From Entrepreneurship to Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Why must we care? What must we do?

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From Entrepreneurship to Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Why must we care? What must we do?
From the Edited Volume
Edited By:
Dr. Nicoleta Gaciu


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that road safety is a pre-requisite to ensuring healthy lives, promoting wellbeing, and making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. The Sustainable Development Goals 2030 or SDGs 2030 are a roadmap for humanity. They encompass almost every aspect of human and planetary wellbeing and, if met, will provide a stable and prosperous life for every person and ensure the planet’s health. Unfortunately, for the first time in a hundred years, the world is focused on a common goal: beating coronavirus. The Covid-19 pandemic forces Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to revisit their values and design a new era of development that truly balances economic, social, and environmental progress as envisioned by the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. While the core problems will vary among HEIs, there are some characteristics of the Entrepreneurship course that provide opportunities in such a way to engage students in promoting SDGs. This study aims to inspire universities in Indonesia to take action and support them through their research, learning, and teaching, and community services or as known as “Tri Darma Perguruan Tinggi” and “Kampus Merdeka.” It does this by offering a schematic representation of the newly developed 6-credit course and illustrates the learning communities that may promote awareness about SDGs, which employ interdisciplinary, action-based learning and multi-actor involvement and go beyond usual operations.


entrepreneurship, sustainable entrepreneurship, “Tri Darma Perguruan Tinggi”, “Kampus Merdeka”, Sustainable Development Goals


I feel that the key skill gained was knowing when to exercise my own initiative and knowing when I needed to seek expert advice and help. (Lubis, 2004, p. 243)

I know what to do and how to create something rather than replicate information I learned in the classroom; I know this project assignment is meant to explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire deeper knowledge. (Lubis, 2011, p. 11)

My seniors told me that they learned about entrepreneurship as well as teamwork from the “Walkabout” project. Yes, I did have similar learning experiences as they did. This “Walkabout” project engaged my team in a challenging real-life task. (Lubis & Kusumadewi, 2015, p. 11)

Before I can begin promoting environmentally-friendly start-up businesses in my own start-up process, I must first make sure that I have a thorough understanding of legal requirements.(Lubis, 2016, p. 440)

I think what is really important is how the HEIs promote “Making Indonesia 4.0” to the world to show how strong an ecosystem the HEIs have and how good the digital opportunities are to start a digital business here in Indonesia. (Lubis, 2019b, p. 189)


The abovementioned quotes illustrate the students’ progress in higher education at Telkom University, Bandung city Indonesia – who enrolled in entrepreneurship courses – but they also represent the learning process. It also illustrates that complex real-world problems can promote the development of critical thinking skills and provide opportunities for the students to address whatever challenges come their way. Sixteen years after the first study of Entrepreneurship Education (EE) in 2004, the author noted that the entrepreneurship course at Telkom University is an enjoyable and engaging way to learn and develop learning-competences for students’ future professional and personal life. Meanwhile, Bhatia & Levina (2020) argued that entrepreneurship course is a vital part of the global economy’s recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Following this line of thought, Ratten (2020) explained that entrepreneurship educators are facing increasing expectations to swiftly adapt their programs and approaches to support enhanced entrepreneurship skills development. For example, the incorporation of enhanced technology for innovation and the exchange of good practices to create experiential entrepreneurial learning environments that support social distancing requirements (Ratten, 2020).

Historically, entrepreneurs operated in service solely to their financial bottom line. However, due to the Sustainable Entrepreneurship (SE) theory and application, some entrepreneurs are increasingly aware of and adopting practices that help minimize environmental impact. To this day, the SE theory has gained special attention because it has undergone a long way from the phrase of “business as usual,” “double bottom line” to “triple bottom line” (Elkington, 1994; Anderson, 1998; Isaak, 1998; Keogh & Polonsky, 1998; Pastakia, 1998; Elkington, 1999; Hart & Christensen, 2002, Slaper & Hall, 2011; Elkington, 2018). Previous studies have adopted the notion that SE is the phrase to gain a deeper understanding of environmental, social, and commercial logic (Hall, et al., 2010; Pacheco, et al., 2010; York & Venkataraman, 2010; Tata, et al., 2013). Different methods are adopted in SE, ranging from quantitative to qualitative and mixed research methodologies. Gast et al. (2017) applied for a systematic evidence-informed literature review on a sample of 114 articles published between 1996 and 2015. Their main contribution was the description of a novel framework based on identifying six clusters and ten sub-themes reflecting the core principles of the classic entrepreneurship process. According to the authors, “the six clusters identified in the literature review indicate that research in sustainable ecological entrepreneurship mirrors the well-established process of entrepreneurship: opportunity discovery, creation, and exploitation” (Gast et al., 2017, p. 52). Despite its relevance and conceptual appeal, the conditions, processes, features, and outcomes that are distinct this form of entrepreneurship are yet to be defined (see, e.g., Cohen & Winn, 2007; Dean & McMullen, 2007; Shepherd & Patzelt, 2011; Pinna, 2020). The author noted that SE built upon the concept of global issues and began to transform for exploiting opportunities while simultaneously seeking economic, social, and environmental interests.

