Jean-Baptiste Say Institute for Entrepreneurship Annual Report 2020




    Dear Reader,

    Welcome to the first ever Annual Report of the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute for Entrepreneurship at ESCP Business School! I am honoured and delighted to share what we have been working on during the wild ride of 2020.

    As some of you may still know, our entrepreneurship institute was developed in Paris back in 2007 as the ChairEEEE. Today, we are spread across ESCP’s unique European network, with representations in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris and Turin. Our mission is to facilitate the development of entrepreneurial mindsets and uncertainty competence in current and future leaders around the world.

    As a Pan-European institute, 2020 has brought us even closer in the face of the pandemic. We cooperated on many cross-campus initiatives and co-hosted a number of events that were fueled by digital and hybrid teaching methods. Coming together in virtual spaces turned out to be our way to grapple with the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic. We strive to keep this momentum going in 2021 and beyond.

    Take a look at what kept us busy in 2020, and reach out to share how you are doing these days. We want to share your stories with the community – and I am sure there is more we can help with!

    All the best,

    René Mauer Professor
    European Coordinator of the Say Institute & Academic Director EMDIEL

    New Sponsors and Partners


    In 2020, the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute was happy to announce several new sponsors and partners. We are deeply grateful for their support.

    German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy and the European Social Fund

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
    European Union

    As part of the funding measure EXIST-Potentiale, the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute is in receipt of financial support from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the European Social Fund (ESF) since July 2020. With this project, we will set up an internationalization school, host country-specific ecosystem events, and support founders with coworking and office spaces as well as consulting. Moreover, we will create an internationalization network with other leading universities. The aim is to further develop the Blue Factory in terms of supporting startups in their internationalization efforts.

    Learn more



    Manutan is the European leader in B2B e-commerce specialised in distributing products and equipment for enterprises and local authorities. In January 2020, Manutan and the ESCP Foundation concluded a sponsorship agreement in order to support our Design Thinking course, which is one of over 100 courses offered in the Master in Management programme. In 2020, a record number of 82 students were enrolled.

    Learn more

    Cottino Social Impact Campus

    ESCP Business School and Cottino Social Impact Campus co-designed Option-E in Turin over the course of 2020. The specialization has a special focus on impact entrepreneurship . Cottino Social Impact Campus is the first centre in Europe dedicated to impact education.

    Learn more

    United Nations Environment Programme and Sustainable Natives

    Since 2020, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Sustainable Natives are strategic partners of the M.Sc. in Sustainability Entrepreneurship & Innovation. The partnerships will translate concepts like circularity as well as sustainable consumption into business models that provide more viable, attractive and sustainable choices for people. 

    Learn more

    Call for sponsors and partners

    Work with us as sponsor or partner! Some benefits:

    1. Join the European academic reference for entrepreneurship.
    2. Hire entrepreneurial talents.
    3. Co-create visible expertise in entrepreneurship.
    4. Reinforce your brand awareness in terms of entrepreneurship.
    5. Develop your business with fast-growth companies and promising entrepreneurs.

    Would you like to know more? Get in touch!


    René Mauer
    European Coordinator of the Say Institute & Academic Director EMDIEL


    Davide Sola
    London Coordinator of the Say Institute & Academic Director Option-E London


    Lola Herrero
    Associate Professor
    Madrid Coordinator of the Say Institute & Academic Director Option-E Madrid


    Martin Kupp
    Associate Professor
    Paris Coordinator of the Say Institute, Head of Executive Education & Academic Director Option-E Paris


    Alisa Sydow
    Assistant Professor
    Turin Coordinator of the Say Institute & Academic Director Option-E Turin



    2020 has pushed all sorts of buttons around the globe and in everybody individually. For us as the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute and within ESCP, the biggest challenge, struggle and opportunity lay in teaching entrepreneurship online, in hybrid settings as well as with physical distancing.

    Online and hybrid teaching

    In particular, we would like to highlight the outcomes of our Art Thinking class Improbable – a workshop that is usually very hands-on and an intense interpersonal experience. Please follow us to our virtual galleries, where you can still see the outcomes of our Paris, Madrid and Berlin groups. Most of the pieces explore the post-Covid future.

    Benjamin Voyer's studio in London for ESCP webinars
    Benjamin Voyer’s online teaching studio in London.

