What We Do
IMD’s mission is to challenge what is and inspire what could be, and to develop leaders who transform organizations and contribute to society. This requires an entrepreneurial mindset: a willingness to try something new. Since 1998, IMD EMBAs and MBAs have collaborated with over 500 Swiss startups and helped strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We work with startups, scaleups and other high-growth, high-impact initiatives to help them direct leadership, create a strategy, build in customer-centricity and construct a resilient organization that delivers to its customers, employees, and shareholders. When an IMD graduate creates or joins a startup that succeeds in its mission, we believe we have delivered on ours.
Empowerment denotes the agency to innovate and forms the bedrock of entrepreneurial creativity. Whether in a new company or an existing corporation, it is the vital ingredient to all innovation.
Innovation requires a person or a team to believe there is a better way to do things. It also demands they believe that they can create the solution.
In 2022, an IMD alumnus supported the startup idea of an MBA. Since then, IMD alumni have awarded 20 grants per year, with some of the funds allocated to support entrepreneurs in their MBA studies, and another portion comprising non-dilutive grants to graduating MBAs with startup goals. For promising ideas, we offer free seed capital of CHF 100,000, as well as support from the IMD faculty and its entrepreneurial alumni.
Previous winners of IMD Startup Competition have flourished. In the recently announced Top 100 Swiss Startups, 40 were ventures that had worked with us, including five of the top 25 scaleups.
Find all our winners here.
According to McKinsey, ecosystems will play a key role in every aspect of the global economy by 2030, driving around $80 trillion in annual revenues.
The key principle of ecosystem thinking is that we cannot create the future alone – organizations need to collaborate with a variety of partners that complement and reinforce each other.
Ecosystems enable organizations to grow, to drive a regenerative transformation, to jointly face challenges, and to explore opportunities.
No longer the exclusive domain of a handful of digital giants, ecosystems now represent the immediate future for transforming incumbents, new ventures, and platforms.
Find out how to create and orchestrate ecosystems.
Jim Pulcrano, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management, created the entrepreneurship stream of IMD’s EMBA program in 1999. His insights in the Silicon Valley model of entrepreneurship over 24 years led to the creation of the IMD Startup Competition.
Since 1999, IMD EMBAs and MBAs have collaborated with over 500 Swiss startups and experienced entrepreneurship first hand. In doing so they developed respect for those who took a different path and gained valuable insight into the extreme ambiguity that founders face every day. Some have even been inspired to embrace entrepreneurship themselves.
Previous winners of other IMD Startup Competitions have flourished. In the recently announced Top 100 Swiss Startups, 40 were ventures that had worked with us, including five of the top 25 scaleups.
Some of our top entrepreneurial ‘alumni’ include, AC Immune (now a public company), Artmyn (which was sold to Invaluable), Dacuda (acquired by Magic Leap), Doodle (acquired by Tamedia), Faceshift (acquired by Apple), GlycArt (acquired by Roche), Kooaba (acquired by Qualcomm), and Swiss unicorns MindMaze and Nexthink among many other successful firms.
Case Study Timeline
e-marketplaces in the 1990s.
Research, Insight & News
IMD professors and research fellows now produce around 40 cases per year related to new ventures. Faculty insights into entrepreneurship are also featured in a growing number of articles, webinars and podcasts focused on this domain.
Much of this has been made possible due to increased opportunities to interact with entrepreneurs, and the appointment of six research fellows who work alongside faculty to capture the learnings.
In our wider community, IMD’s Alumni Center for Entrepreneurship strives to foster an ecosystem aimed at facilitating mentoring and the funding of business projects as an engine for innovation and growth.
Meet the Team
Jim Pulcrano has extensive expertise in entrepreneurship, particularly startup culture, strategy, customer centricity, marketing, and disruption. A former Executive Director at IMD, he runs the annual IMD Startup…
Julia Binder specializes in the intersection between sustainability and innovation. Her research and teaching explore the processes, strategies and mechanisms that allow entrepreneurs and managers to combine economic,…
Vanina Farber is an award-winning economist and political scientist who specializes in social innovation and the mobilization of private capital for impact investing. Her research focuses on innovative, practical,…
Benoît Leleux is recognized as a leading specialist in entrepreneurship, venture capital, private equity, and corporate venturing, particularly in emerging markets, and is the winner of numerous case writing awards in…
Mark Greeven draws on a decade of experience in research, teaching and consulting in China to explore how to organize innovation in a turbulent world. He was named on the prestigious Thinkers50 Radar list of 30 Next…
Leif Sjöblom is Professor of Financial Management at IMD.
His areas of special interest are:
- The restructuring of the telecommunications industry
- Performance measurement and shareholder value creation