Meanwhile, the HEIs are broadly known as solutions essential in understanding environmental, social, and commercial logic over the past several years. Some studies strongly argued that HEIs are the ideal environment to prepare the mindset of future sustainable entrepreneurs and capable of developing specific competencies. HEIs have taken a step further by creating a learning environment with practices that help minimize environmental impact and enhance SE among students (see, e.g., Lans et al., 2014; Cincera et al., 2018; Fichter & Tiemann, 2018).

The interest of academics in sustainability in management and business education contributes to the literature on integrating sustainability in HEIs. Some previous studies include Roome, 2005; Benn and Dunphy, 2009; Porter and Cordoba, 2009; Rands, 2009; and Walker et al., 2009. The author noted that in June 2009, the Journal of Management Education published a special issue on the topic “Greening and Sustainability Across the Management Curriculum.” Rusinko and Sama (2009) stated that one of the summary messages from contributors, both academics and practitioners, was the need to integrate sustainability in management education across business schools. In addition to this, Rusinko (2010) illustrated a matrix of options for integrating sustainability in management and business education. The matrix provides a framework for action with options for integrating sustainability and includes advantages, disadvantages, and recommendations for using each option. This view has led to a growing interest in developing management and business education programs that encourage and enhance SE in different ways. For example, campus operations and often within their curriculum, which often lead to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More management and business schools are engaging in and contributing to the SDGs. The author noted that over 800 business and management schools worldwide are signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). This PRME was founded in 2007 as a platform to raise the profile of sustainability and responsible management in business and management schools and other management-related higher education institutions. The PRME initiative has been a driving force for change since its conception. Its mission has been to grow the community beyond national borders, regions, and continents. Under the coordination of the UN Global Compact and leading academic institutions, the PRME task force developed a set of “Six Principles” (UNPRME, 2021a). Through the “Six Principles” of Purpose, Values, Methods, Research, Partnerships, and Dialogue, PRME seeks to guide business and management schools as well as other management-related higher education institutions toward sustainability-focused curricula and building responsible managers of the future (UNPRME, 2021b). In addition to this, the UN clearly stated that “At the center of PRME is target SDG 4.7 – to ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development”, which often leads to ESD and SDGs (United Nations, 2021a).

Unfortunately, with the sudden impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent necessity to ensure physical distance, HEIs found themselves in different states of preparation for such a challenge, beginning with the professors’ mindset to aspects related to pedagogy and usage technology. For instance, in April 2020, UNESCO assessed the impact of Covid-19 on HEIs in terms of remote learning strategies, platforms, admissions, assessments, research activities, networking, and student support (UNESCO, 2021). Many HEIs worldwide are preparing for a safe and effective learning environment. Consequently, business and management schools have their ideas about what learner factors, learning environment characteristics, and learning activities contribute to real-life sustainability challenges as part of the strategic direction for preparing the mindset of future sustainable entrepreneurs.

To prepare the mindset of future sustainable entrepreneurs, the author conducted action research in the field of EE and reported the development of students’ know-how, skills, and the enhancement of entrepreneurial attitude and intention to solve social and environmental problems (Lubis, 2013). A few years later, mixed methods which combine semi-structured interviews and surveys were adopted to illustrate learning activities, which employ interdisciplinary, action-based learning, and multi-actor involvement in the context of ESD and SDG 4 “Quality Education” (Lubis, 2019; Lubis & Ghina, 2020). Previous findings have shown a connection between environmental health, social wellbeing, financial success, and resilience. The importance of sustainability in management and business education has adopted the approach in measuring impact and success. However, there is still some way to understand its meaningfully. The author found more ways to research SE that can identify and expand our knowledge of this topic. In this respect, the author argued, “Perhaps, research collaboration from all over the world is the answer” (Lubis, 2019, p. 64). However, uncertainty and the rapidly changing situation of the pandemic Covid-19, this challenging period defines the outlook for the initiative shortly and beyond. In this context, ESD and SDG 4 are crucial advancers of SE by being a source of knowledge transmission, acquisition, and creation. HEIs need such education that recognizes SE as a concept in progress. The author noted that conceptualize SE as a complete discipline of study that will emphasize knowledge development and desired knowledge and skill, which virtually inspire an educated youth to embrace SE as a career by choice.

On the other hand, 2020 marks the “Decade of Action,” which calls for accelerated sustainable solutions to the world’s most significant challenges, such as climate change, poverty, gender inequality, and the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a call on all sectors of society, including the private sector, academia, youth, and civil society, among other key stakeholders. Perhaps more importantly, educating the next generation to participate in global challenges within their local context to see the relevance to their everyday lives is crucial for advancing the UN’s SDGs. Following this line of thought and in response to the call for the understanding of lessons learned by management and business education in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the author saw an opportunity to empower students by combining the subject content of sustainability development studies and incorporating the SDGs framework.

