2020 Innovations That Inspire Highlights

Business schools are change-agents, creating environments where out-of-the-box thinking thrives. Through Innovations That Inspire, AACSB highlights ways that business schools—within its greater Business Education Alliance—are globally transforming face of higher education.

The 2020 Innovations That Inspire challenge invited members of AACSB’s Business Education Alliance to identify ways they are serving as Catalysts for Innovation—a key opportunity of AACSB’s Collective Vision for Business Education.

The highlights of this year’s challenge represent 25 examples of how business schools are elevating entrepreneurial mindsets and new business creation.The innovations featured below include both interdisciplinary collaborations and community engagement and AACSB is honored to recognize them.


American University of Beirut Suliman S. Olayan School of Business logo

American University of Beirut, Suliman S. Olayan School of Business

Business in Conflict Areas Research (BICAR)

BICAR is an innovative research hub supporting entrepreneurship in conflict zones, focusing on poverty reduction and peacebuilding through the development of indigenous businesses in war-torn regions, while bridging the gap between academia and the humanitarian sector.  

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 Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business Logo

Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business

Interdisciplinary Applied Learning Labs

An immersive course pairs MBA and non-business graduate students with local organizations to solve real-world problems in fields such as biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, social work, and public school financing.  

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 Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University Logo

Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management

Forming Global Cohorts to Support Reconstruction

To support countries experiencing political or other crises, cohorts of students from developing countries participate in an undergraduate seminar to support entrepreneurial growth post-crisis.  

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 Clark University Graduate School of Management Logo

Clark University, Graduate School of Management

Clark I&E Ventures

Clark I&E Ventures is the home to all student innovation and entrepreneurship activities and businesses at Clark University, including retail space, a thrift store, alumni engagement, and seed funding opportunities.  

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Dublin City University DCU Business School Logo

Dublin City University, DCU Business School

Connecting Students to Their Enterprise Ecosystem

To integrate enterprise university students into their citywide community of entrepreneurs, innovators, and industry partners, students attended curated events during Dublin StartUpWeek.

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 Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Logo

Georgetown University, The McDonough School of Business

Georgetown University Pivot Program

The Pivot Program is a 10-month certificate in business and entrepreneurship designed specifically for formerly incarcerated individuals. The program is delivered by Georgetown faculty, in partnership with the Washington, D.C., Department of Employment Services.  

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 IESE Business School University of Navarra

IESE Business School

Barcelona Technology Transfer Group

By matching global MBA student entrepreneurs with scientists, doctors, and researchers, the Barcelona Technology Transfer Group accelerates the launch of deep-science-backed startups bringing impactful products from laboratory to market.  

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 Ithaca College School of Business Logo

Ithaca College, School of Business

Cortaca 2019: Student Inside Sales Leadership Team

A high-profile sporting event provided the opportunity to create a student learning lab featuring ticket sales, operations, and collaboration with campus partners including stadium services and athletic departments. The resulting student-led inside sales team generated record-breaking attendance at the event.

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 NEOMA Business School Logo

NEOMA Business School

Entrepreneurs Across Borders

Entrepreneurs Across Borders is an international exchange system inviting student entrepreneurs to spend six months abroad in one of the university incubators that belong to the worldwide network.  

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 Northern Kentucky University Haile/U.S. Bank College of Business Logo

Northern Kentucky University, Haile/US Bank College of Business

The Underground Agency

The Underground Agency is a student-owned, purpose-driven branding, marketing, and research agency that is fully integrated into three business courses and grounded in entrepreneurial "ecosystem" thinking. The agency inspires students to reinvent themselves as engines of economic empowerment.  

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Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management Logo

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

Unlocking the Science of Innovation

Kellogg School’s Center for Science of Science & Innovation is a multidisciplinary community of researchers who use AI and advanced techniques to unearth patterns in big data, better understand innovation, and address challenging business problems.

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Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali Logo

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali, Facultad de Ciencias Economicas y Administrativas

Campus Nova—Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Campus Nova is a convergent space that promotes the development of skills in innovation and entrepreneurship alongside the creation of technologies and businesses to positively transform our society.

