On Saturday, February 25, LUISS MBA students will have the chance to participate in the ERS Lab with Dr. Funda Sezgi, Managing Director of Impact Hub Stockholm and Oriol Costa Lechuga, Managing Director of EcoRegió.

This ERS Lab focuses on international replication of the Regionalwert AG (RWAG), a German social enterprise, in the Girona region of Catalonia (Spain) under the brand name EcoRegió.  RWAG is a highly successful network organization that brings together diverse sets of actors along a value-added chain (‘from the field to the plate’) of regional sustainable agriculture and food production initiatives. After implementing several replication initiatives in Germany, both Ashoka and the Catalan government identified the RWAG as one of the most promising models to be replicated in Catalonia.  In the summer of 2015, Oriol Costa Lechuga and his social venture Dynamis initiated RWAG replication efforts in Catalonia. Catalonia, like the rest of Spain, had just resumed economic growth after experiencing nearly seven years of economic contraction that resulted in unemployment and poverty rates in excess of 20% and in increasing political instability reflected in rising nationalist and pro-independence sentiment.  In spite of significant efforts made to promote EcoRegió, funds did not flow in as fast as Costa had hoped.

The Lab will serve as an opportunity to discuss several issues related to social entrepreneurship (e.g., the scaling up of the social business, the internationalization of sustainable local enterprise networks, the impact of macro-economic and sociocultural contexts on internationalization processes, and social franchising as a specific mode of entry).

In addition to introducing their organizations (Dynamis/EcoRegió and Impact Hub), both guests will actively participate in student group work. The Lab will use Proactive Café – a methodology for creative and inspirational conversation where participants are invited to share their questions (around projects, seed ideas etc.) and get input (deeper questions, knowledge, experience) from others, to help move from questions to actions. These conversations link and build on each other as people move between groups, cross‐pollinate ideas, and discover new insights into the questions or issues that are most important in their life, work or community. Topics are brought forward by participants themselves. There is no set agenda, only overall guiding questions, with the intention of deepening the learning process of all participants. The methodology can evoke and make visible the collective intelligence of any group, thus increasing people’s capacity for effective action in pursuit of common aims.

Funda Sezgi, PhD
Impact Hub Stockholm

Funda is an Incubation Program Manager at Impact Hub Stockholm (IHS). IHS is a part of a global network of more than 80 organizations that unites people from every profession, background and culture with imagination and drive to pursue enterprising ideas for the world, the people who see and do things differently and have entrepreneurial passion to create sustainable impact.

Funda holds a PhD in Strategic Management from the IESE Business School in Barcelona where under the supervision of prof. Johanna Mair she studied hybrid organizations, specifically issues of scaling and replication of these organizations.
Funda’s professional and educational background, together with her expertise in replication and scaling of social businesses in Europe and wider make her an ideal participant in this ERS Lab. During the lab, Funda will introduce student to the work of Impact Hub around the globe and in Sweden, will talk about what it means to run an Impact Hub as a de facto entrepreneur, will introduce Proactive Café methodology of group work and several tools useful in analysis of replication and scaling problems of social businesses.

FotoDainserireTesto_2Oriol Costa Lechuga, LL.B.
Dynamis / EcoRegió

Oriol has more than 15 years of experience in promoting strategies for sustainable development working as an expert in environmental, social and local economic development, recently focusing on linking sustainability and new technologies. As a part of his work, he developed an associative biography to promote self-awareness for social development, and boost the associative economy to increase economic, social and ecological awareness.

Oriol is a co-founder and managing director of Dynamis, one of the most prominent social enterprises in the region of Girona in Catalonia, a hot spot of rapidly expanding social entrepreneurship sectors in Spain. The mission of Dynamis is to transform ideals into sustainable realities using modern technologies in promoting local and ecological commerce and through the elimination of unnecessary intermediaries. Their main activities focus on: (i) promoting direct local and ecological product commercialization through an easy-to-use, modern, and efficient online platform; (ii) improving the utilization of existing resources and the facilitation of synergies through the creation of networks of interdependent consumers and producers; and (iii) creating applications that favor dynamics of commerce, promotion, encounter, planning and reflection that generate new ways of acting and, in consequence, a more sustainable society.

Oriol latest initiative is EcoRegió, an initiative whose mission is to capitalize on the economic value of a region and to produce for multidimensional social, environmental and economic benefits. Gathering capital from investors to invest in companies producing and distributing organic food, EcoRegió works toward the optimization of value added throughout the value chain – from the field to the plate. EcoRegió is a replication of The Regionalwert AG in Freiburg, Germany where the initiative has gathered more than € 3m among 600 citizen investors investing in 20 companies with excellent results recognized by Ashoka International, Ship2B, and the Generalitat de Catalunya.