Education for Sustainability beyond the Classroom: Companies Born in University Incubators

Margarete Dias Brito, Janette Brunstein, Rubens Araújo Amaro


This study attempts to fill a gap in the literature, which focuses its efforts on the analysis of the education for sustainability in formal business courses and not on the incubation spaces at universities. The intention was to understand the sense of developing a business which incorporates sustainability principles, and debating the role of the university in fostering socio-environmental practices among the new generation of entrepreneurs, with a focus on Brazilian experiences. This qualitative research investigated companies in incubator programs at four Brazilian university business incubators, regarding: the attention to the way the business project is selected in the incubators; the sources and nature of the incubators’ socio-environmental concerns; the meaning of sustainability for these entrepreneurs; the way they put these principles into action in their business plans; the difficulties and challenges they face in meeting socio-environmental goals in their companies, and, finally, the inductor incubator’s role in fostering sustainable businesses. The results are alarming, since investment in education for sustainability seemed to be almost inexistent, which has consequences for generations of born and raised companies in incubators at universities. The findings also offer a route for debating and analyzing relevant aspects of education for sustainability in this academic environment.


entrepreneurial education; sustainability; university incubators

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Rev. Empreendedorismo Gest. Pequenas Empres., São Paulo, SP, Brasil. e-ISSN: 2316-2058    

Prefixo do DOI: 10.14211  Classificação Qualis 2016: B1