Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Deeptech


Call for Good Practice Examples

 Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Deeptech: Good practice examples 

Edited by Colette Henry, Sabrina Tomasi, Margot Bucaille, Alessio Cavicchi, Erik Mass Lovgren, Slavica Singer & Simone Stilling (Start for Future)

Download the full call here.


It is widely acknowledged that entrepreneurship and innovation drive economic growth globally (Andrews et al., 2022; GEM, 2023). Recently, however, there has been increased academic and political attention paid to the inclusivity and sustainability dimensions of entrepreneurship and innovation (Apostolopoulos et al., 2018;Klingler, et al., 2022; OECD, 2021). In this context, inclusivity is taken to mean proactively encouraging the participation of under-represented groups such as women, ethnic minorities, elderly, refugees, disabled and those who are socially or economically disadvantaged. Inclusivity means that entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives and supports are focused on equality and are not biased in any way, guaranteeing that participants’ needs and experiences are taken into consideration, regardless of biological, economic and socio-cultural differences and/or identity factors, thus creating an entrepreneurship and innovation environment where everyone feels they belong and where no one is left behind (Orser & Elliott, 2020; OECD/European Commission 2021; Rolle et al., 2020).

Sustainability means looking to the future and focusing on areas related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UN, 2012). This may involve attempting to tackle some of the world’s ‘wicked problems’ (Briggs, 2007), such as poverty, health or climate change to create a more equitable and long-lasting world for both people and planet.

Alongside the above developments, the European Commission has begun to highlight the need for universities, HEIs, support organisations and other actors within the entrepreneurship and innovation landscape to focus on deeptech domains (EC, 2022). Deeptech cuts across many technological areas; it is distinguished by its profound enabling power and its potential to catalyse change (TechWorks, 2023). Cutting-edge technological solutions combining fields of science and engineering in the physical, biological and digital spheres are indispensable in addressing the most pressing global challenges (EIT, 2022).Accordingly, there is a sense that, in the future, it will be the deeptech domains that could offer the greatest potential for solving some of the world’s biggest problems. 

Start for Future (SFF)

Start for Future (SFF) is a consortium of entrepreneurial universities, university-linked incubators, research and development organisations, regional hubs, industry partners and EIT KICs across Europe and in partner countries such as Australia, Canada, Nepal and the USA. SFF’s objective is to foster the entrepreneurial mindset of HEIs, their ecosystem stakeholders and their core target groups towards the development of sustainable and scalable business models and, in doing so, to generate impact across Europe and beyond. While SFF’s work is targeted across the domains of manufacturing, mobility, food, circular economy, health and energy, it has a particular interest in deeptech entrepreneurship and innovation. Additionally, part of the SFF consortium’s work involves addressing responsibility, gender and impact dimensions to ensure that entrepreneurship programmes and initiatives are inclusive, SDG-focused and designed to strengthen partners’ respective ecosystems in terms of their innovation and entrepreneurial capacity. 

Call for contributions

The SFF consortium invites contributions to a Good Practice Guide on Inclusive and Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation. This guide will take the form of an edited digital book that will be delivered to the European Commission via our EIT partner as part of a key deliverable of our SFF project (WP8 in SFF.DeepT+). It will distributed widely and made freely available on line via the SFF Platform and other relevant media platforms. It is intended to be practice-oriented with short sharp contributions detailing effective examples of inclusive and sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation in deeptech. The guide book will be of particular value to universities/HEIs interested in enhancing their current entrepreneurship and innovation offerings to ensure they are both inclusive and sustainable.

Consistent with the RIIA framework’s ‘narrative with numbers’ approach (RIIA, 2023), completed contributions will be around 5 pages each (2,500 words), include some images, logos, or pictures, and follow the following structure:

  • Title
  • Authors & institution
  • Abstract
  • Key words
  • Introduction
  • Regional ecosystem context (including the drivers and challenges for inclusivity and sustainability in entrepreneurship and innovation at regional level)
  • Description of the good practice initiative
  • Impact
  • Key learnings
  • References 

We welcome contributions from universities/HEIs, incubators, industry and other relevant entrepreneurship and innovation actors, both within and outside of the SFF consortium. We encourage our SFF partners to disseminate this call to relevant stakeholders within their local ecosystem. 

Important deadlines

Submission of ‘expression of interest’ template (see below): 15th December 2023
Feedback from SFF editorial team: 22nd December 2023
Submission of full contribution (5 pages; 2,500 words max + images, logos): 1st March 2024
Feedback from SFF editorial team: 29th March 2024
Final submission: 22nd April 2024
Publication: June 2024

Key points of contact – for further information or an informal chat about your proposed contribution, please contact: or

Download the full call here.