Jean-Baptiste Say Institute for Entrepreneurship Annual Report 2021




    Dear all,

    We just closed 2021, another year that was dominated by the Covid pandemic. Again, it pushed us to try new approaches in collaborating within our European team, teaching, working with companies, and much more. Thank you as our community for making all this possible!

    I hope you enjoy this brief review of what 2021 had in store for us, and what we expect of the year to come.

    All the best,

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

    New Partners


    In 2021, the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute was happy to announce several new partners. We are deeply grateful for their support.

    Education Partners


    The Chair of Space Systems at TU Dresden runs the ASCenSIon project. It is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. ASCenSIon stands for “Advancing Space Access Capabilities – Reusability and Multiple Satellite Injection”. The acronym exemplifies the core objective of the project: cutting edge space access research. Since January 2021, the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute is delivering entrepreneurship and tech transfer trainings to the space science project ASCenSIon. For example, René Mauer, Christoph Seckler and Jörg Reckhenrich had the pleasure of going to Milan in November. They worked for 2 days with ASCenSIon’s amazing group of space tech PhD students, and engaged them in creating critical artwork and entrepreneurial decision-making. 

    Learn more


    In 2021, the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute decided to strategically partner with the EPR@ISM, the entrepreneurship institute of the International School of Management (ISM). The ISM is a German Business School with campuses in 7 major cities. Together with 9 other Berlin universities, the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute and EPR@ISM organized a co-matching event in December 2021. Students and founding teams had the opportunity to find suitable partners for their business idea or to join startups looking for co-founders. Further joint projects between the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute and EPR@ISM will follow in 2022.

    Learn more

    Corporate Partners


    Cartier is one of the most prestigious jewellery manufacturers of the world. Since 2021, Cartier for the first time brings together two leading business schools to advance research on emerging business and societal challenges. Ben Voyer, professor for entrepreneurship at ESCP Business School London Campus, has been appointed co-director of a new research chair alongside Anne-Laure Sellier from HEC Paris.

    Learn more

    Business Angels Club Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.

    The Business Angels Club Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. supports start-ups with experience, contacts, and capital. On 14 October 2021, Blue Factory and the Business Angels Club Berlin-Brandenburg organized a Pitching Competition with 6 startups. The teams were able to exchange ideas, connect to potential investors, and received valuable feedback.

    Learn more

    Start-up partners

    Our start-up partnerships connect established start-ups with ESCP students and resources through the ESCP Berlin’s Career Development Office and Jean-Baptiste Say Institute for Entrepreneurship. Our start-up partners join a dynamic community of entrepreneurs, networking events, and recruitment opportunities such as the Entrepreneurship Festival and Startup Fairs (see below).

    Learn more

    Call for sponsors and partners

    Work with us as a 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 and MSIE


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



    Our teaching in 2021 again demanded a lot of flexibility. Online classes, hybrid teaching, onsite lectures, offsites, and ecosystem trips – we made it all happen, adapting to the local Covid-19 situation at the respective time. Moreover, we developed a range of new specializations, courses and electives, and produly won teaching awards.

    New specializations, courses and electives

    Leading in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Business Innovation

    We successfully piloted the Master in Management specialisation ”Leading in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Business Innovation”. This specialisation on the Berlin campus consists of four courses: Enterprise Systems (Markus Bick), Artificial Intelligence (Daniel Pesch), Big Data (Javier Amaya), and Digital Innovation (David Lehmann). The student feedback was fabulous – next year we will offer it on campus!

    New Ways of Working in the Digital Age

    Another first-timer is the new cross-departmental (Management, IOM & Entrepreneurship) MIM specialization “New ways of working in the digital age.” The Jean-Baptiste Say Institute has been contributing a newly designed seminar with René Mauer on the characteristics and the different flavors of entrepreneurial workplaces. The ongoing pandemic gave rise to the opportunity of digitally meeting with entrepreneurs, a VC, a company builder, and an Amazon employee from all around the world, allowing for invaluable insights into what entrepreneurial work really means.

