Skip to main content
Politecnico di Milano

Entrepreneurs without borders

This edition is closed. To enroll in this course, please go to Find courses and search for the running edition.

Introduction to new business development for young people from all over the world

If you are a POLIMI student you have to log in using your Person Code. This is the only way to prove your participation in this course for official recognition.

EWB Youth Business Challenge 2018 “Start and scale-up for SDGs”

This edition of Entrepreneurs without borders – EWB101 includes the Youth Business Challenge 2018 “Start and scale-up for SDGs”.

If you are aged between 15 and 34, and have a business idea or a start-up that contributes to achieve at least one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals you will have the opportunity to submit your business idea or start-up, and compete with other young people from all over the world.

A jury of experts will select the 2 best EWB Youth Business Challenge candidates who are citizens of a developing or transition economy (see the UNCTAD development status grouping of countries). The 2 winners will be awarded the participation in the Youth Entrepreneurship Pitching Event 2018 in Geneva (Switzerland), during the Global Entrepreneurship Week (15 November 2018). The Associazione Gianluca Spina will award a mobility grant that covers travel and accommodation expenses.

Nominations from young migrant/refugee entrepreneurs are particularly encouraged.

Course Description

Have you ever thought of starting your own business? Being a job creator instead of a job seeker? Would you like to gather the right people for improving life in your community? For developing and selling a new product or service?

This course is addressed to people from anywhere in the world, particularly to students and young graduates who want to learn about new business development and to see if this is something for them. We welcome people from “developing countries”, as well as from industrialized economies.

The course is a joint initiative with UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ( which has installed entrepreneurship centers, and is delivering Empretec, a behavioral entrepreneurship training programme (, in 36 developing countries.

The course gathers 8 leading experts from Polimi and UNCTAD to let the participants:

  • Learn why and how new business enterprises are the motor of innovation and development
  • Understand how to behave as an entrepreneur
  • Understand why and how living in a country with limited resources, or being a young person or a woman is not at odds with new business development
  • Learn how new enterprises can grow by entering international markets and joining global value chains
  • Learn about new business models that deal with emerging societal challenges
  • Understand the way forward, getting acknowledgeable about next steps to make entrepreneurship a profession, including the enrollment in more advanced entrepreneurship and social business curricula (e.g. PoliMi ones) or in business incubators

Each week of this course:

  • opens by asking thought provoking questions on entrepreneurship and business development in developing countries
  • addresses the issue offering keywords, plain definitions, a few conceptual arguments supported by figures and graphs, successful examples of entrepreneurial activities in harsh contexts
  • concludes by summarizing main lessons learnt and bridging the student toward quizzes, the discussion forum, and materials and videos that help attendants getting familiar with the building blocks of business development and great entrepreneurial experiences.

The course is the main dissemination deliverable of the Polisocial Award project ( “Young and Sustainable Entrepreneurship in Egypt”.

The program hosts short video interviews with testimonies, i.e. young entrepreneurs in developing countries, and the experts of entrepreneurship, social innovation, business growth also in developing countries (Emanuela Colombo, Rector’s Delegate to Cooperation and Development, Politecnico di Milano; Massimo Colombo, Full professor of Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Entrepreneurial finance, Politecnico di Milano; Ayman Ismail, Assistant professor of Entrepreneurship and Venture Lab Director, American University in Cairo, AUC Venture Lab; Jennifer Klein, Entrepreneurship section, UNCTAD; Tatiana Krylova, Head of the Enterprise Branch, Division on Investments and Enterprise, UNCTAD; Stefano Mizio, Head of Startup Mentoring, PoliHub Startup District & Incubator; Andrea Sianesi - Dean of MIP, Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business).

In collaboration with Associazione Gianluca Spina.

You can access the course absolutely free of charge and completely online.

The course materials will still be available to all registered users for a long time, even after the closing of the edition.


No formal requirements, but the course is recommended to people enrolled in or recently graduated from higher education programmes. Mathematical formulas or highly abstract arguments are not used.

Discussion forum

A Forum section is available. The Forum is designed to allow students to exchange opinions and discuss open questions. The instructors participate in the Forum as well, as Administrators, and oversee the developing of the threads.