Therefore, the purpose of this study is to build on existing work (see, e.g., Lubis, 2013; Lubis, 2016; Lubis, 2019a; Lubis, 2019b; Lubis & Ghina, 2020) and to explore the nurturing learning environment for SE theory and application at Tel-U, which located in Bandung City Indonesia. The connections from the previous findings to this study lead the author to the idea of proposing a conceptual model to establish the initiative as a critical driver of accelerating “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and “Making Indonesia 4.0”. The new digital platforms might help determine the variables essential for a particular study in business and management schools around Indonesia. For example, SDG Tracker (2018), SDGs Indonesia (2020), SDG Accord (2021), SDG Action (2021), Sustainable Development Goals Help Desk (2021), UN SDG:Learn (2021). With just ten years to go, as known as “Decade of Action” (United Nations, 2021b), the author has designed the newly developed elective course on sustainability aspects of entrepreneurship for the students of the Graduate Management program at Telkom University (Tel-U). This newly developed 6-credit course aims to show the actual picture of what is happening and discuss the lessons learned from online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic and the pressing need to understand the strategic direction for preparing the mindset of the future sustainable entrepreneurs.

The greatest desire of the author is to catalyze the dialogue among educators and higher education policymakers from all around the world. They might want to promote sustainability in management and business education, which employ interdisciplinary capacity building, action-based learning, multi-actor involvement, exchange of experiences, and which go beyond usual operations. In doing so, this study explores various concerns the author encountered in designing this course. Some of these concerns were of fundamental structural issues raised by the institute, and some of them were operational, which the students raised. Some of them were philosophical, which the author started deliberating with students. These concerns will address in subsequent parts of this paper.

  • Should management students be exposed to entrepreneurial opportunities associated with sustainable entrepreneurship?
  • How is entrepreneurship different from sustainable entrepreneurship?
  • What should be the objectives, which this course aims to achieve?
  • What should be the contents of this course?
  • How do we justify such content?

These questions will answer in subsequent parts of this paper. They would conclude with a conceptual model, which the author has developed for this newly developed elective course on sustainability aspects of entrepreneurship. Furthermore, those series of questions may also be the starting point of a long journey. Perhaps the journey has only just begun. Nevertheless, the author believes that the more we do, the more we learn to support the realization of the “Decade of Action.” However, this study has some assumptions and limitations:

  1. The author is restricting the scope of this study only to the students of the Graduate Management program at Tel-U. Nonetheless, this might also extend to other business and management schools, where the faculty member is free to decide on the curriculum and content, evaluation parameters, and deliver the program. Furthermore, this does not extend to the typical university system, where a board of studies designs the syllabus, the delivery is by professors of the colleges affiliated with the university, and the university’s examination department conducts the examination. This newly developed elective course would not work in such a setup for various reasons elaborated later.
  2. The author has relied on the data available purely on the Web sites of other business and management schools regarding the courses offered.
  3. This study is preliminary research work. The author is carrying out an extensive analysis of the prior literature and data collected from United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (UNPRME).

Review of Literature

Entrepreneurship in Management and Business Education

Entrepreneurship Education (EE) is in the business area, which meant that mainly business school students or those studying management/business administration were exposed to it. At that stage, entrepreneurship was regarded as a higher education subject and only offered lower education levels as part of vocational training (Ball, 1989). The dominant motive for implementing EE was to enable and facilitate social and economic transformation. The educators are responsible for the transformation, who had to design courses and programs without supporting their teaching with sound research. In the 1980s and 1990s, entrepreneurship and small business started to flourish. The trend reflects a higher interest in teaching entrepreneurship in academia. According to Vesper (1993), in 1968, only four schools were offering this type of education, 16 in 1970 but 370 in 1993. Solomon et al. (1994) report that schools grew from 263 in 1979 to 1,400 in 1992. The studies by Solomon et al. and Vesper differ in terms of the type of courses/programs taken into consideration, but both show an unprecedented high growth of EE.

Meanwhile, Katz (2003, p. 286-290) provides a 100plus-item chronology of EE in the USA from 1876 through 1999. Another significant event for the legitimization of EE was a conference held at Harvard University in 1985 titled “Entrepreneurship: Whar It is and How to Teach It.” According to Fayolle (2013), in addition to the growing community of EE scholars, another sign of the maturity of a field is its ability to look inward and critically investigate its progress and direction by questioning taken-for-granted norms and assumptions.

Despite the unquestionable progress in EE as a field of study, there is still a growing gap between EE’s demand for and growth and what is known to work effectively in EE. For the author, reflecting on the experience of working with one of the HEIs in Indonesia since 2001 as the educator of EE, the author believes that the top levels of impact measures of EE in HEIs should occur at the level of the institutions’ philosophical approach, rather than the techniques and practices they employ (Nugroho, 2012). Doing so may lead to solid arguments as to why the EE in HEIs should not be standardized based on expectations that the students’ learning will contribute directly to the local economies. In other words, it is essential to study the unique close link between socio-economic reality and an academic agenda from both historical and research perspectives. Such exploration provides a better understanding of the field of EE and its evolution. The author argued that “there are three major elements that collectively should contribute to a deeper appreciation of EE at HEIs in Indonesia and those three elements explained in the phrase of Inspiration for Innovative Indonesia, which illustrate as The Triple-I Learning Model of Entrepreneurship Education in Indonesia” (Lubis, 2015).

