Entrepreneurship Summer School


Understanding the role of science and research in successful new businesses

Where: ESADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain
When: 27 May to 7 June 2019

From science to business

For innovation to have impact it must create value. To create value it needs someone to sell it – and someone to buy it. Forward-thinking businesses therefore have a key role to play in the transformation of original ideas into solutions with impact.

Whether your are interested in starting a new business, introducing an entrepreneurial spirit to an existing firm, or bringing a business-minded approach to continuing research, there are essential skills and processes that enhance the chance of success.

The entrepreneurship summer school at ESADE is exclusive to the InnoEnergy PhD School. It gives doctoral candidates the opportunity to attend one of Europe’s leading business schools, and get an introduction to the various tools, concepts and operations that entrepreneurs and innovative businesses need.

By participating this course, doctoral candidates become aware of how businesses create value in a competitive landscape, how to create a new businesses based on original technology ideas, and understand that using innovation to create a new business is a realistic career choice for those that choose to pursue it.

What you learn

This two-week course and its contents are designed around a simple concept: building a new, technology-based entrepreneurial business that specialises in the field of sustainable energy. The modules are all designed to give scientists and researchers invaluable insight into innovation process outside the lab to improve the ratio of original ideas that have an impact in the wider world. The course consists of the following modules:

  1. Innovation and strategy: To give you a framework for understanding companies from a strategic perspective, the tools for analysing the general business environment, and models for strategic management – including the role played by innovation.
  1. Creative and design thinking and innovation: In a complex business world, you need to combine analytical and creative approaches. This module helps you develop your creative thinking skills and enables you to move from conceptual thinking to taking action.
  1. Entrepreneurship: In this module, we introduce you to the inspirational world of entrepreneurship, giving you the concepts, frameworks, and insights needed to identify a feasible innovation-based idea and turn it into a successful new business.
  1. Marketing for start-ups: This module helps you build essential skills in market analysis and client understanding so you can formulate marketing policies and strategies specifically for business-to-business and technology-based companies.
  1. Entrepreneurial finance: In this module you learn about the tools and concepts needed to quantify a start-up’s economic activity, understand financial statements as a way to determine its financial needs, and calculate its true economic value.
  1. New product development and service innovation: The focus of this module is on exploring and exploiting innovation opportunities, while managing uncertainty. It covers how to identify problems, develop new ideas, and launch new products, services or business models.
  1. Dealing with intellectual property rights: A science- or technology-based start-up needs to protect itself and any Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) it may have. This module provides you with the information you need about IPR and how it can be protected.
  1. Entrepreneurial leadership: In this module you explore how your own learning, communication, and influencing style, and your personal value system create a set of leadership tools to inspire and sustain high-performing entrepreneurial teams.


How you learn

The teaching for each module is grounded in the business-school approach: practical, dynamic and interactive. Talks and presentations from expert course leaders are accompanied by case-based discussions and group exercises. As far as possible, course leaders build on your and your classmates’ own experience to keep discussions directly relevant to your situation. Throughout the two-week course, you will also work on your own project. You get to choose from a number of topics, and then apply as many of the tools and concepts you learn on the course.


Extra activities

During the second week of the course, you get the chance to attend a panel discussion with current entrepreneurs and investors – discussing their own experience of science and technology-based start-ups. Speakers are drawn from ESADE’s and InnoEnergy’s networks of entrepreneurs and business angels (investors) – who will explain what they do, how they select investments, and what they believe are the success factors of any new business.

There are also opportunities to network and exchange ideas with your fellow researchers, to participate in cultural and social events in Barcelona, and share your experiences with former PhD candidates who either run or work for their own start-ups.

Course leaders

You can be assured of the quality of teaching at the Entrepreneurship Summer School. Your teachers are mainly faculty members at ESADE, but we also invite guest lecturers from the local business community to provide you with their practical experience and hard-earned insight. Professors on this course include:

Jordi Vinaixa Serra

Entrepreneurship and Programme Director

Jordi Vinaixa Serra has been a lecturer in ESADE’s Department of Strategy and General Management since 2003, having previously run his own consultancy firm and managed the Institute of Catalan Studies (IEC). He has also held senior research and management positions at: the Department of Training and Business Consulting of the EMI Foundation-Institute of Business Studies; the Catalan Institute of Technology (ICT); the Industrial Division of Impex Química SA; Hucoa-Erlöss SA; the Universidad de Barcelona; and the University of Sussex, among others. His particular areas of interest are science and technology-based entrepreneurship, project management, and new product and service development projects.