    New programmes and courses

    Advanced Management Course in Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship 

    The Advanced Management Course in Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship is a module in ESCP’s Master in Management on Paris and Turin Campus. While taking the course, students in Turin turn into intrapreneurs of by following the “Business Innovation LAB”, which is a competition between student groups. Afterwards, the winners will get a meet & greet with top managers of Facile. Moreover, some sessions are designed and taught together with Cariplo Factory, which is specialized in training corporate entrepreneurship.

    Option-E Turin: Impact Entrepreneurship

    Option-E is the entrepreneurship specialization of ESCP’s Master in Management programme. Since January 2021,  it is also offered on the Turin campus, where we put a special emphasis on impact entrepreneurship. The programme will train students to become experts in impact entrepreneurship, as they will be able to create long-lasting and purposeful new businesses.

    Learn more


    The entrepreneurial leadership programme U-SCHOOL has been redesigned! Now, it is driven by solving real-world problems. The four modules of U-School are FROM STRENGTHS TO NEEDS, FROM NEEDS TO SOLUTIONS, FROM SOLUTIONS TO ACTION and FROM ACTION TO REFLECTION. The programme targets participants from across Europe with diverse educational backgrounds.

    Learn more


    2020 was a successful year for ESCP when it comes to rankings. For example, ESCP Business School is ranked 8th in the Financial Times European Business Schools report and was listed as one of 30 business schools worldwide in the first ever Positive Impact Rating for Business Schools. Moreover, we are proud to announce that the Mastère Spécialisé® Innover et Entreprendre (MSIE) was ranked first in France and sixteenth in the world among MBAs, Master’s degrees, Master’s degrees and specialised Mastères degree  in entrepreneurship.


    The M.Sc. in Sustainability Entrepreneurship & Innovation has been successfully accredited by the accreditation agency ACQUIN from 1 May 2020 until 30 April 2028. In this way, the programme proved that it meets high educational standards.

    Learn more

    Incubation: Blue Factory


    In 2020, we were able to recruit a lot of new motivated people for the vision and mission of the Blue Factory (see Team Introductions and Updates). Together, we were able to move a lot of our offers online, create engaging events (see Visibility) and support new startups. Here, we highlight key developments in our 3 incubation programmes:


    Covid-19 asked us to rethink the delivery of our START programme. Hence, 10 projects joined on Paris Campus and 35 projects online. The Blue Factory START online programme brought together aspiring entrepreneurs from France, Germany, the US, India, UK, Spain as well as all over the world. The projects are led by ESCP students and alumni who are at the idea and prototype stage. They participate in workshops and co-development to make concrete progress with the support of a community of mutual aid and experts. 


    We welcomed 6 startups into our 2020-21 SEED cohort in Paris, three of them co-accompanied by our partner Malakoff Humanis. Since then, Time2start, CB+, May, KODS and Toodey are benefitting from coaching, group workshops, access to the Blue Factory ecosystem and shared premises. 

    In Berlin, we were able to support a new EXIST startup: The founding team now receives a scholarship that is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the European Social Fund (ESF). is a provider of a platform solution for the construction industry, with which construction projects are mapped digitally and without interfaces. 


    For SCALE, we have designed a new startup partnership offer in 2020. It applies to startups that are already startup partners, but moreover, we are reaching out to new startups who want to join our community. Further developing SCALE is mainly driven by EXIST-Potentiale and enlarging our efforts in internationalizing startups.



    In 2020, our professors and other researchers have worked on a variety of exciting projects. Please find them here:


    November 21, 2023

    Driven by emotions: The moderating effect of socioemotional wealth dimensions on the link between entrepreneurial orientation and innovation performance in family firmsRead More

    October 25, 2023

    Revisiting the knowledge spillover paradox: the impact of infrastructureRead More

    October 24, 2023

    Forschung muss Teil der Lösung sein!Read More

    Authors: SECKLER, C Publications Outlet: DIE ZEIT
    View More


    Firstly, René Mauer co-edited a special issue in Small Business Economics. The title is “Effectuation and entrepreneurship theory: How effectuation relates to other concepts, models, and theories within entrepreneurship”. The special issue is composed out of 12 distinctive works, which show that effectuation has something new to offer to important and current issues in management, such as uncertainty, co-creation, resources, goals, and control.