The historical context and its development have influenced how EE perceives itself. Many intellectuals and scholars have criticized it. Rose (1996) and Erkkilä (2000) argued that EE has started to be seen as a mouthpiece to promote capitalism connected to neoliberalism. However, at the same time, EE has been put into a situation where it needs to respond to numerous social needs. For example, preparing students to contribute to economic growth by creating their businesses and building students’ entrepreneurial awareness and confidence and their responsibility for the consequences of entrepreneurial actions.

Moreover, the triple helix model of innovation initiated by Etzkowitz (1993) and Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff (1995) only further popularized and institutionalized university-industry-government cooperation and introduced the idea of a third mission of the university, based on the commercialization of academic output and cooperation with the world outside academia. Entrepreneurship started to appear in the classroom in the form of courses or programs and through an umbrella concept, the “entrepreneurial university,” aimed at applying entrepreneurship in each aspect of higher education, where HEIs focused on opening up the university to industry and business. HEIs are entrepreneurial, and EE is a perfect mass intervention to achieve that.

World Economic Forum (2009, p.65) reported the evaluating quality, effectiveness, and impact of entrepreneurship in higher education. In the eyes of policymakers, the results of EE are relatively easy to test, such as the number of new companies set up by students or alumni or by measuring the growth of entrepreneurial intentions among students exposed to this type of education. For a scholar trained in education science, evaluating education through such measures is problematic both content-wise and method-wise and often contrary to the demand from students in the learning process, especially as a long-term outcome. Parallel to the debate about where EE should place, the World Economic Forum (2009) model has convinced the author that EE’s levels of impact measures should be controlled and monitored based on Level 3, Level 2, and Level 1, as shown in Figure 6.1.

Figure 6.1. Principal levels of impact measures of higher education entrepreneurship activities (Reproduced from World Economic Forum, 2009, p. 65)

When considering methods to evaluate the long-term impact of EE, the author put “the voices of the students for growth and progress” as a prelude to this study. A few examples illustrate the positive impacts emanating from EE delivered at the Tel-U (see, e.g., Lubis, 2004, p. 243; Lubis, 2011, p. 11; Lubis & Kusumadewi, 2015, p. 11; Lubis, 2016, p. 440; Lubis, 2019b, p. 189). Two studies conducted in Tel-U, one of which had a considerable longitudinal element, also concluded that, over time, benefits derive from the entrepreneurial project (Lubis & Kusumadewi, 2015). However, the ability of EE conducted in Tel-U to elicit entrepreneurial opportunities associated with sustainable entrepreneurship will be highly dependent on the quality and appropriateness of the program delivered.

Meanwhile, in addition to the design and implementation of EE in HEIs for the Indonesian context, Nugroho (2012, p. 65) described the “WHAT-WHO-WHERE-HOW” or “3W1H” aspects which adapted from the WEF model (World Economic Forum, 2009, p. 11). The evolution and effectiveness of EE in the context of Indonesia are closely associated with the changes made in these “3W1H” design parameters, which have led to periodic innovations in the content, methodology, target groups, and the levels of the programs. In other words, EE’s evolution and effectiveness also bring out a different perspective on the phenomenon. For example, EE creates new acronyms, such as womenpreneur, digipreneur, creativepreneur, garudaprenuer, creaveteneur, to name a few; which do not even make sense and may lead to “the big problems with the word entrepreneur and entrepreneurship in Bahasa Indonesia” (Lubis, 2019b, p. 169).

In general, the last four decades have been a time of positive movement towards legitimizing entrepreneurship education as a research field as teaching practice in business and management schools. The number of entrepreneurship courses specializations and degrees is rising at an unprecedented rate worldwide, and the demand for entrepreneurship education instructors and teachers is constantly growing. For example, Class Central (2021) provides a search engine and reviews site for free online courses, popularly known as MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses. It states that “Common reasons to study Entrepreneurship online with the best classes from Coursera, edX, FutureLearn, and Udacity include: Earning an Entrepreneurship certificate; Learn Entrepreneurship for free or at low cost.” As Landström (2020) explains, the early growth of courses in the US was also the result of the extensive resources invested in EE programs. In addition, some communities organize space to publish their research findings. Journals entirely devoted to entrepreneurial education are becoming established with the newly launched Journal of Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy. However, more mature outlets have also published research on the topic and organized recurring special issues such as Education + Training, Journal of Small Business and Management, and Industry and Higher Education. It is also worth mentioning the books published in a series by Edward Elgar, such as the Annals of Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy and the Handbook of Research in Entrepreneurship Education.

Sustainable Entrepreneurship in Management and Business Education

A growing body of literature has focused on Sustainable Entrepreneurship (SE) in the global economy. The SE includes its diverse nature with various types and sizes that span different industries. Sustainable enterprises often act as a way of fostering the development of social capital in a community. The SE is the consequence of management styles and aspirations. As a result, the concept of SE means different things depending on the context, and SE is subject to interpretation. The complexity of SE requires good planning skills and an ability to think strategically. In short, SE is a dynamic concept. The SE has adapted to a more holistic view of caring for future generations in different ways. The SE makes it an excellent topic to study because of its linkages to anthropology, economics, business management, sociology, and tourism.

