ECOSYSTEM SERVICES ENTREPRENEURSHIP: FROM IDEAS TO BUSINESS

Second cycle degree in FOREST SCIENCE - SCIENZE FORESTALI (Ord. 2017)

Campus: LEGNARO (PD)

Language: English

Teaching period: First Semester

Lecturer: LAURA SECCO

Number of ECTS credits allocated: 6


Syllabus
Prerequisites: Students are required to have basic knowledge about economics and accounting.
Examination methods: The exam is based on three components: 1) Participation and completion of e-modules; 2) A mid-term assignment; 3) A final assignment. The three components count with different percentages in determining the final mark.

1) Participation and completion of e-modules: weight 25%
Students are required to complete at least 80% of the e-modules. An e-module is made of 2-4 e-lessons. Each e-lesson has specific objectives, tasks and requirements (e.g. in terms of deadlines and contents) to be fulfilled - as specified in each single online module - that allow the proper evaluation by the e-lecturer.

2) Midterm assignment (Term 1): weight 25%
The midterm assignment consists of a written paper (max 1,000 words - tables, figures, appendixes and references excluded). Each student, on an individual basis, will develop an assignment that consists of a first business plan idea. The business plan idea is expected to summarize the knowledge acquired from e-modules in the first half.

3) Final assignment (Term 2): weight 50%
The final term assignment is based on a final written paper that participants have to develop starting with the online exercises of the e-course and the previous midterm assignment. Students will be required to provide an advanced draft of their business plan, completed with related financial spreadsheet with financial forecasts and budgeting.


Attention: especially for those students who are NOT enrolled in one of the Universities partners of the ECOSTAR Erasmus+ project (e.g. Eramus incoming students at the University of Padova, students enrolled in the Forest Science MSc course or other courses who select this e-module as an additional course in their academic carreers, etc.), the final written assignment is complemented by an oral face-to-face examination based on a discussion of the business plan.
Course unit contents: The ECOSTAR project is led by University of Padova (Italy) and developed in cooperation with University of Manchester (UK), Polytechnic University of Madrid (Spain), and Transylvania University of Brasov (Romania).

The course is delivered as an e-learning course, where all students from the partner universities will interact on the same Moodle platform as the convenor. E-lessons will be enriched by the participation and new business case studies deriving from the ECOSTAR business partners, namely ETIFOR, NepCon, Ricardo Energy and Environment, Forest Design.

Course content emphasizes that social innovation and entrepreneurship play an essential role in the creation of markets for ecosystem services and biodiversity.
Central themes are: (i) theory on innovation, social innovation and entrepreneurship, (ii) country entrepreneurship legal, social, taxation and constitution framework; (iii) driving forces for market creation and market outlooks for water investments, carbon markets and biodiversity conservation schemes; (iv) business models, business plans, best practices of innovation, social innovation and entrepreneurship projects, case studies of innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of ecosystem services and biodiversity; (v) special focus on ecotourism, natural capital, economic evaluation, marketing of payment for ecosystem services, forest certification, wild forest products, payment for ecosystem services, carbon markets.

The contents are organized in various e-lessons, which include:
• practice of Moodle e-learning platform
• understand course structure and socialize with e-fellows
• understand regulatory frameworks
• comprehend basic concepts about innovation, social innovation, entrepreneurship
• comprehend driving forces of market creation
• learn key concepts and trends of ecosystem services markets
• overview of voluntary, regional and domestic initiatives for marketing ecosystem services
• get familiar with business plan
• learn from best European business plan examples (factsheets)
• examine two selected topics from the 8 purposed:
a. ecotourism (Romania)
b. natural capital (UK)
c. economic evaluation (UK)
d. carbon markets (Spain)
e. forest certification (Spain)
f. sustainable and responsible investments (Italy)
g. wild forest products (Italy)
h. payment for ecosystem services (Italy)
• develop business plan concept.