“We are raising our bet on entrepreneurship and innovation”

IESE inaugurates Venture Hub, a new space for entrepreneurs

Prof. Maria Julia Prats, Dean Franz Heukamp and Prof. Pedro Nueno inaugurate the Venture Hub. Photo: Roger Rovira

May 14, 2019

IESE this week inaugurated its Venture Hub, a new space for entrepreneurs that brings under one roof the school’s many activities related to entrepreneurship, from training and research to financing and tech transfer.

At the same time, it celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (EIC), and honored Prof. Pedro Nueno, who, over five decades at IESE, has been a pioneer in teaching entrepreneurship as well as an investor and mentor.

“I can’t say enough about the importance of entrepreneurship for society and for IESE,” said Dean Franz Heukamp at the event. “We are creating this new space in order to raise our bet on the areas of entrepreneurship and innovation.”

“We believe this hub, as its name indicates, will be a place that brings together the entire community of people who in some way are involved in entrepreneurship at IESE,” he added.

Prof. Ma Julia Prats, academic director of the EIC, said the hub would serve as a launching pad for many projects. “Our main goal now is to really create that close-knit and strong network in which entrepreneurs, investors, corporations and society can find everything they need to push forward their new projects.”

Special Recognition for Prof. Pedro Nueno

The event also honored Prof. Nueno, who helped make IESE the first school in Europe to teach entrepreneurship.

Prof. Nueno said he was inspired to dedicate his academic career to entrepreneurship after taking, as a doctoral student, Harvard Business School’s first course on the subject. “I took the course, and I thought, ´This is my life.’”

At a time when many doubted that entrepreneurship constituted an academic subject, Prof. Nueno returned to IESE in 1973 and began crafting a similar course to the one that so inspired him at HBS. But he added the requirement that all students write a business plan as part of the course — and nearly five decades later he is still receiving business plans.

“With this support and effort we teach how to create companies, and very many have been created. It’s a pleasure for me every day to receive a business plan from a student or group of students who want to create something,” he said.

IESE now has more than 20 professors who teach subjects related to entrepreneurship, and Prof. Prats holds the Bertrán Foundation Chair of Entrepreneurship. More than 30% of IESE graduates go on to create a company within five years of graduating from their program.

About the Venture Hub

The activities housed in the Venture Hub include:

  • Research: IESE’s research covers many areas of entrepreneurship, including corporate venturing. In the past 10 years, the EIC has published more than 270 books, academic articles, cases, and studies.
  • Mentoring: The Venture Hub facilitates both one-to-one mentoring and formal mentoring programs like WeGrow, the growth-stage mentoring program of IESE featuring entrepreneurs and mentors.
  • Financing: IESE manages two unique pools of capital to help entrepreneurs – Finaves and the IESE Business Angel Network.
    • Through Finaves, the seed venture capital fund of IESE, nearly €15m has been invested in more than 40 startups founded or managed by IESE alumni. These companies have gone on to create more than 2,500 jobs and generate more than €200m in revenue.
    • Each year the IESE Business Angel Network screens more than 500 business proposals and presents a curated selection of those projects to its approximately 250 members. Collectively this group has invested more than €45m in more than 225 early stage companies.
  • Search funds: IESE’s International Search Fund Center is the world-leading resource for international search fund entrepreneurs and investors interested in this unique niche asset class which enables high potential and entrepreneurially-spirited individuals or partnerships to locate, acquire, manage and grow a privately held company.
  • Legal advice: The Venture Hub facilitates “legal mentorship” to IESE student startups, guiding founders by connecting them to professionals and other resources.
  • Training: The Venture Hub plays host to a wide variety of training programs, workshops, seminars, and roundtables ranging to startup delegations from other countries interested in learning about the Barcelona and broader European startup ecosystem, to bootcamps sponsored by the European Union, to workshops on entrepreneurial financing, prototyping, negotiating, brainstorming, and beyond.
  • Meeting space: The space features a large multi-purpose classroom, smaller meeting rooms and a lounge area.

The Venture Hub has received support from Prof. Nueno, Fundación Renta Corporación, Fundación Damm, Logisfashion and Ence Energia & Celulosa.