2023-2024 / GEST7093-1

Financing Entrepreneurial Impact Opportunities


24h Th

Number of credits

 Master in management (120 ECTS) (Erasmus Mundus : Impact Entrepreneurship)4 crédits 


Sybille Mertens de Wilmars

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Despite convincing business models and evidence of contributions to the economy and to society, many impact enterprises find it challenging to finance entrepreneurial impact opportunities in a way that aligns with their needs and characteristics and enables their development and growth. Indeed, many of these enterprises are unlikely to meet the return requirements of traditional private equity investors, or the risk mitigation requirements of traditional debt providers such as banks.

Course contents : 

  • Financing needs and financing gaps in entrepreneurial impact opportunities
  • Financing-mix and benefits theory
  • Alternative financing instruments (microfinance, impact investing, venture philanthropy, cooperative models, public-private partnerships)
  • Theory of Change and social impact assessment methods
This course aims

  • to review the reasons why traditional debt and equity capital may not fit the life-cycle related financing needs of impact enterprises and explore how alternative financing instruments may be better aligned
  • to describe some of those alternative financing instruments and institutions that have emerged as promising models (microfinance, impact investing, venture philanthropy, cooperative models, public-private partnerships)
  • to explain how impact assessment has become an important issue in financing impact enterprises

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

After completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Understand the rationality behind alternative financing instruments or institutions
  • Explore and choose the most appropriate financing instruments or investors for a project
  • Assess and communicate the social impact of an entrpreneurial projec
In addition, 

The course will be highly relevant to the achievement of the following Overarching Learning Outcomes of the program:

OLO1: Value Judgements and sustainability.

OLO2: Entrepreneurship

OLO3: Creativity


The course will be relevant to the achievement of the following Overarching Learning Outcomes of the program:

OLO4: Innovation

OLO7: Leadership

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

  • One basic course in Corporate finance is necessary

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The course is based on theoretical insights and practical tools.

  • First, students will be asked to prepare in-class discussions by writing short assignments (based on scientific and managerial readings) and by solving case studies.
  • Second, they will be invited to collect practical informations (web sites, interviews) in order to co-build a mapping of the financing landscape for impact opportunities.
  • Finally, they will be trained to provide a social impact assessment framework for their own project.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Recommended or required readings

For each teaching session, a detailed Power Point presentation and a reading portfolio will be available through the University portal.

Written work / report

Continuous assessment

Additional information:

Class participation and short assignments will account for 40% of the grade.

Contribution to the mapping of the financing landscape will account for 30% of the grade.

Social impact assessment framework exercise will account for 30% of the grade.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Prof. Sybille Mertens, smertens@uliege.be

N1D - HEC Louvrex Campus - 5th floor

Association of one or more MOOCs