    Entrepreneurship Track for PhD Programme in Paris

    We have co-created a 3-course entrepreneurship track for the PhD Programme on Paris campus. This effort has been led by Yi Jiang and Sylvain Bureau. 


    Martin Kupp offered an elective called “Deeptech entrepreneurship: Tackling the world’s biggest problems” for the first time in collaboration with BPI. 49 students signed up and were able to meet number of guest speakers. The elective was well perceived and we aim at offering it on a yearly basis in S1 on the Paris campus. Moreover, Martin designed another deeptech elective: “Bringing innovation out of the lab and onto the market: The challenges of Deeptech entrepreneurship”. It will be offered from January 2022 on. 54 students will work with 10-15 real projects from Institut Imagine.

    The new Master in Management and Executive Masters Elective ‘“15hrs to build your start-up” is being developed by Eric Pesnel with the goal of changing mindsets in an uncertain universe. Groups will be given project ideas to develop and the final presentations will be made to existing start-ups.

    Our new elective “Computer Science for Entrepreneurs” empowers business students to make technological decisions even if not technologists themselves. The course, designed by David Lehmann, takes a top-down approach: emphasising mastery of high-level concepts and design decisions related to that. Topics include cloud computing, networking, privacy, scalability, security, and more, with an emphasis on web and mobile technologies. Students emerge from the elective with a first-hand appreciation of how it all works and all the more confident in the factors that should guide their decision-making.

    Ecosystem Weeks

    We made the first post-Covid field trips and ecosystem experiences happen! Our students from Option-E Berlin went to Warsaw in September. In October, our Option-E Paris students travelled to Berlin and mingled with the local Option-E cohort. Meanwhile, the Option-E Madrid cohort dived deep into their local ecosystem.


    Sylvain Bureau received a Teaching Award for his Art Thinking Workshop, a three-day seminar to learn Art Thinking: an agile method using the artist’s mindset to create the improbable with certainty. This innovation has been chosen as a result of a new international competition for the best business education innovations organized by LearnSpace, which “aims at uncovering innovative pedagogical approaches, understanding how they are being implemented in business schools and publishing a public and global report showcasing 10 of them,” says Svenia Busson, founder of LearnSpace and co-founder of Edtech Tours. Read more.

    Moreover, one of our courses, the StartupSchool, offered in the Master in Strategy and Digital Business, received a Best Teaching Award. In the StartupSchool, we invite actors from the entrepreneurial ecosystem to the StartupSchool to share their experiences with the students. 

    Incubation: Blue Factory


    In 2021, the Blue Factory, our European incubator supported a wide range of entrepreneurs, organized various events and took a leap towards internationalisation support. Here are the highlights from their three programmes:


    2021 saw two cohorts of the START Online Programme expand their knowledge about entrepreneurship and push their early-stage projects ahead. In total, 150 prospective entrepreneurs from all over the world joined the workshop series and coaching sessions!

    In Paris, a new programme called START+ allowed 6 participants from START Online to receive additional support and access to a coworking space.


    The Blue Factory Paris has welcomed their new SEED cohort: Promo Blue 2021. They are now hosting 10 companies at the République offices. 3 of them have been co-accelerated with Malakoff Humanis.


    Our Berlin team organized two virtual Startup E-Fairs this year. In March, more than 200 students across our campuses had the opportunity to meet 22 Berlin-based startups. In November, as part of the Entrepreneurship Festival, the Startup E-Fair connected startups from our network with our students from all campuses.

    In Paris, our annual community event happened on 16 June at the Colors Festival, which was joined by artists and entrepreneurs. Take a look at the photo gallery!

    On 27 and 28 October, we organised our first-ever Startup Internationalisation Bootcamp. Participating startups had the chance to learn about business practices in Poland, France, Germany, Italy, or Spain, and take part in interactive workshops on internationalisation, market entry strategies, and different financing opportunities abroad. We had super interesting speakers attending from governmental organisations, startups, investment funds and many more. Read more.



