Edinburgh Social Entrepreneurship Conference 2019: Organizing for Social Change

Edinburgh, June 03-04, 2019

The Edinburgh Social Entrepreneurship Conference 2019 was a two-day event hosted at the University of Edinburgh Business School on the 3rd and 4th of June 2019. The conference responded to the rapidly growing interest in social entrepreneurship (SE) research as a continuously developing domain with high importance for theory and practice. The event offered a valuable opportunity for a limited number of PhD students and early-career academics to discuss and develop their ongoing work with distinguished experts in the social entrepreneurship field. Scholars who are more advanced in their careers were also welcome to attend.

Picture1Invited Speakers

It was with great pleasure to welcome a broad range of distinguished academics who discussed the work of the participants and gave insights into their own most recent research. The academic speakers included:

  • Benson Honig is Professor of Human Resources and Management as well as the Teresa Cascioli Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership at DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, Canada.
  • Mairi Maclean is Associate Dean and Professor of Management, Strategy and Organization at the University of Bath, UK.
  • Frank Moulaert is Professor of Spatial Planning and Head of the Planning and Development Unit ASRO at KU Leuven, Belgium.
  • John Amis is Professor of Strategic Management and Organisation at the University of Edinburgh Business School.
  • Helen Haugh is Senior Lecturer in Community Enterprise and Research Director at the Centre for Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School, UK.
  • Ben Spigel is Chancellor’s Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the University of Edinburgh Business School.
  • Sarah Ivory is Lecturer in Climate Change and Business Strategy at the University of Edinburgh Business School.
  • Winston Kwon is Chancellor’s Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

The conference also took a practice perspective on SE and invited a number of leading Scottish social entrepreneurs including Zakia Moulaoui (Founder of Invisible Cities), Colin McMillan (Program Manager at Firstport), and Jonny Kinross (Chief Executive at Grassmarket).


A broad range of 38 international participants comprised predominantly PhD students and early-career academics. It was a very diverse group from several countries and renown universities, such as: Italy (Bocconi University; Politecnico di Milano), UK (University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Southampton, Newcastle University, University of Bath), Denmark (University of Southern Denmark), Sweden (Stockholm Business School), Canada (McMaster University, Memorial University of Newfoundland), Taiwan (Creative Education and Management Foundation).


Programme Sessions

Participants had the chance to present their research in a number of paper presentation sessions. Each participant was given a 30 minutes presentation slot and received valuable feedback from the senior academics mentioned above, as well as from fellow students and other session participants. The conference programme furthermore comprised different panel and discussion sessions. For example, in the session “Closing the Gap between Theory & Practice”, leading academics and practitioners discussed the practical impact of SE research. In a research seminar titled “Crafting Philanthropic Identities”, the audience got detailed insights into the evolvement of a high-quality research paper. The most popular session of the event, however, was “Getting Published in Leading Journals: Insights from Editors and Authors”. In this session editors from leading academic journals shared their insights into what scholars need to consider during their publication journey. The session sharpened participants view by illustrating them the do’s and don’ts for high-level publications.

In general, the friendly and familiar atmosphere of the event provided a comfortable environment and great networking opportunities for all participants. Drinks receptions and dinner opportunities provided the sustenance and ensured a highly dynamic and interactive spirit. This way, participants built connections with lasting impact beyond the Edinburgh Social Entrepreneurship Conference. Overall, the organization committee of the conference was highly pleased with the positive feedback received and hereby expresses its gratitude to all participants and supporters who facilitated the fantastic event. Special thanks go out to the European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ECSB) and the University of Edinburgh Business School, the main supporters of the event. We hope to be able to continue hosting the Edinburgh Social Entrepreneurship Conference in the years to come.

Authors: Florian Koehne and Chris Klinghardt, Heads of the Organizing Committee, University of Edinburgh Business School

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