How to Build an Impactful Business Model: Solving Global Challenges through Local Entrepreneurial Action

  • 8 hours
  • 2 days, over 2 weeks


This short course will help you build and grow a business that addresses complex societal and environmental problems.

Interest in entrepreneurship is growing in parallel with the urgent need for radically sustainable and inclusive businesses. How can we address complex and societal challenges through entrepreneurial action? How do we think beyond ordinary business models and devise broader strategies for entrepreneurial and organisational action? And how can we move from mere ideas and models to implementing enterprises that can help the world achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030?

This course will inspire you and provide you with key frameworks and strategies for entrepreneurship. 

You'll learn how to:

  • unpack the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • identify where change can happen 
  • find partners for your enterprise 
  • use practical entrepreneurial methods

You'll have access to case studies of successful enterprises as well as key practical and academic resources.

You'll also benefit from personal insights from award-winning young entrepreneurs who have pursued SDGs through enterprise in their early twenties and now teach on this course.

You'll be encouraged to think beyond ordinary business models and devise entrepreneurial strategies for social and environmental good.

By the end of the course you'll have a joint action plan for setting up and growing an innovative enterprise. You’ll also be able to become a member of Fast Forward 2030, a network of young entrepreneurs who pursue SDGs, curated by the Institute for Global Prosperity.

This course is run by the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity.

Who this course is for

This course is for:

  • young adults from diverse backgrounds who are committed to transforming and improving the world
  • graduates of social and engineering sciences, early stage entrepreneurs and early- and mid-career switchers who are interested in addressing burning challenges through entrepreneurship
  • corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability corporate staff who fund, support and work with sustainable businesses
  • students and graduates of East London’s colleges who are interested in exploring opportunities linked to entrepreneurship

Course content and structure

You'll attend two half-day sessions.

Session 1 is taught by a real-world entrepreneur. It'll include a lecture, discussions, a city walk and a group exercise. You'll explore how entrepreneurial approaches can be used to help tackle the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In your group, you'll work in different areas in Bloomsbury, identify key challenges and devise entrepreneurial problem statements.

Session 2 will be co-delivered by academics and entrepreneurs. You'll attend a lecture and go on a field trip to Growing Underground, a subterranean urban farm located 100ft under the streets of London. You'll learn what it takes to start an organisation, raise finance and navigate regulatory environments. One of the co-founders of the company will introduce you to some of the necessary steps and challenges involved in launching a business.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course you should be able to: 

  • design an impactful business model that builds on frameworks taught during the course as well as your personal background and motivations
  • develop holistic understandings of entrepreneurial action that addresses key societal challenges and problems
  • work with various users, citizens and stakeholder groups to understand their specific needs and collaborate productively
  • conceptualise and measure the impact of your future enterprise
  • connect to existing entrepreneurial networks and seek support to facilitate your entrepreneurial activities


You'll receive a certificate on completing the course.

Further information

Find out more about:

Course team

Richard Ballard

Richard is Co-Founder of Growing Underground with his business partner Steven Dring. Located 100ft under the streets of London in a disused WW2 Air Raid Shelter, Growing Underground is a subterranean urban farm that sustainably produces micro-greens using the latest LED technology. The duo are now delivering fresh hyper-local produce, within just four hours of picking, to the London wholesale markets who supply the city's restaurants. Richard is obsessed by all things green tech and the future of cities.

Arthur Kay

Arthur is an award-winning urban designer and entrepreneur. He's Founder and CEO of Skyroom, Founder and Deputy Chairman of bio-bean® and Founder and Chairman of Fast Forward 2030. He's also Entrepreneur in Residence at UCL Institute of Global Prosperity and a visiting lecturer at Imperial College London, the RCA and UCL. He's a UN Sustainable Development Goal Pioneer, and was named Sustainable Business Leader of the Year by the Guardian and Entrepreneur of the Year by both Business Green and Shell.

Dr Konrad Miciukiewicz

Konrad is a Senior Teaching Fellow at UCL Institute for Global Prosperity. He's been a strategist and copyrighter at advertising agencies across Europe and involved in a number of large-scale social, economic and technological innovation projects.

Solveiga Pakštaitė

Solveiga is the inventor of a bio-accurate food expiry indicator called Mimica Touch, which is being commercialised under the company she founded, Mimica. Solveiga trained as an industrial designer and so everything she does as an entrepreneur is done with a design-led approach. She was named MIT Technology Review's Inventor of the Year in 2017. Before starting Mimica, Solveiga worked as a user experience consultant, a trends forecaster and a design researcher.

Liv Sibony

Liv is a Co-Founder of Grub Club and a serial entrepreneur. Following a career in the City and in the public sector she launched Grub Club, the collaborative platform that connects food lovers with shared dining experiences in underused spaces around London. She also runs Tribely, a platform where the crowd invests alongside leading investors, helping entrepreneurs raise money as efficiently as possible, in order to focus on the long-term sustainability of their business.

Course information last modified: 23 Nov 2018, 13:14