    In 2021, 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


    René Mauer joined the founding editorial board of the Journal of Business Venturing Design (JBVD), which is a new sister journal of the highly esteemed Journal of Business Venturing. JBVD publishes scholarly work that advances the theoretical understanding and the practice of entrepreneurship. It does so by regarding entrepreneurship as a form of design that might be studied as a design science.

    ESCP Impact Papers

    In June 2021, ESCP launched the second edition of impact papers, this time devoted to “Better Business: Creating Sustainable Value”. Researchers from the Say Institute have made the following contributions:

    • AI-powered ESG: Our chance to make a real difference? By Terence Tse
    • Will there be innovation after now? Rethinking innovation after the Covid -19 crisis by Rand Gerges-Yammine and Anisha Mohil
    • Female Entrepreneurship in Rural Kenya – Frugal Innovation within Tribal Constraints by Alisa Sydow and Michaels Funké

    Access here

    Sieste – Engaging the entrepreneurship research community

    We regularly host “Sieste”, our inspirational entrepreneurship research break. Both Jean-Baptiste Say Institute senior researchers as well as external scholars present their papers and share their knowledge with our research community. Together, we engage in meaningful conversations and form a powerful network. In 2021, the following scholars joined us:

    Denise Fischer (RWTH Aachen)An Effectual Approach to Alliance Performance and the Moderating Role of Experience
    Martin Kupp & Davide Sola (ESCP Business School)Why Exploration and Exploitation Are Not Enough
    Matthew Grimes (University of Cambridge)How to Write Good Reviews
    Sylvain Bureau (ESCP Business School)How Subversive Jokes Create Legitimacy in Art and Entrepreneurship: The Cases of the Fountain and the FaceMash
    David Audretsch (Indiana University)Creating the Knowledge Spillover Theory
    Ute Stephan (King’s College London)New outcomes and new methods in entrepreneurship research: Understanding and Researching Entrepreneurial Well-Being and Recovery



    For us, 2021 has been the year of hybrid 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”. 

    Selected Events

    Entrepreneurship Festival

    This year’s Entrepreneurship Festival took place in November 2021 and was, like last year, co-created by our campuses in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, and Turin. It turned out to be the biggest-yet European Entrepreneurship Festival and it ran over the course of 4 days 🥳 We gathered online and offline on ESCP Business School Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, and Turin campus to celebrate Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainability. The programme included on-campus as well as online job fairs, talks by alumni, entrepreneurs, and investors, pitches by our Option-E students from Paris, Madrid, and Berlin, and lots of networking opportunities.

    Find more information here

    Option-E Demo Day

    In December 2021, we sent our latest cohort of Option-E students from Berlin, Madrid and Paris off into the wild after a fabulous European Demo Day, where they presented their startup projects. The Demo Day took place across two phases – the National Finals and the European Final, where jury members from across the startup and business ecosystems were invited to evaluate the teams and their business concepts. It was “Pawfect” from Berlin who ultimately won the European Final and a travel voucher worth 1,000 Euros – congratulations! Learn more about the projects here. There was a terrific atmosphere across the three campuses and students really appreciated the international aspect of the event. 

    Green Hackathon “Digital Carbon Footprint”

    On Turin campus, we co-organized a Green Hackathon in November 2021. It challenged ESCP students with an increasingly concerning topic for many companies: the Digital Carbon Footprint. What steps would they suggest companies take to reduce their digital carbon footprint? The virtual event was a great success, more than 150 students in 31 teams and 17 business partners participated. A week after the hackathon, the winning team “Susties” had the opportunity to present their project at the “ZED – Zero Emission Digital” conference, part of the IAB Forum 2021. The team was represented by Miguel Ulises Castro Espinosa, ESCP MBA in International Management student, and Assistant Professor Alisa Sydow, game master of the Hackathon. “Susties” presented a project to reduce 50% of the digital carbon footprint of a company in one year, making the data servers accounts as circular as possible. Next, the team will meet with Davines in January.

