Sustainable Impact Program - Pillar III: Impact Entrepreneurship
Does your business idea solve a social or ecological problem? Within the SIP, the ZHAW also supports young entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in society with their project idea.
With its Sustainable Impact Program, the ZHAW encourages its students and staff to make effective contributions to tackling local and global challenges in the field of sustainable development. In Pillar III, the SIP supports young entrepreneurship and the development of sustainable business ideas.
Does your business idea solve a social or ecological problem? In the framework of the SIP, the ZHAW also supports young entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in society with their project idea. Impact Entrepreneurship includes three opportunities: In the Sustainability Safari series, innovative start-ups present their sustainability innovations, the Sustainability Booster is about the development of independent ideas, and in the Sustainability Incubation Program, concrete start-up ideas are promoted and professionally supported.
The Sustainability Safaris include visits to impact start-ups, social enterprises, or start-up support organisations. The safari offers the opportunity to broaden one’s horizons and to network. In addition, the practical relevance is strengthened by giving the potential young entrepreneurs insights into various methods and approaches of the start-up ecosystem. The Sustainability Safari aims to inspire and motivate participants to develop and implement their own impact ideas.
The Sustainability Booster takes place in the autumn semester. Here, ZHAW students learn how to create a start-up from a sustainable idea and lead it to success - from the very beginning and with professional support. Targeted coaching and workshops facilitate access to topics such as developing business models, entrepreneurship and design thinking. The students develop solutions together in teams. Prizes are awarded for the most promising ideas and solutions. They also have the opportunity to develop them further in the incubation program.
To the Sustainability Booster
As part of the Sustainability Incubation Program, up to three promising start-up cases (impact ideas) by ZHAW students and staff are supported and comprehensively prepared for the entrepreneurial world each year. The project ideas should achieve something meaningful in society, i.e. have a positive impact. For example, the aim may be to improve the quality of life (social) or to solve environmental problems (ecological). The individual support and advice of selected young entrepreneurs by a personal coach form the basis of this programme.
Impact start-ups have big ambitions and want to tackle, for example, social problems such as poverty and inequalities or ecological problems such as climate change and environmental pollution in an entrepreneurial way. Their goal is to solve these problems sustainably and thus contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). First and foremost, they maximise social benefits rather than their own financial gain. Nevertheless, social businesses also generate revenue and operate efficiently and profitably. To implement the impact idea, impact entrepreneurs depend on money and long-term motivated employees and partners. Only in this way can the innovative ideas be anchored and thus bring about lasting good in society. The topic of "impact" has become an integral part of our everyday lives and is constantly gaining importance in society - and thus also for each and every one of us.
Impact entrepreneurship activities cannot be limited to individual sectors, disciplines, or fields. Instead, they spring from the diversity of many different areas of life. Examples are:
- Economic, regional developments
- Environment, Sustainability & Cleantech
- Education and training
- Development cooperation
- Health promotion and prevention
- Human rights
- Gender equality
- Cultural developments and projects
What we offer
- Sustainability Safari:
Visits to impact start-ups, social enterprises and support organisations create practical relevance, inspiration & networking.
- Sustainability Booster:
Students learn here how to found a start-up from a sustainable idea and lead it to success - from the very beginning and with professional support. Coaching sessions and workshops cover topics such as business model development, entrepreneurship and design thinking.
- Sustainability incubation program:
Support for up to three teams per year, start-up acceleration and support over 6 to a maximum of 12 months, coworking space: 1-4 free workstations at Runway (Technopark Winterthur), access to Innosuisse start-up courses (business creation/growth), access to the Runway community and its network, individual coaching: coach with thematic/start-up experience - personal coaching, selective expert advice from the ZHAW environment, training & workshops.
The Sustainable Impact Program is implemented as part of the ZHAW sustainability strategy. With this offer, ZHAW sustainable aims to promote excellent initiatives by its students and employees for sustainable development.