In October 2006, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio USA, during the three-day Global Forum “Business as an Agent of World Benefit: Management Knowledge Leading Positive Change,” the academic stakeholders of the UN Global Compact recommended the idea of the development of a principle-based global engagement platform for academic institutions. In 2007, The Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) had developed by an international task force of sixty deans, university presidents, and official representatives of leading business schools and academic institutions (UNPRME, 2021a). PRME works based on “Six Principles” as the foundation, as shown in Figure 6.2.

Figure 6.2. The PRME Six Principles (

The PRME is a voluntary initiative whose impact depends on its inspiring institutions to address the issues raised in the “Six Principles” by rewarding them with recognition and reputational advantages from their efforts. The PRME encourages business and management schools to strengthen their engagement with sustainability and integrate sustainability into their teaching, research, and community engagement. PRME requires a statement of support from the head of the signatory organization and that this commitment is the biennial reporting expected of participants. The PRME recognizes the importance of senior leadership endorsement but does not preclude that actual responsibility devolved to others or that action still relies on wider initiative ownership within adopting institutions.

Since 2011, PRME has provided stories in their PRiMEtime blog and has been a source of knowledge and peer-learning for faculty, researchers of business and management schools. According to Weybrecht (2019a), the SDGs state at a much higher frequency in 2018, and “this means that the SDGs increasingly had discussed in connection with programs, partnerships, curriculum, operations, strategy, and other activities that business schools undertake.” However, Weybrecht has found that not enough business and management schools recognize their role in SDGs and do not connect to a school’s strategy or operations, and students are not engaged enough. The PRME “Outcomes Declaration” during the 2015 Global Forum for Responsible Management – 6th PRME Assembly clearly stated the path forward for management education and business to shape and achieve the global sustainable development agenda and the SDGs (PRME, 2015). Following this, Jonas Haertle, Head of the PRME Secretariat, described PRME as a “Network of Networks” to illustrate the role of the regional PRME Chapters, the PRME Champions group, the PRME Working Groups, and the PRME Steering Committee members to engage better PRME signatories (PRME Secretariat, 2016, p. 8). The PRME “Annual Report 2018-2019 & 2000 Outlook” helps the author to understand and see if those business and management schools are aware of and engaging in the global sustainable development agenda. Furthermore, what actions they are taking toward achieving them and how they transform management education, research, and thought leadership globally while developing learning communities and promoting awareness about the SDGs, as illustrated in Figure 6.3.

Figure 6.3. The PRME Engagement Model (UNPRME, 2021b, p. 23)

Additionally, the PRME initiative has identified opportunities to empower students to support and advance the SDGs from their Signatory schools. The PRME “Annual Report 2018-2019 & 2000 Outlook” (UNPRME, 2021b, p. 21) reported in more detail the student engagement, noting that:

Student engagement is at the core of PRME. Today’s youth will be the leaders of tomorrow, and their role will be pivotal in tackling the development challenges of the 21st Century. Their involvement will be crucial to advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Business students, in particular, will be vital in addressing these challenges through their involvement in the private sector.

While the pandemic Covid-19 presented considerable challenges to the PRME Signatory schools, PRME brought together students and companies to collaborate on innovative solutions to real-life sustainability challenges as part of the PRME Innovation Challenge. The core ambition of the collaboration project to engage students with the SDGs and company contributions to sustainability goals was achieved, with both institutions and students finding value in the learning experience. Another initiative spearheaded by the PRME Latin America and Caribbean chapter is the PRME LAC Student Ambassador Training Program by the University of São Paulo, Brazil. The initiative brings experts, academics, representatives of the private sector, and students from all over the region to discuss the blueprint for integrating the SDGs and the Covid-19 scenarios. This training program consists of 10 weeks through a virtual platform in the PRME Working Groups and various workshops led by academic leaders in various areas of knowledge relevant to the global agenda for sustainable development (University of São Paulo, 2021).

In terms of growth, PRME noted a steady interest by business and management schools in engaging with the Six Principles, evidenced by the 132 new PRME Signatures in 2018-2019 (UNPRME, 2021b). Nonetheless, it is also necessary to note that Indonesia has only two signatories in the PRME initiative, namely the School of Business and Management (SBM), Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) since 2016 and Faculty of Economics and Business, Muhammadiyah University since 2018.