    Say Stories

    In 2021, we had the pleasure of portraying 4 inspiring entrepreneurs from our ecosystem. 

    • Charlotte Billot is the co-founder of uptrade and alumna of the Executive Master in Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurial Leadership (EMDIEL) at ESCP Business School. The programme reinforced her vision to become an entrepreneur. Read more about her story here.
    • Bringing innovation into urban spaces is Katharina Beitz’s mission. She seized the opportunity to study EMDIEL at ESCP Business School to gain a deeper understanding of strategy and sustainable business models. Today, she is the founder of Resilient Resident. Learn more about her journey.
    • “It doesn’t matter if you’re an executive in a corporate, a freelance marketer or you’re working in a startup or as an investment professional – as long as you bring curiosity and a hands-on mindset.” We spoke to EMDIEL alumnus Sebastian Daus about why he joined the programme and how he founded FixFirst. Read more and apply now!
    •  What happens when a couple with a master’s degree in Fashion and a PhD-to-be in Entrepreneurship think about what to do next? They decide to do it themselves – and start a DIY fashion business. We spoke to our PhD student Simon Nieschke about how JULIANA MARTEJEVS came about and how it’s going here

    Learn more

    Newsletter Launch

    We launched a European newsletter in 2021, which delivers updates on our activities twice a year straight to your inbox. Check out the last issue (Fall 2021) and sign up here:

    The Choice

    A year ago, ESCP launched an online medium called The Choice. It collects ideas, their knowledge, and everything that makes people from the ESCP community have an impact.

    Check out these inspiring articles from Jean-Baptiste Say Institute members and students:

    In the Press

    How firms can overcome market-based innovation barriers by Sebastian Szambelan, Yi Dragon Jiang & René Mauer

    Five steps for companies to make AI pilots a success by Terence Tse, Dilpreet Sall, Mark Esposito & Danny Goh

    Why startup support strategies cannot be gender-blind by Christian Linder & Sonja Sperber

    The race to commercialise space by Marc Ventresca, Michele Scataglini & David Lehmann

    Reaching for the stars: a guide to the new space race by Marc Ventresca, Michele Scataglini & David Lehmann

    Team Updates


    Ramón Fisac

    Firstly, we would like to warmly welcome Ramón Fisac, who has joined us on Madrid campus this year. He is a permanent Affiliate Professor and the Executive Director of Option-E in Madrid. Outside our institute, he is the Executive Director of the Master in Hospitality and Tourism Management of ESCP Business School.

    Martin Kupp

    We would like to thank Martin Kupp, who took over as Academic Director of the Mastère Spécialisé® Innover et Entreprendre (MSIE) after Eric Pesnel on Paris campus.

    Niko Muñoz

    Congratulations to Niko Muñoz, who is now a Permanent Affiliate Professor in Entrepreneurship in Madrid! Outside the Say Institute, he is now also the Local Academic Director for the Bachelor in Management at Madrid Campus.

    Outlook on 2022


    Looking forward, we expect to share very good news concerning a newly sponsored professorship soon. Another highlight 2022 will, again, be the Entrepreneurship Festival. The Summer Edition will be hosted in London and Turin in June, the Fall Edition in Berlin, Paris and Madrid in November.

    In terms of incubation, a new START Online cohort is kicking off with 60 participants in early March. Moreover, the next edition of the Internationalisation Bootcamp will happen in May/June, followed by a Community Event in Paris in the summer. We will also work on an update of the Blue Factory Directory, so keep your eyes open!

    When it comes to research, we are working on the concept of a Jean-Baptiste Say Conference for junior scholars – stay tuned! However, you will also meet us at these conferences: DESRIST 2022, AOM 2022 and 2022 BCERC, among others. In order to prepare for conference season, we will gather in Southern France for a research retreat.

    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