The Academy for Social Entrepreneurs @HEC-ULg gathers the training, support and networking activities for social entrepreneurs, which are carried out by the Centre for Social Economy, HEC Management School, University of Liege (Belgium).

The objective is threefold: to connect various actors from diverse backgrounds, such as social entrepreneurs, managers of social enterprises, students, PhD candidates, alumni, etc.; to provide those various actors with a space for meeting, discussing and exchanging beyond their respective affiliations and industries; and to reinforce the connections between social enterprises and the academic world, especially to strengthen links with scientific research.

To achieve its objectives, the Academy for Social Entrepreneurs organizes its activities around four dimensions: postgraduate courses (Master and Certificate in Management of Social Enterprises), other professional development activities (tailor-made training and co-solving workshops), the Rendez-vous (networking activities) as well as research and the development tools (action research and development of managerial and pedagogical tools).


Julie Rijpens is Manager of the Academy for Social Entrepreneurs @HEC-ULg, a platform that gathers the training, support and networking activities for social entrepreneurs which are carried out by the Centre for Social Economy. As a researcher, she is in the last stages of being awarded her PhD in Economics and Management Sciences from HEC Management School, University of Liege (subject to the public defense in October 2014). Her thesis examines the governance of social enterprises, her main research interest next to the management and business models of social enterprises. She also has teaching experience in social enterprise management and governance classes in the master and executive education programs.

“To work on the development of a training program that is tailor-made for Fair Trade entrepreneurs, and more widely for social entrepreneurs, is really exciting and challenging as it makes what I’m doing everyday fully and directly meaningful.”


Benjamin Huybrechts is Assistant Professor at HEC Management School, University of Liege (Belgium), where he holds the SRIW-Sowecsom Chair in Social Enterprise Management. After his PhD in Economics and Management (University of Liege), he conducted post-doctoral research at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School (University of Oxford). His research topics include: social enterprise and co-operatives; governance of hybrid organizational models and networks; inter-organizational partnerships and institutional logics; and institutionalization processes in several fields such as fair trade and renewable energies.

“I’m very excited about the Fair Share project because it will offer a great opportunity to reinforce the knowledge and the capacities of social entrepreneurs and practitioners in the Fair Trade field. As a researcher having worked for more than 10 years on Fair Trade, Fair Share will enable me (and others) to ensure that the growing amount of research accumulated on Fair Trade and social entrepreneurship in general is translated into concrete recommendations and training content.”


Muriel Vervier is Head of Research Services in HEC Management School, University of Liege (Belgium). She is responsible for the financial management of granted projects and in charge of the financial reporting of EFTE. She has 15 years of experience in management of projects granted by European Social Funds, Interreg, Leonardo and other European, national and regional funds.

“I share the enthusiasm of researchers for the Fair Share project. I am particularly sensitive to the values of the social economy, especially of Fair Trade, and I am pleased to be able, at my level, to participate in the smooth running of this project.”