Although publications relating to PRME only emerged some years after the initiative’s announcement, research into the provision of “responsible management education” and the SDGs has spurred an ongoing discussion. The “Six Principles” are themselves promoting change compared with recognizing action that has already been taken or simply being an endpoint that does not stimulate actual change. This question arises because the risk of “bluewashing” identifies as a potential outcome given that compliance, not audit and reporting obligations on signatory institutions, are not onerous (Waddock et al., 2011). Reference to “bluewashing” rather than “greenwashing” alludes to the blue UN flag and the incentive that may exist for institutions to seek the prestige of affiliation to the UN more than the commitment to substantive action (Rache, 2012). This issue arises because it is now comparatively easy for institutions to point to ways that sustainability is influencing their activity. For example, “green campus” initiatives affecting building construction and renovation, transportation, waste management, and water use had been implemented in many parts of the world by the mid-2000s. In the context of HEIs in Indonesia, the author explained that “Back in April 2010, Universitas Indonesia has officially established the Universitas Indonesia GreenMetric of World Universities or UI GreenMetric. The main aim of this ranking is to provide a profile for and way of comparing the commitment of universities towards going green and promoting sustainable operation” (Lubis, 2016, p. 410). Indeed, HEIs are the ideal environment to prepare the mindset of future sustainable entrepreneurs. In this vein, Biberhofer et al. (2018) found that Universities should adopt an action-oriented process view that empowers future entrepreneurs by developing their knowledge of values and worldviews, competencies, and opportunities to boost their future work performance.

Meanwhile, SE is the new field of study that bridges entrepreneurship theory and sustainable development. For instance, Dean and McMullen (2007) articulated the domain of SE by explaining how entrepreneurship can help solve environmental problems in global socio-economic systems. Similarly, entrepreneurship can solve environmental problems by helping extant institutions achieve their goals and by creating new, more environmentally sustainable products, services, and institutions (York & Venkataraman, 2010). Understanding the concepts relating to SDGs in management and business education is necessary to research practice within SE. The author agrees with Boni et al. (2016) that university is not excellent only for cutting-edge research. The SDG declaration states that collaboration will require the implication of “all countries, all stakeholders and all people” (United Nations, 2015). In this sense, there is no doubt that HEIs are crucial for achieving the “Decade of Action” (see, e.g., Weybrecht, 2021a; Weybrecht, 2021b).

However, in the context of this recent study, the author does not set out to provide a comprehensive review of what constitutes sustainable development attributes or practices as this is being done in previous studies (see, e.g., Lubis, 2019a; Lubis & Ghina, 2020). Although the results of the previous studies cannot extrapolate universally, it shows a specific trend that may be of interest to university governing bodies, academics, and all agents committed to implementing the “Decade of Action.” To the author’s best knowledge, activities related to different fields are on the fundamental principle of the “Tri Darma Perguruan Tinggi” or the three pillars of HEIs in Indonesia, namely education, research, and community services. Meanwhile, the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic illustrated the importance of preparing students to face an increasingly complex, uncertain world. To this end, the author explores how the concept of SE creates a lot of new windows and tremendous opportunities for promoting the “Decade of Action” to the students of the Graduate Management program at Tel-U. The author believes that the difficult times during the Covid-19 pandemic are about reflecting on learning and teaching, which may lead to preparing the mindset of future sustainable entrepreneurs.

Promotion and Teaching of Sustainable Entrepreneurship in Graduate Management program at Tel-U

The author understands that Tel-U has a crucial role in achieving SDGs. The university committed to going green and promoting sustainable operation by making some significant changes to make the university more environmentally friendly (Tel-U Green Campus, 2021). To understand this condition, it helps to present the web content as clearly stated:

Tel-U is one of the universities worldwide that is committed to managing its environment on its university. Tel-U has been following this Greenmetric UI since 2014, and since then, Tel-U’s ranking has been going up.(Tel0-U International Office, 2017)

Various reforestation efforts have been carried out, such as planting trees and constructing 1000 bio-pore infiltration wells on this 50-hectare campus. Tel-U also has a reasonably high water infiltration, aided by a stretch of green land in the campus area and an infiltration lake or familiarly known as Techno Lake. In addition, various green technology implementations continue to be developed, such as producing electric vehicles for student transportation on campus and campus security patrols. (Tel-U International Office, 2020)

From 2017 to 2020, Tel-U received an achievement from the UI GreenMetric, in which Tel-U ranks as the ninth greenest campus in Indonesia. To this end, it is essential to provide information that supplements the quotes above text, as shown in Figure 6.4. Up to this point, it is clear that Tel-U can contribute to the construction of SE in the context of management and business education, therefore, to continue the “Decade of Action” for the years to come.

Figure 6.4. Tel-U UI GreenMetric ranking in 2017 and 2020 (Tel-U Green Campus, 2021)

In the previous studies, some authors have pointed out that the knowledge of SDGs among university students is minimal, and the adoption of SDGs is not as fast as expected (Landaoe, 2020; Puteri 2020; Pusparani, 2021). The findings show that there is much to be done at the university level to promote SDGs, and collaborative work of all actors will be required. Although the results of these previous studies cannot extrapolate universally, they show a particular trend that may be of interest to university governing bodies, academics, and all agents committed to implementing the “Decade of Action.”