    Learn more

    Secondly, Florian Lüdeke-Freund co-edited a special issue in Business & Society on “Collaborative Cross-Sector Business Models for Sustainability”. Its five pieces offer new perspectives on the intersections of business model innovation, sustainability as well as cross-sector collaboration. Moreover, Florian co-edited a special issue in the Journal of Business Models.

    Learn more

    ESCP Impact Papers

    In May 2020, ESCP published the very first series of impact papers on “Managing a Post-Covid19 Era”. It provides interpretations of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on European business and society. Thus, ESCP stimulates creative ideas and innovative perspectives that could inspire our many stakeholders.

    Professors and researchers of the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute have contributed 6 engaging pieces:

    • “What behavioural science can tell us about human behaviour in the wake of a pandemic?” by Benjamin Voyer
    • “Building uncertainty competence: applying the entrepreneurial method” by Martin Kupp and René Mauer
    • “Unlocking sustainable business model innovation for a post-crisis economy” by Florian Lüdeke-Freund and Tobias Froese
    • “Strategic agility in a time of crisis” by Jérôme Couturier and Davide Sola
    • “Digital transformation as the key to revival after the pandemic” by Terence Tse
    • “Two-sides of the same coin: why entrepreneurs can transform the crisis into business opportunities to create more impactful and long-lasting ventures” by Alisa Sydow and Francesco Rattalino

    Learn more and access here


    Sylvain Bureau

    Sylvain spent his sabbatical on three activities: 

    1. Writing his book “Art Thinking”.
    2. Teaching Art Thinking to Option-E and EMDIEL students in Paris, Berlin, and Madrid.
    3. Further developing three research papers related to subversive practices in entrepreneurship with Sara Biglieri and Maxime Massey from ESCP Business School as well as Antoni Olive-Tomas from IQS Universitat Ramon Llull.

    Other Research Highlights

    Design Science

    In September 2020, members of the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute and other entrepreneurship researchers inaugurated the Center for Design Science in Entrepreneurship (DS:E) at ESCP. In doing so, they believe that design science enables entrepreneurship scholars to combine cutting-edge research with real-world impact. With this impetus, Christoph Seckler was invited to a virtual panel at the G-Forum Conference 2020. He was joined by Dimo Dimov, Henrik Berglund, Jan vom Brocke as well as Orestis Terzidis. They discussed how design science is a great path ahead to make our research and teaching more relevant for practitioners and students.

    Learn more

    Research Meetup Oxford

    In February 2020, prior to the Covid outbreak in Europe, some of our researchers and teachers had the pleasure to travel to Oxford. Over there, they met up with representatives from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and the Entrepreneurship Centre at Oxford Saïd to discuss start-up support, current research projects – and of course Harry Potter film sets.



    How do you stay connected with the outside world when #StayHome is the motto of the moment? 2020 has been the year of virtual events. We hosted a number of them, but also collected interesting stories, contributed to the new ESCP medium The Choice and were featured in the press. Here you’ll find some highlights of our year “out there”. 


    Entrepreneurship Festival

    One of our major events each year is the Entrepreneurship Festival – one day in November where we celebrate entrepreneurship across our campuses. The festival consists of panels, talks and workshops. This year, not only did we go digital, we merged five festivals into two and, for the first time, granted the Alumni Startup Award.

    Learn more

    Ecosystem Weeks

    Similarly, a key component of Option-E in Berlin, Madrid and Paris is a discovery trip to a startup ecosystem such as San Francisco. In 2020, the programme managers from Madrid and Paris chose to pivot due to the pandemic and look within. They enabled their students to really get to know their local ecosystems and created the “Ecosystem Week”. 

    Learn more

    Option-E Demo Day

    At the end of Option-E, our students present their entrepreneurial projects to the outside world on a “Demo Day”. In 2020, we used the rise of digital collaboration as an opportunity and made it European! During the Option-E Demo Day European Final, the 7 best teams from Berlin, Madrid and Paris competed in two categories: Best Pitch and Investment Readiness. 