Quizzes and scores

The course is organized into different weeks and modules. At the end of each week, you will find a quiz to check your understanding. The final grade for the course will be calculated based on your performance in the weekly quizzes and the final quiz.

Certificate of Accomplishment

The Certificate of Accomplishment will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by answering correctly to at least 60% of the questions. You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly on the website.

Once you have successfully passed the course, you can request the Certificate of Accomplishment without waiting for the end of the edition.

The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree.


For further information, see FAQ page.

Course Faculty

Mario Calderini

Mario Calderini, Politecnico di Milano, School of Management

Mario Calderini has graduated in Mechanical Engineering at Politecnico di Torino and has completed a PhD in Economics at University of Manchester. He is Full Professor at Politecnico di Milano - School of Management in the subject Management and Economics. He is deputy director of Alta Scuola Politecnica, and has been Full Professor and Researcher at Politecnico di Torino. He is counselor of the Minister of Education, University and Research. He has been member of G8 Task Force for Social Impact Finance, member of Jury in the European Commission Social Innovation Competition.

Fulvia Farinelli

Fulvia Farinelli, UNCTAD

Fulvia Farinelli works at UNCTAD since 1998. Her academic background focuses on issues related to entrepreneurship and SME development, including innovation, business linkages and global value chains. She holds a PhD on Economic and Policy Studies on Innovation and Technical Change from Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Paola Garrone

Paola Garrone, Politecnico di Milano, School of Management

Paola Garrone is Professor of Business and Industrial Economics at Politecnico di Milano. Her research interests include utilities economics and policy, and technological change in regulated industries. She has coordinated several national and international research contracts and grants in these fields. Recently, she has been working on the issues of surplus food redistribution, water innovation and infrastructure investments in developing countries.

Boris Mrkajic

Boris Mrkajic, Politecnico di Milano, School of Management

Boris Mrkajic is a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano. His research interests revolve around applied innovation and entrepreneurship. In particular, Boris studies human capital of new technology-based business ventures, as well as support systems of sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem such as Venture Capital and Business Accelerators. He teaches Business and Industrial Economics course at the master’s level (Politecnico di Milano).

Fiorina Mugione

Fiorina Mugione, UNCTAD

Fiorina Mugione is an Economist with more than twenty years’ experience in international organizations, working primarily in the areas of research and analysis in enterprise, investment and development issues at ESCAP, OECD and UNCTAD. She leads the Entrepreneurship Programme at UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise. The programme aims to strengthen the supply capacity of small and medium enterprises through entrepreneurship and business linkages development. She also coordinates the EMPRETEC programme in 37 countries around the world.

Lucia Piscitello

Lucia Piscitello, Politecnico di Milano, School of Management

Lucia Piscitello is Professor of International Business, and Development Economics at Politecnico di Milano. Her research interests cover the economics and management of MNEs, the international aspects of technological change, the geography of innovation. Her recent studies focus on agglomeration and MNEs’ location strategies, globalization of R&D and technology development in the global network of MNEs, offshoring and global sourcing, MNEs in and from emerging countries. She has published her work in many international journals and books, and she serves on the editorial review boards of several journals.

Alejandro Rubias Hernardez

Alejandro Rubias Hernardez, UNCTAD

Alejandro Rubias-Hernandez is an Economic Affairs officer in the Division on Investment and Enterprise of UNCTAD, where he works to support developing countries and economies in transition in the design of initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. He also provides technical assistance to training centres across the globe that have adopted UNCTAD’s EMPRETEC entrepreneurship program. He is specialized in youth entrepreneurship, and is the project leader for French-speaking countries.

Lorenzo Tosini

Lorenzo Tosini, UNCTAD

Lorenzo Tosini is a Programme Officer in the Division on Investment and Enterprise of UNCTAD, where he works to support developing countries and economies in transition in the implementation of technical assistance projects to promote entrepreneurship and SME development. He is in charge of Empretec and Business Linkages UNCTAD’s technical assistance programmes in Africa and is coordinating the global network of Empretec centres. He is also working on the standardization of training materials.

  1. Classes Start

    feb 26, 2018
  2. Classes End

    set 16, 2018
  3. Estimated Effort

    4-5 hours/week
  4. Language

  5. Course Number

  6. From University to Job