First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
FOREST SCIENCE - SCIENZE FORESTALI
Course unit
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES ENTREPRENEURSHIP: FROM IDEAS TO BUSINESS
AVP7078817, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
FOREST SCIENCE - SCIENZE FORESTALI (Ord. 2017)
AV2091, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2017/18
N0
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Degree course track FOREST AND LAND MANAGEMENT [001LE]
Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination ECOSYSTEM SERVICES ENTREPRENEURSHIP: FROM IDEAS TO BUSINESS
Website of the academic structure http://www.agrariamedicinaveterinaria.unipd.it/
Department of reference Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry
E-Learning website https://elearning.unipd.it/scuolaamv/course/view.php?idnumber=2017-AV2091-001LE-2017-AVP7078817-N0
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Branch LEGNARO (PD)
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Lecturers
Teacher in charge LAURA SECCO AGR/01

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses AGR/01 Rural economy and evaluation 6.0

Mode of delivery (when and how)
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method distance e-learning

Organisation of didactics
Type of hours Credits Hours of
teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Shifts
Practice 3.0 24 51.0 No turn
Lecture 3.0 24 51.0 No turn

Calendar
Start of activities 02/10/2017
End of activities 19/01/2018

Examination board
Examination board not defined

Syllabus
Prerequisites: Students are required to have basic knowledge about economics and accounting.
Target skills and knowledge: This course is a result of an Erasmus+ funded Knowledge Alliance project (ECOSTAR), a high level and innovative project developed by 9 businesses and research partners including the University of Padova and ETIFOR (a spin-off of Padova University) as well as other organisations from UK, United States, Spain and Romania.

The course aims to guide students to acquire key concepts and high-level entrepreneurial skills by working with ECOSTAR's business partners, to convert innovative ideas into successful business plans and activities, in the field of production and marketing of ecosystem services and biodiversity.

As a result of the course, students should be able to improve:

Knowledge and Understanding:
(i) basic understandings on innovation, social innovation, enterpreneurial activities, marketing and economics of ecosystem services and biodiversity;
(ii) overview of voluntary, regional and domestic initiatives for marketing ecosystem services and biodiversity;
(iii) learning from examples of the best European business models.

Intellectual skills: Through the study of various successful business case studies in the field, students will be able to identify areas of action and develop their own business ideas.

Practical skills: Students will be able to acquire essential entrepreneurship skills to develop viable and innovative business ideas.

Transferable skills and personal qualities: Analytical and writing skills, engaging group discussions.
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.
Assessment criteria: The course is made up of various compulsory e-modules, and each e-module is composed of several e-lessons ranging from 2 to 4.
In order to pass the course, the student must complete at least 80% of the e-modules.
An e-module is completed when at least 75% of the e-lessons are completed (e.g. at least 3 out of 4 e-lessons completed).

An e-lesson is completed when ALL the following conditions are met: a) the student posts at least one message, which addresses the task within the defined deadlines; b) the student adds new contents/perspectives to the discussion; c) the student’s posts contribute and stimulate a dynamic discussion (hence the students are expected to address contributions of e-fellows concerning the posts).

The student has also to gain a positive evaluation on the overall quality of posts, regularity of e-lessons attendance, quality of contents and compliance with deadlines of midterm assignments.

Moreover, the student must get a positive evaluation on the final written assignment. A part from respecting deadlines and other possible requirements, the student's ability to correctly express concepts, to be coherent with the assigned contents, issues and objectives, to be original in ideas, to be accurate in references reporting and citations, to be able to critically analyse key-issues and to be synthetic in writing are all evaluated.

The completion of e-modules and quality of posts/attendance/respect of deadlines counts for 25% of final score; the quality of the midterm assignment counts for 25% of the final score; the final assignment (individually presented by each student) counts for the remaining 50% of the final score.

Scores are assigned according to the grading scale and scoring system of the University of Padova (where 18/30 is passed = E on the international scale A-E; and 30/30 with honours is excellent = A on the international scale) and converted into local grading systems by each partner University.
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.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The e-modules run for varying periods, from a minimum of 1 week up to a maximum of 4 weeks, depending on the number and complexity of e-lessons. Each e-module is divided into 2-4 e-lessons, where specific issues are described and discussed. Objectives, tasks, useful documents and sources of information, suggested organisation of working activity (in group of students or individually, for example), as well as midterm and final deadlines are defined for each single e-module. Students are required to start by firstly reading the e-lesson's introduction, contents and structure and secondly posting comments and/or uploading required documents in a draft or final version (as specified in each e-lesson). E-moderators (course teachers and some experts eventually invited to participate) participate continuously by commenting on students' posts, stimulating the on-line discussion forums launched for each e-lesson and providing clarifications if necessary. At the end of each e-module, a technical sum-up is made available (where appropriate); students are expected to read through it before moving to the next e-module.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Preparatory compulsory readings include:
ECOSTAR (2016) European State of Forest Carbon Finance 2016. Washington.
ECOSTAR (2017) European State of Payments for Watershed Services. Washington
ECOSTAR (2017) European State of Biodiversity Conservation Finance 2016. Washington.
Ecosystem Marketplace (2016) Raising Ambition, State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2016. Washington.

Other material will be suggested and eventually provided online inside each single e-lesson, when appropriate.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Brotto, L., Pettenella, D., Forest Management Auditing: Certification of forest products and services.. Oxford: Routledge, 2016.
  • Driscoll, O., Leonardi, A., Masiero, M., Are nature-based businesses really innovative? An assessment of European entrepreneurial initiatives.. Legnaro (PD): ETIFOR and the University of Padova, 2017.
  • Punita Bhatt, Levent Altinay, How social capital is leveraged in social innovations under resource constraints?. --: Management Decision Vol. 51 Iss 9 pp. 1772 - 1792, 2013. Permanent link to this document: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/MD-01-2013-0041
  • Murray, R., Caulier-Grice, J., Mulgan, G., The open book of social innovation. --: The Young Foundation and NESTA, 2010.