    Learn more

    Team Matching event with Berlin Universities

    In October 2020, we organized a joint Team Matching Event with ESCP Business School Berlin Campus, Technische Universität Berlin and Freie Universität Berlin. Almost 100 students joined and eagerly got in touch with start-ups such as Staiy and for jobs, internships or as co-founders. Thanks for coming!

    Say Stories

    In 2020, we had the pleasure of portraying 3 groundbreaking entrepreneurs from our ecosystem. More stories to come.

    But first, meet Jo Bautista, an MSEI student who is inspiring global connection with #SendToGive. We also introduce you to Ludovico Durante, who finished his Bachelor in Management and is now enrolled in the MSEI. With friends from his bachelor programme, he founded Staiy, a business driving sustainable fashion. Moreover, we connect you with Hillary Klassen, who is an alumna of the EMDIEL and the founder of bestselfy. She aims at improving human interaction and workplaces with the help of technology.

    Learn more

    The Choice

    The Choice is ESCP’s new medium, which was launched in November 2020. It collects ideas, their knowledge, and everything that makes people from the ESCP community have an impact beyond their school or company.

    For example, check out these inspiring articles from Jean-Baptiste Say Institute members and students:

    In the Press

    Team Introductions and Updates


    Our team has grown significantly this year. Mainly, this is due to Jean-Baptiste Say Institute coming to ESCP Turin campus this year and new projects such as EXIST- Potentiale.


    Our local team in Berlin is striving for three main things: teaching excellence, supporting ventures to become sustainable “green unicorns”, as well as A-level research publications. If the state of the pandemic and the weather allows, our Berlin team enjoys hanging out in beer gardens around Tiergarten. A fitting occasion was for example to welcome these wonderful additions to the team:

    Ronja Kirschning

    Ronja has joined our Berlin team as PhD Student and Research Assistant. She is working as Programme Manager for Blue Factory as part of the EXIST-Potentiale project. She holds a Bachelor in International Business from Maastricht University and a Master in International Management & Design Innovation from the University of Glasgow. Ronja has already gained startup and consulting experience at companies such as EY and Berenberg.

    Cynthia Klauth

    Like Ronja, Cynthia has joined our team in Berlin this year as PhD Student and Research Assistant for Blue Factory, as part of the EXIST-Potentiale project. She holds a Bachelor in Event Management from the School of Business and Management, Bad Honnef and a Master in Management Studies from Stockholm University. Before joining our team, she worked in executive education and career development at ESCP Business School in Berlin. 

    Alison Masse

    Alison is the Programme Manager of the MBA in International Management at ESCP Business School. Recently, she has joined the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute as the new Programme Manager of  U-SCHOOL. Before joining ESCP she worked for One Planet Only in Berlin and co-founded Russie Autrement, a tourist agency based in Russia.

    Sönke Mestwerdt

    Sönke also joined us in Berlin this year as PhD Student and Research Assistant as part of the EXIST-Potentiale project. He is also working as Programme Manager for Blue Factory and for example, is in charge of startup partnerships. Sönke holds a Bachelor in International Management from the International School of Management in Hamburg and a Master in International Business & Entrepreneurship from the University of Glasgow. He has already gained practical experience in consulting and business development.

    Miriam Pirolo

    Miriam has joined our Berlin team as the Communications and Marketing Manager of MBA, Executive MBA and Executive Master Programmes. Previously, she worked in the Marketing Department of ESCP in Berlin but is now even closer to the programmes and all activities and events surrounding them.

    Agnieszka Wosek

    Agnieszka rejoined our team in Berlin after finishing her Master’s degree and is now the project manager of Blue Factory in Berlin and EXIST-Potentiale. She holds a Bachelor in Quantitative Methods in Economics and Information Systems from the Warsaw School of Economics and a Master in Innovation Management, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability from the Technical University of Berlin. Before, she has gained practical work experience at Microsoft, Technical University of Berlin and has supported our institute as a student assistant.