Ivanka Visnjic

Creative Design Thinking and Innovation

New Product Development and Service Innovation

Ivanka is an assistant professor at ESADE Business School and a research sponsor at Cambridge Service Alliance, at the University of Cambridge. Her research lies at the intersection of strategy, innovation and operations management and her focus is the emerging field of business model innovation, and how companies create value by shifting from product to service business models. She works closely with global firms, such as BAE Systems, Caterpillar, GEA, IBM, Pearson and Zoetis. Before her academic career, Ivanka worked at McKinsey & Co, where she specialised in product innovation strategies in the pharmaceutical industry.

Xavier Ferràs Hernández

Strategy and Innovation

Xavier is a visiting professor at ESADE’s Department of Operations, Innovation and Data Sciences, and his particular areas of interest include the link between corporate strategy and innovation, innovation management, technology strategy, innovation in public policy, and entrepreneurship. Until 2012, he was director of the ACC10 Centre for Business Innovation where he was responsible for technology transfer policies, R&D and the development of innovation clusters in Catalonia. He is extensively published, widely heard at international conferences, and serves on numerous boards of trustees and executive boards, including Invertec, the Venture Capital firm.

Luisa Alemany

Entrepreneurial Finance

Luisa is the director of the ESADE Entrepreneurship Institute (EEI) and an associate professor of entrepreneurial finance. She teaches both graduate and executive education courses and is the co-director of the Business Angels Academy programme. Her research interests are in the field of entrepreneurial finance, focusing on the impact of venture capital, business angels and valuation of new businesses. She has also been researching philanthropic venture capital and the financing of social enterprises.

Ignacio Guitart

Marketing for Start-ups

Ignacio Guitart has a major degree in law from the Universidad de Barcelona Law School, is a graduate from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), and has an MBA from ESADE. He is a lecturer in the marketing department of ESADE, and his fields of expertise are strategy and launching new products.

Artur Massana & Ricard Serlavós

Managing Entrepreneurial Teams

Artur is an ESADE MBA and analytic philosopher specialising in cognitive science and linguistics. He was the general manager of the Catalan Association of Architects (COAC) for seven years. He collaborates with ESADE Business School as a coach, academic assistant of the People Management Department, and a member of the GLEAD (research group on leadership). He is also a founding partner of Lead Learning Lab, a training and consulting firm.

Ricard has dedicated his professional activity to the field of personnel management, as an academic, manager and consultant. As an academic, he has taught successive courses on labour relations, human resources (HR) policies, international HR management, leadership and development of management skills. He was director of ESADE’s Department of Human Resource Management and assistant to the dean for faculty policy.

Marta Baylina

Dealing with IPR

Marta is a lawyer at CORE Association and academic collaborator at the ESADE Law Department. She holds a degree and Master’s in Law from ESADE and an LLM in Intellectual Property Law from the George Washington University. She also coordinates the Master’s programme on Intellectual Property Rights at the Illustre Collegi d’Advocats de Barcelona (ICAB) and teaches on the International Law Master’s at the Universidad de Barcelona and the Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economía (ISDE).


Thoughts on the course…

From previous participants:

“Excellent programme with full insights on entrepreneurship and managing innovation.”

 “I really liked this course. It was well organised, and the best way to introduce us to all the concepts of management and business with the limited time we had.”

 “I am convinced that this course changed my perspective given topics through this very intensive two weeks.”

 “This course has helped me to see things from a different perspective. I think that the ‘lessons learned’ can not only be applied to a start-up, but also to research directly.”


Practical information

When to attend: you can attend at different times during your research but to get the most out of the Entrepreneurship Summer School, we recommend that you take part once you have initially conceptualised your research – but before you get caught up in writing your thesis and planning your defence.

ECTS credits: The Entrepreneurship Summer School is worth six ECTS credits.