New entrepreneurial businesses can provide innovative solutions to the many contemporary sustainability challenges faced by societies, and to problems emerging from crises such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, many new businesses fail because of rigid business plans that do not account for changing circumstances, or because they are based on incorrect assumptions about the business model. To succeed, sustainable business models and value propositions need to be fitted to the needs of stakeholders and the market through experimentation and iteration, based on interdisciplinary knowledge. The responsible application of scientific knowledge can provide invaluable support to this process.

This seminar will teach the concept of sustainable business models (SBMs) and their role for sustainable entrepreneurship. Additionally, students will learn how to ideate and experiment with SBMs, with a focus on the value proposition at the heart of these models. The interdisciplinary student groups will develop ideas for addressing sustainability or crisis challenges into value propositions and test these in the field. All students will need to present and discuss their ideas in class. Additionally, students need to reflect on their individual progress as well as the social, ecological, economic, and ethical implications of their work.