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Corporations Develop Social-Impact Ventures at The Intrapreneur Lab

5/28/2014 12:00:00 AM

Johnson’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and partners help companies fast track profitable ventures that hold promise for positive social impact


The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University hosted the second Intrapreneur Lab in New York City, May 20 to 22, 2014. The program – a partnership with Accenture Development Partnerships, Business Fights Poverty, and Leadership Laboratories – helps corporations launch profitable ventures that hold potential for positive social impact.   

Participants enter the Lab with an idea or early stage project. The program kicked off in New York City with 3-days of intensive coaching by leading social entrepreneurs and experts, including the founder of Vodaphone’s M-Pesa, Nick Hughes; Amit Mehra of Reuter’s Market Light; the global managing director of Accenture’s Institute for High Performance, Robert Thomas; and Erik Simanis of Cornell’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise.

“The Lab is an intimate setting that helps corporations fast-track their ventures,” said Simanis, managing director of Market Creation Strategies and core faculty member of the Lab. “It provides them deep exposure to the accumulated learnings of leading companies and doers in the field.”

The New York City sessions will be followed by a three-month incubator-phase, in which participants receive a combination of consulting support from Accenture Development Partnerships, executive coaching from Leadership Laboratories, and introductions to social enterprise experts through Business Fights Poverty. The end-goal is to help participants build a sound business case and a rigorous plan to pilot test their ideas.

The Intrapreneur Lab was first held in October 2013 at Oxford University, with managers from Barclays, GSK and Novartis. Companies participating in the New York City program include Mars, Barclays, Cemex, and Pearson. The next Lab will be held in Oxford in fall 2014, with a fourth planned for South Africa in winter 2015.

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