    The Jean-Baptiste Say Institute in London is largely made up of three professors: Benjamin Voyer, Davide Sola, and since 2020 also Terence Tse. Their entrepreneurship teaching is focused on tech and scale-ups. While Ben was planning his pandemic escape to New Zealand, Davide shared that his “most successful start-up was Turin campus”, whereas “there is no fun fact” about Terence… We are not so sure about that, but will let you judge for yourself:

    Terence Tse

    Terence is professor of Entrepreneurship at ESCP Business School. In 2020, he joined the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute. He earned his doctorate degree from the University of Cambridge and has worked for EY, Schroders, Citibank, Lazard Brothers and many others. Aside from lecturing at ESCP, he also holds the role of Co-Chair for the startup Lab of the French Chamber of Great Britain. Moreover, he is a co-founder and Executive Director of Nexus FrontierTech, a London-based scale‑up specialising in modernising data-intensive processes. Furthermore, Terence is a Research Associate at the University College London Centre for Blockchain Technologies.


    Our local Jean-Baptiste Say Institute team in Madrid – Lola Herrero, Niko Muñoz, Natalia Andia and Andrés Chamarro – do not only love the Spanish sun, but also social entrepreneurship and sustainable tourism. Since 2012, they teach Option-E Madrid: Social Entrepreneurship in the autumn semester. Moreover, they run several projects in Latin America, which newcomer Andrés supported from the start:

    Andrés Chamarro

    After graduating from ESCP, Andrés has joined our team in Madrid this year as a research assistant for Social Entrepreneurship and is mainly working on Option-E. Furthermore, he collaborates with ESCP on international projects related to sustainable tourism, such as with RIU Hotels in Mexico. Being passionate about startups, sustainability, investments and social innovation, Andrés also works with a European Accelerator startup called EIT Health. 


    Paris is not only at the heart of ESCP Business School, it is also where the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute and Blue Factory were initiated, suffice to say that Jean-Baptiste Say died in Paris in 1832. Our local team in Paris is hence not just the best-looking bunch, they also built up the energy that makes the institute what it is today. This year, the team was joined by two fantastic new colleagues in its teaching and incubation efforts:

    Rand Gerges Yammine

    Since January 2021, Rand is Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at ESCP Business School in Paris. She holds a PhD in Management from EMLYON Business School. Since then, she worked in postdoctoral research positions with Stanford University and Imperial College Business School London. At the same time and next to doing research, Rand started coaching entrepreneurs. Her primary research interests are entrepreneurial ecosystems and networks. For ESCP, she currently teaches Corporate Entrepreneurship.

    Manuella Ndoung

    Recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Marketing and Events Management, Manuella had the opportunity to get familiar with entrepreneurship through her studies. She also worked with a food industry incubator in Paris. Now, she is choosing to continue the incubating adventure and jump into Blue Factory. Manuella grew up in Cameroon and her multicultural background and hence her interest in diversity and inclusion perfectly fit with the international aspects of our incubator.


    With Alisa Sydow’s arrival, the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute is now also present on the Turin campus. For now, Alisa is our one-shop-stop for entrepreneurship teaching, incubation and research at ESCP in Italy and hence a real powerhouse:

    Alisa Sydow 

    Alisa joined us as Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at ESCP Business School in Turin. She is our Turin Coordinator of the Say Institute and the Academic Director Option-E Turin. She has a doctorate in Management and Innovation from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. Moreover, she is one of the founders of Nampelka GmbH – a startup that focuses on natural products such as biodynamic wine and coffee. Alisa primarily teaches entrepreneurship and strategic management with a focus on sustainability and impact. 

    Outlook on 2021


    What will 2021 bring? Given the experiences of last year, we do not dare to predict with certainty. However, there are a few things we are gearing up for:


    We are excited for another round of our Design Thinking class with Manutan, new specialisations such as “Leading in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Innovation”, as well as a good number of final pitches.

    Incubation: Blue Factory

    We will be hosting further Blue Factory events. For example, we will host team matching events with (international) partner universities, the Entrepreneurship Festival (summer and winter edition) as well as workshops on platform-based business models, prototyping, internationalisation, and more. Additionally, we will host two rounds of START as well as invite a new SEED Paris cohort to join Blue Factory.


    Florian Lüdeke-Freund will co-chair the 6th International Conference on New Business Models. It takes place online from 9-11 June 2021 and is hosted by Halmstad University. Moreover, we will be attending research conferences such as BCERC and the AOM General Meeting.

    Thank you for staying tuned, reading, engaging with us and connecting. Finally, make sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to receive more frequent updates.

    All the best for the year ahead!

    The Jean-Baptiste Say Institute for Entrepreneurship