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20th Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference

Experience the premiere global research conference focused on social entrepreneurship and impact.

20th Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference

Experience the premiere global research conference focused on social entrepreneurship and impact.


18-20 April 2024


IMD campus, Lausanne


2 days plus evening reception

IMD is proud to host the Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference for its 20th anniversary.

In 2024, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference. Over the last 19 years we have welcomed hundreds of scholars as well as practitioners and students interested in social enterprise, innovation, sustainability and impact. While our perspectives and viewpoints are diverse and multi-faceted, we are united in our commitment to building and supporting social entrepreneurs and their organizations.

As we celebrate two decades of collaboration, we hope you will join us to gain unique and useful insights and enduring inspiration during our time together in beautiful Lausanne, Switzerland. For more information, view the full program.

Conference Dates: Friday and Saturday April 19-20, 2024
Welcome Evening Reception: Thursday April 18, 2024

See schedule here

This event is sponsored by IMD and the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab.

Submission process

Authors who wish to present their papers or lead a panel at the conference should submit electronically a three-page abstract + references (double-spaced, times new roman font, size 12) by Thursday February 1, 2024. Abstracts will be selected and authors will be notified and invited by February 15, 2024. A full paper will be due on March 22, 2024.

Conference registration fees
• Early-bird rate, before February 26, 2024: CHF 600
• Standard rate, after February 26, 2024: CHF 700
• PhD student rate: CHF 250

Please note: We seek representations from all regions, and this is why we offer 10 slots at a special price to include authors of accepted papers who might otherwise not attend for cost-related reasons. The selection for these slots is based on personal circumstances, distance of travel, country of residence’s GDP, and more. If you wish to apply for one of the 10 slots, please fill in this short survey. Slots will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

 - IMD Business School
What to expect of the conference

The Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference provides unique opportunities to hear from and interact with world-class speakers and to make valuable connections. Dozens of accepted papers will be presented and discussed in parallel sessions, which will include featured discussants. The conference will also feature panels on critical and relevant topics, and compelling keynote speeches. This year, we are pleased to welcome keynote speeches from Rachida Justo (IE Business School), Kai Hockerts (Copenhagen Business School) and Johanna Mair (Hertie School of Governance & Stanford University).

In addition, to celebrate our 20th anniversary, we will convene a panel of world-class social entrepreneurship experts including: Helen Haugh (University of Cambridge), Lisa Hehenberger (ESADE), Anne-Claire Pache (ESSEC), Ute Stephan (King’s College London), and Tyler Wry (Wharton).

Finally, a number of established social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship scholars will be present at the conference, including associate editors at the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Journal of Small Business Management, Small Business Economics, and Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, and more.

Why join us?

The Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference, codirected by Dr. Sophie Bacq and Dr. Jill Kickul, is the largest academic gathering of its kind globally, convening scholars, students, practitioners and keynote speakers from around the world to explore the most critical topics, concepts and themes in social entrepreneurship, social enterprise, social innovation, sustainability and impact today.

Our purpose is to support the continuing development of theory and research on social entrepreneurship and its impact on global communities. We welcome and showcase both conceptual and research papers presenting quantitative and/or qualitative data. We also invite proposals of expert panel sessions: conversations that bring together the diverse perspectives and expertise of three to five panelists, facilitated and chaired by an expert speaker and enriched by audience participation. While we welcome proposals for panel sessions, we should note that these sessions do not include individual paper presentations.

Themes for this year’s paper presentations and panel sessions include, but are not limited to:

  • Social entrepreneurship processes involving opportunity recognition and evaluation
  • Organizational forms of social enterprises, beyond hybridity
  • Challenges of scaling, and alternative narratives to social venture scaling
  • Impact measurement
  • Social entrepreneurship dark side(s)
  • Emerging themes in social entrepreneurship education
  • Cross-cultural comparative studies in social entrepreneurship
  • Research challenges in social entrepreneurship

Past keynote speakers

Over the past 19 years, we have been fortunate to have the foremost thought leaders, scholars, and social entrepreneurs present their latest work and initiatives at a host of world-class universities. These include New York University, Northeastern University, University of Southern California, and Indiana University.

Previous keynote speakers

Julie Battilana, William Baumol, Christine Beckman, Marya Besharov, Gordon Bloom, Paul Bloom, Oana Branzei, Debbi Brock, Tina Dacin, Silvia Dorado, Alnoor Ebrahim, Mary Ann Glynn, Helen Haugh, Lisa Hehenberger, Kai Hockerts, Geoffrey Kistruck, Jim Koch, Norris Krueger, Matthew Lee, Paul Light, Tom Lumpkin, Johanna Mair, Jeffery McMullen, Kumar Nair, Alex Nicholls, Anne-Claire Pache, Ana Maria Peredo, Philip Phan, Jeffrey Robinson, Filipe Santos, Christian Seelos, Durreen Shahnaz, Dean Shepherd, Ute Stephan, David Townsend, Paul Tracey, Tyler Wry, and Jeffrey York.

Previous practitioner conference participants

Nobel laureates Paul Romer, Michael Spence, and Muhammad Yunus, as well as Scott Barrie, David Bornstein, Margot Brandenburg, Laura Callanan, Susan Davis, Greg Dees, Cheryl Dorsey, Bill Drayton, Jed Emerson, Darell Hammond, Scott Harrison, Andrew Kassoy, Mark Kramer, Tris Lumley, Debra Natenshon, Jacqueline Novogratz, Sara Olsen, Linda Rottenberg, Jason Saul, Billy Shore, Richard Steele, Tom Szaky, Brian Trelstad, Michael Weinstein, and Georgette Wong, among others

Schedule of the conference

The program will be made available by the end of March (a draft will be circulated with presenters a little beforehand).

  • Thursday April 18th 2024
  • Friday April 19th 2024
  • Saturday April 20th 2024
  • The pre-conference program will start at 4pm with panel sessions, followed by a welcome reception starting at 6pm. Early registration will be open that day.

    We will kick-off the main conference program with registration and a light breakfast at 8am, followed by welcome and opening remarks from David Bach, Dean of Innovation and Programs at IMD, and your Conference Directors, Sophie Bacq and Jill Kickul.

    Our opening keynote speaker, Rachida Justo (IE), will start at 9am, after which we will have 12 parallel paper sessions throughout the day. Our afternoon keynote, Kai Hockerts (Copenhagen Business School), will close the first day of the conference from 4:45 to 5:45pm. We will go out for a Swiss dinner in town as a group that night; transportation will be provided.

    Our morning keynote, Johanna Mair (Hertie School of Governance and Stanford University) will open the second day of the conference at 9am. The day will be filled with another 12 parallel paper sessions as well as panel discussions.

    We will close the day with our Anniversary Panel, featuring Helen Haugh (University of Cambridge), Lisa Hehenberger (ESADE), Anne-Claire Pache (ESSEC), Filipe Santos (Católica-Lisbon), Ute Stephan (King’s College London) and Tyler Wry (The Wharton School), from 4:15 to 5:30pm.

    We will close the conference with cake and bubbles, and the announcement of the Best Paper Award during the celebratory closing reception, from 5:30 to 7:30pm.

    Lodging recommendations

    The 20th Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference will take place at IMD Business School, located in Lausanne, Switzerland. To organize your trip, here is a list of hotels we recommend: