The Chair in Social Entrepreneurship, created at the end of 2015 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 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.
In 2017, Santos’s Chair developed new programs to train social entrepreneurs and social investors with European Investment Bank, the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), and Girl Move Foundation. A session in Oslo connected social entrepreneurs to over 100 social investors. The Chair hosted in 2017 a gathering of Corporate Foundations and heads of Sustainability - Connect for Change - to discuss how to achieve social impact.