ESCP London Campus hosts its 16th Jean-Baptiste Say Entrepreneurship Festival

This summer's event focused on addressing local challenges in Camden

On Friday, 31 May, ESCP Business School London Campus hosted its 16th Jean-Baptiste Say Entrepreneurship Festival. This year the theme of the festival centred around "How Entrepreneurship Can Address Local Challenges in Camden."

Based in West Hampstead, this year the ESCP London Campus decided to focus the Entrepreneurship Festival on leveraging its students' business acumen and creative mindset to support the local community. The MSc in Marketing & Creativity students on the Digital Transformation & Entrepreneurship specialisation track were tasked to come up with business solutions that will help to address various social and environmental issues in the London Borough of Camden community.

The Festival, overseen by Prof. Stela Ivanova, ESCP Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, and supported by the ESCP London Blue Factory incubator, brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to exchange ideas and develop innovative venture solutions to address some of Camden's pressing issues. Students met with representatives from the Camden Council, One Kilburn, Think and Do Camden, and Camden Clean Air, discussing various local challenges in urban development, food access and circularity, community engagement, sustainability, and air quality.

The direction of the Festival this year resulted from collaboration with the Blue Factory, as we discussed the importance of embedding our School in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. We thought, what better way to do so than to direct our biggest resource—our students' talent, creativity and hard work—to address challenges that have local impact and result in self-sufficient and sustainable Camden-based businesses? The students' engagement was high as they could see, meet and interact with the local streets and communities their businesses would serve. Their empathy and connection with the problems were a strong motivator behind their work.

Prof. Stela Ivanova, Assistant Professor of EntrepreneurshipProf. Stela Ivanova
Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship
Students presenting their MVPs at the Entrepreneurship Fair prior to pitching

Over several weeks, student teams, supported by mentors and faculty, worked on developing innovative and actionable solutions to meet the brief. Each team produced an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), identifying opportunities to tackle the presented challenges and developing viable business models to launch them. All projects were open to the public for evaluation, allowing attendees, including alumni and external visitors, to engage with the students and provide critical feedback to help validate and refine their business ideas.

Following a fair-style demonstration, student teams had five minutes to pitch their projects, followed by a three-minute Q&A session with a jury panel. The jury panel consisted of Prof. Ivanova, Andrea Consentino, a Founder & Managing Partner at Impact Fundry, and Tarek Anwar, CEO at Finvelo.

The Jury vote went to the Cambio team: Clara Piazenza, Isolde Steinhagen de Bonnevie, Sampreeti Singha Babu, Romain Jacquet and Megan Jones.

Both the audience and panellists played a crucial role in evaluating the projects, ultimately deciding the winners in two categories: Favourite Venture from the Panel and Favourite Venture from the Audience:

  • The Jury vote went to the Cambio team: Clara Piazenza, Isolde Steinhagen de Bonnevie, Sampreeti Singha Babu, Romain Jacquet and Megan Jones. The team's solution provided a marketplace for local NGO projects and companies on a smart platform where participants can visibly track and measure their impact on the chosen project.
  • The public vote went to Refeed: Paul Gedda, Saloni Gupta, Jordana Jooyeon Kim and Laura Daniela Perez Rincon. Their venture idea focused on recycling food waste in return for gardening compost, allowing participating households to sustainably address their gardening needs.

Other student projects included introducing a fresh and healthy food vending machine; job application services for retired senior-level professionals who are not quite ready to settle into full retirement yet; and a coworking and incubation space that would revitalise Kilburn.

The public vote went to Refeed: Paul Gedda, Saloni Gupta, Jordana Jooyeon Kim and Laura Daniela Perez Rincon.

Initially I was a bit puzzled why a business school wanted to engage with us, but then it became clear that there was a genuine interest to offer help and support while at the same time offering an entrepreneurial opportunity to the students. This also came at the perfect time for us as we are transitioning to becoming London Clean Air and actively discussing our business development plans. I'll admit we were expecting a different interpretation of the challenge but, while the students haven't fully addressed the brief, they hit the nail on the head on another big problem NGOs have, which is matching buyers and sellers in the services space – for example NGOs needing free accounting services and corporates offering pro-bono work towards that. Overall, it was a useful and positive experience, which we would be delighted to repeat.

Valeria Pensabene, Community Manager at Camden Clean AirValeria Pensabene
Community Manager at Camden Clean Air

The event also featured an inspiring keynote talk by Thierry Moschetti, Co-Founder and Managing Partner Europe of the Resilience Institute. Thierry shared insights into shaping your resilience, mastering stresses and focus, and energising yourself for daily success. Following the session, students will also be able to access his resilience assessment test to understand how to best onboard on their own resilience-building journeys.

The festival concluded with a networking session, allowing students, alumni, and local business leaders to connect and discuss potential collaborations.

Taking part in the Jean-Baptiste Say Entrepreneurship Festival was an incredibly rewarding experience for us. Not only did it allow us to put our new skills into practice, but it also gave us the opportunity to get involved and give back to our local Camden community. We are grateful to Camden Clean Air (soon to be London Clean Air) and the many other NGOs, businesses, and individuals in the Camden area for their invaluable support in this project. As the name of our business Cambio stems from the Latin work for 'change', we hope this is what we will achieve.

Romain Jacquet, MSc in Marketing & Creativity studentRomain Jacquet
on behalf of the whole Cambio student team

The Jean-Baptiste Say Entrepreneurship Festival continues to be a flagship event for ESCP Business School, fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, innovative problem-solving, and community engagement. It underscores ESCP Business School’s commitment to nurturing purpose-driven leaders who can make a positive impact on society by addressing both social and environmental challenges. View photos from the event

The next Jean-Baptiste Say Entrepreneurship Festival will take place in November 2024.