The Seminar on Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy (SEPHI) took place on May 25-26, 2023, at emlyon business school’s Paris campus. Supported by emlyon’s Institute for Impact Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research Center alongside IÉSEG School of Management and the ESSEC Philanthropy Chair, the seminar aimed to nurture the next generation of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy scholars.


The seminar brought together 14 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers for two enriching days of presentations and discussions. The diverse topics covered included social entrepreneurship, circular economy, impact investing, family foundations, benefit corporations in France, post-disaster solidarity in contexts of crisis, food citizenship, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The well-structured presentations, stimulating discussions, and engaging keynote speeches contributed to a comprehensive understanding of research at the frontier of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Participants actively engaged in vibrant conversations, offering valuable insights and posing thought-provoking questions.


Keynote speakers Ignasi Martí of ESADE and Elisabeth Clemens of the University of Chicago provided captivating lectures. Martí shared stories from his ethnographic work on the margins of social entrepreneurship, emphasizing the importance of seeing beyond mainstream perspectives. Clemens presented her recent book “Civic Gifts,” offering reflections on volunteerism and social entrepreneurship in the broader organizational architecture of the current moment.


Among other positive reactions, one participant expressed her enthusiasm for the seminar, describing the atmosphere as “welcoming and inspiring.” Bret Leyden of Vrije Universiteit Brussel noted the “rewarding experience” of sharing these two days with “fellow participants who share a deep passion for creating positive social impact.” And Jeanne Roche of IE Business School expressed her appreciation for “a wonderful two days” of exchange.


The SEPHI organizing team includes Nevena Radoynovska and Christof Brandtner (emlyon business school), Arthur Gautier (ESSEC), Frédéric Dufays and Virginie Xhauflair (HEC Liège), and Benjamin Huybrechts (IÉSEG School of Management).


SEPHI strives to provide an impactful platform for junior researchers to exchange ideas and delve into the field of research on private action for the public good. The fifth iteration of SEPHI will take place in 2025.