possibility to build the world of tomorrow!  The current COVID-19 pandemic is affecting communities and organizations on a massive scale raising huge challenges in all sectors. However major crises in the past aroused and drove innovation and entrepreneurship in ways that caused great changes to economies. Participants will address a project linked to the current COVID-19 crisis that imposes containment constraints to people and organizations alike. Participants will work in teams on the formulation of an inclusive business model to be presented at the session close.

The Summer School Program was launched by The Social Business / Entreprise and Poverty Chair, co-presided by Professor Muhammad Yunus (Founder of the Grameen Bank and Nobel Prize Recipient 2006) and Martin Hirsch (former French High Commissioner on Active Solidarity against Poverty). It is part of HEC’s Society & Organization Center, which is sponsored by forward-looking firms such as Danone, Schneider Electric, Renault, Sodexo and Veolia.



Upon successful completion of the summer program, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the set of reasons that prompt firms to contribute to poverty alleviation;
  • Describe and analyze the innovative characteristics of inclusive and social business models which firms adopt when fighting poverty;
  • Propose how firms can transform themselves when seeking to become more inclusive & sustainable;
  • Understand innovative ways to finance these initiatives and to market them;
  • Understand the pivotal role of change makers: social entrepreneurs and “intrapreneurs” inside large multinationals, both in emerging and developed countries;
  • Develop and formulate an inclusive business model based on consideration of firm resources and societal need;
  • Draw on insights from cutting-edge research on Social and Inclusive Business;
  • Deepen your thinking about the role you want to play in today’s society.



Participants will be evaluated based on the following:

  • written analysis of one business case 
  • team project on a topic linked to the current COVID-19 crisis

Successful completion of the program leads to the award of 7 ECTS credits*.

(*) All students seeking credit are encouraged to consult their home institution to validate the credit transfer.

The Inclusive and Social Business Strategies Summer  Program  was  launched in  2014 by the  HEC Paris Social Business / Enterprise and Poverty  Chair,  co-presided  by  Professor  Muhammad  Yunus  (Founder  of  the Grameen  Bank and  Nobel  Peace Prize  2006)  and  Martin  Hirsch  (former  French  High  Commissioner on Active Solidarity against Poverty). In  2017,  the  Chair  morphed  into  the  Movement  for  Social Business Impact  led  by  the  HEC Paris  Society  &  Organizations  (S&O)  Center  that  is  sponsored by  Danone, Schneider  Electric, Groupe Renault, Sodexo and Veolia.