The author noted that the new paradigm of SE for SDGs had arisen recently. As highlighted earlier, entrepreneurship educators face increasing expectations to swiftly adapt their programs and approaches to support enhanced entrepreneurship skills development. The increasingly complex real-world problems use as the vehicle to motivate students to address whatever challenges come their way (see, e.g., Lubis, 2013; Lubis, 2016; Lubis, 2019a; Lubis, 2019b; Lubis & Ghina, 2020). The author noted that it does not have an exact definition. It includes several key concepts that should define before finding out the relationship between SE and SDGs. For example, Pinna (2020, p.3) summarizes the most popular definitions of SE in chronological order. According to the author, “this is the first study that provides a complete view of sustainable entrepreneurship based on a review that relies on both objective and subjective approaches” (Pinna, 2020, p. 2). The study provides a broad and multifaceted assessment of the progress of the discipline over the past two decades. It focuses on the key themes of the progress of the discipline over the past two decades by focusing on the critical themes of extant research and highlighting good research gaps to investigate in future studies (Pinna, 2020, p. 2).

However, although SE has received considerable and increasing interest from academics, practitioners, and institutions over the last ten years, there remains substantial room for further academic inquiry. In the context of this study, what is currently missing in the EE in graduate management program at Tel-U are as follows:

  • How to recognize and achieve business opportunities that harmonize economic, social, and environmental goals to analyze the positive and negative factors that can influence students’ intention to create a sustainable venture.
  • How to develop and validate a generalizable model of SE that has the potential to be applied across a considerable number of industries and countries (both around Indonesia and ASEAN countries) to how business incubators can support sustainable start-ups.

Contents of the Course

The general pattern of learning activities in EE is in favor of project-based learning. There can be many variations on the level and objectives of the course. In a study of Tel-U, the author collected data from undergraduate and graduate levels of education in management and business course, which have been conducting EE from 2004 to 2021. The pedagogy used for undergraduate levels was different. The most commonly used in-class method for the undergraduate level is the lecture, followed by creating business plans, discussions, case studies, and guest speakers (Lubis & Kusumadewi, 2015). The most common in-class methods used for the graduate level are research projects, lectures, discussions, and case studies (Lubis & Ghina, 2020). The findings show that the level of a program is closely related to the focus of the content. For example, in an undergraduate program, students may try to impart knowledge “about” entrepreneurship (Lubis, 2004; Lubis, 2011; Lubis, 2004; Lubis, 2013; Lubis, 2015; Lubis & Kusumadewi, 2015), whereas in a graduate program, the focus would be on motivating the students “for” entrepreneurship (Lubis, 2019b; Lubis & Ghina, 2020). Thus, the role of sustainability in graduate management program emerged or, in other words, SE as a newly developed 6-credit course that may fill the existing gap in the graduate management program at Tel-U to support the realization of the “Decade of Action.”

Following this line of thought, the author proposes a conceptual model for the SE course in the graduate management program at Tel-U, adapted from The PRME Engagement Model (UNPRME, 2021b, p. 23), as shown in Figure 6.5. This SE course should follow the PRME Engagement Model (UNPRME, 2021b, p. 23) and Tel-U’s vision as a commitment to knowledge creation and education that supports the national program called “Kampus Merdeka.” The term “Kampus Merdeka” is the Ministry of Education (MoE) Republic of Indonesia’s framework for HEIs. The goal is to embed responsibility and sustainability in education, research, and campus practices for managing the complex challenges faced by businesses and society around Indonesia (Kementerian Pendidikan, Kebudayaan, Riset, dan Teknologi RI, 2021). The content of the course should embrace an integrated approach by designing a course with learning objectives and a holistic approach to the realization of the “Decade of Action.” The course would aim to equip the students with knowledge of the SE and the skill of applying SDGs in the “Tri Darma Perguruan Tinggi” setting. Having set the objectives of the SE course, the author feels that the following contents could be appropriate for lectures, discussions, and case studies (equivalent to a total of 3 credits) and continue with the research projects (equivalent to a total of 3 credits).

Figure 6.5. The main concept developed for the SE course in the graduate management program at Tel-U (Icon credits:;internalTel-U;

Figure 6.5 shows a schematic representation of the newly developed 6-credit course and illustrates the learning communities that may lead to promoting awareness about SDGs. In order to extend and bridge the gap between in-class methods and the increasingly complex real-world problems, this SE course needs to generate a space for discussion among researchers, professors, graduate students, doctoral students, SDGs Provincial, SDGs Center, and SDGs Indonesian Global Compact Network (IGCN). This discussion aims to coordinate the work among stakeholders to provide briefing and updates on recent activities and structure the 3-credit course research projects for the students who enrolled in the SE course in the graduate management program at Tel-U. The students will work towards the PRME “Six Principles” and the programmatic work of the SDGs Provincial, SDGs Center, and SDGs IGCN in order to scale up opportunities for Tel-U and “Kampus Merdeka” of MoE as well as to get involved and support the work on the realization of the “Decade of Action.”