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 NMIMS Pravin Dalal School of Entrepreneurship and Family Business Management Logo

Pravin Dalal School of Entrepreneurship & Family Business Management (SBM's Initiative), SVKM’s NMIMS University

Stakeholders' Perspective in Building a Program 

Through community engagement, NMIMS supports family-run businesses in India with tailored curriculum, alumni networking, and domain experts.

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 Sasin School of Management Logo

Sasin School of Management

Building a Sustainability and Startup Ecosystem

With a strategic focus on sustainability and initiatives such as accelerators and incubators, Sasin aims to shape how entrepreneurship is activated in the region and to mainstream sustainability in the startup world.  

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Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business

Simon Fraser University, Beedie School of Business

Invention to Innovation (i2I)

Invention to Innovation (i2I) is a transformational entrepreneurship program that equips graduate scientists and engineers with the frameworks, perspectives, and techniques to commercialize their inventions and overcome marketplace challenges.

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 Swinburne Business School Swinburne University of Technology Logo

Swinburne University of Technology, Swinburne Business School

Swinburne Social Startup Studio

The Swinburne Social Startup Studio works with early-stage social enterprises to develop and test ideas, building knowledge to strengthen the social enterprise ecosystem. This unique action-research approach brings together community, students, researchers, and business.  

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  TAPMI TCIG and C Logo 

T.A. Pai Management Institute

Markets 4 Makers: Fostering Tribal Micro-Businesses

Through engagement of the tribal Koraga community, students at T.A. Pai Management Institute facilitate innovation in the entire value chain of the community's basket-weaving craft, from sourcing, product design, and market strategy to the involvement of multisectoral actors to facilitate micro-entrepreneurship.

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 The American University in Cairo School of Business Logo

The American University in Cairo, School of Business

AUC Venture Lab FinTech Accelerator

The AUC Venture Lab FinTech Accelerator supports Egypt’s commitment to financial inclusion and recent focus on digital finance through a customized 16-week program that accelerates high-growth, innovation-driven startups through intensive trainings, specialized coaching, industry mentorship, networking and investment opportunities, access to facilities, and seed funding. 

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The Hebrew University of Jerusalem The Jerusalem School of Business Administration Logo

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Jerusalem School of Business Administration

Biodesign: A Biomedical Academic Accelerator

The Biodesign program develops Israel’s next generation of cutting-edge leadership in biomedical entrepreneurship and technology through a multidisciplinary, team-based approach in which medical staff, engineering students, and business students jointly develop new medical devices.

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 Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Freeman School of Business Tulane University Logo

Tulane University, A.B. Freeman School of Business

Greater New Orleans Startup Report

The Greater New Orleans Startup Report provides data and insights on local startups and is a tool to affect policy, apply for grants, implement relevant programs, and measure success.  

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 Leeds School of Business University of Colorado Boulder Logo

University of Colorado Boulder, Leeds School of Business

Demystifying Entrepreneurship

The Demystifying Entrepreneurship: Rural Colorado workshop series brings Leeds business professors into five regions of rural Colorado to teach innovation and entrepreneurship to current and aspiring entrepreneurs.  

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University of Evansville Logo

University of Evansville, The Schroeder Family School of Business Administration

ACE³: Microfinance Lending Program

The Access to Capital and Expertise for Emerging Entrepreneurs (ACE³) program supports women and minority business enterprises, disadvantaged business enterprises, and small disadvantaged business entities.

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 University of North Carolina Charlotte Belk College of Business Logo

University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Belk College of Business

State of Housing in Charlotte

The State of Housing in Charlotte report is a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the housing markets in the Charlotte region, as well as an overview of recent trends in the market.

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 University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration Logo

University of Northern Iowa, College of Business Administration

Succession Iowa

Succession Iowa is focused on ensuring the long-term viability of small-and-medium-sized enterprises. The program serves as a matchmaker between rural Iowa business owners looking to exit and qualified buyers who can successfully manage these businesses into the future.

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 David Eccles School of Business The University of Utah Logo

University of Utah, David Eccles School of Business

Master of Business Creation

A first-of-its-kind Master of Business Creation program, this specialized, nine-month graduate degree aids founders committed to launching their startup company through curriculum, mentoring, funding, and scholarships.

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