The author understands that the promotion and teaching of SE at university should understand within a broader concept of the PRME “Six Principles.” Teaching and promoting the SE require the development of the PRME “Six Principles” in students; these principles must be worked on through the “Tri Darma Perguruan Tinggi” setting – education, research, and community services – and they must evaluate. In order to design a teaching-learning process for SE based on the PRME “Six Principles,” it is necessary to know the students’ previous knowledge, background, and motivations. To this extent, the PRME “Six Principles” of a newly developed 6-credit SE course can put into broad learning outcomes based on SE review of literature which is pertinent to the needs of the current global “Decade of Action” and imperative for students of higher education to assimilate. These may be bracketed under the personal qualities of employability skills by prospective employers as relevant to the various industries and countries (both around Indonesia and ASEAN countries) and for sustainable entrepreneurs’ start-ups. Table 6.1 elaborates the learning outcomes for every element of the PRME “Six Principles.”

Table 6.1. Learning outcomes of the PRME “Six Principles”

Elements of the

PRME “Six Principles”

Learning Outcomes
Purpose ·      Learners should be able to develop their capabilities to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society and work for an inclusive and sustainable global economy.

·      Learners should be able to display good developmental levels themselves.

Values ·      Learners should be able to display understanding and confident use of the values of global social responsibility.

·      Learners should be sensitive to individual and cultural differences in lifestyle, language, customs, manners, clothing.

Method ·      Learners should display understanding and confidence use of educational frameworks, materials, processes, and environments that enable compelling learning experiences.

·      Leaners should create self-development and image-building as responsible leaders.

Research ·      Learners should be able to engage in conceptual and empirical research that advances their understanding of corporations’ role, dynamics, and impact in creating sustainable social, environmental, and economic value.

·      Learners should assess and respond to increasingly complex real-world problems.

Partnership ·      Learners should display understanding and confidence to interact with managers of business corporations to extend their knowledge.

·      Leaners should be able to display understanding and confident use of various social and environmental responsibilities and to explore jointly practical approaches to meeting the challenges of social and environmental problems.

Dialogue ·      Learners should demonstrate the use of dialog and debate on critical issues related to global social responsibility and sustainability.

·      Learners should display competence and confident use of correct language and voice in greetings, interpersonal communication, and public speaking.

Note: Adapted from Filho (2019)

The PRME “Six Principles” learning outcomes provide indicators that an evaluation should seek to measure or assess. In the case of Tel-U and “Kampus Merdeka,” those learning outcomes can be delivered in various forms within different Management and Business Education, often ranging from programs delivered nationally to individual, one-off events delivered locally. The SE course in the graduate management program at Tel-U aims to generate a shift in attitudes to promote awareness about SDGs. However, it becomes challenging to ascribe quantifiable measures so that instead of “hard” learning outcome evidence (such as the numbers initiating a business start-up based on SE), an attempt has to conduct the “softer” learning outcomes (such as changes in attitude).


This study has limitations that need to be acknowledged. First, while this study is case-based, the literature review approach applied could be criticized for taking a limited selection of publications as a base for further analysis, and therefore not including all the relevant work on SE. Namely, the review could focus too much on the SE in management and business education. Nevertheless, the literature review enables the author to form a literature base on how the management and business schools are embedding the SDGs into their curriculum and research.

Another limitation is identifying the structure of the literature in more depth to gain additional insights into the current research interests and potential directions for future research based on the premises of SE. For example, sustainable businesses, sources of opportunities for SE, the sustainable entrepreneurs, business incubators for sustainable entrepreneurs’ start-ups, enabling factors of SE in various industries and countries (both around Indonesia and ASEAN countries). The SE can justify providing an extensive overview of the promotion and teaching of SE in HEIs around Indonesia, which made it necessary to broaden the current study.


With the development of “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and “Making Indonesia 4.0”, the expectations towards promoting and teaching SE in graduate management programs at Tel-U become higher. The students’ voices are signs of concern for its future and a belief that SE has the potential to become a distinct scholarly field. When educators ask about academic progress, HEIs develop the field further towards achieving the desired quality of scientific knowledge built on a sound intellectual basis. Therefore, the “Decade of Action” idea is not only learning per se but also change that will facilitate better future actions and outcomes.

Furthermore, there is a need to generate a greater understanding of the contents, justify such content, and use various methods. The following recommendations are part of the 6-credit course, which may lead to promote awareness about SDGs:

  • the inclusion of an evaluation strategy should be a pre-requisite of any submission for funding of education for SE in graduate management program;
  • that evaluation strategy should be a vital component of the design stage of any course;
  • when initiating any form of substantive evaluation of the learning outcomes of the PRME “Six Principles,” it is essential, at the outset, to ensure that there is an agreed operational definition of SE in the graduate management program and the impact which the course is seeking to measure;
  • approach, format, degree of sophistication and timescale of the evaluation should be determined by the resources available and by the complexity and scope of the course;
  • evaluation findings, even where they indicate a lack of impact, should inform future decision making about the effectiveness, sustainability, and format of course;
  • effective and widespread dissemination of evaluation findings should be encouraged and supported to enhance the development of “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and “Making Indonesia 4.0”.

Those recommendations aim to inspire everyone actively working to broaden or deepen SDGs integration into SE in Management and Business Education, or those who are just embarking on the “Decade of Action” journey.


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