Telkom University's
Socio-Ecopreneurship Project:

Student Engagement to Implement the SDGs in Bandung Indonesia



Telkom University
Organizations/areas of the university involved

Faculty of Economics and Business, Telkom University, Bandung City, West Java Province, Indonesia


“Socio-Eco-preneurship Project”, is a Project Based Learning (PBL) for graduate students in business management that tested the application of project management skills to operationalizing the SDGs at a local level.

In the year 2019 and 2020, the Master in Management program at Faculty of Economics and Business, Telkom University developed a new PBL titled “Socio-Ecopreneurship Project”. Under the PBL approach, the “Socio-Ecopreneurship Project” is not the purpose of learning, it is the means. It is not confined to the simple application of knowledge already acquired in the previous semester but it also allows for the development of new skills and the acquisition of more knowledge to address the challenges and goals represented by the SDGs. In addition to this, the concept of “Socio-Ecopreneurship Project” is related to physical concepts of sustainability, including those that are rooted in values ​​and choices based on ethical principles.

At the end of the semester, the students provided oral presentations and recommendations to a panel of 4 (four) panelists, consist of Academics, Business Actors, Civil Society Organizations, Government, and Media (ABCGM), concerning potential steps forward and to further research. The panelists decided on five basic components of a good oral PowerPoint presentation: content, organization, teamwork (our students work in groups of three to four), visuals, and presentation mechanics. Each of these five basic components has criteria to key issues of scientific thinking about the 17 SDGs. Immediately after all teams had presented, all panelists had the private round-table discussion of their component ratings and came to a consensus regarding the final grade for each presentation.This “Socio- Ecopreneurship Project” provides opportunities for the students to climb to more sophisticated skills such as project management and teamwork. Students were very positive about the project and excited from the experience of finding common interests with other students.

Many had not heard of the SDGs before, or only knew a little bit about 17 SDGs, so found this PBL very useful. In moving forward, it will be important that pedagogy seeks to engage student leaders and educators from different faculties in critical discussion to enable the paradoxes that characterize the larger discourse of sustainable development in educational practice and by extension the SDGs to be explored, particularly in the context of Indonesia. Students were very positive about the project and excited from the experience of finding common interests with other students.

Results and impact measured or expected

The overall objective of this “Socio- Ecopreneurship Project” is to advance in education innovation in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Telkom University, providing our future graduates with the necessary competencies to initiate the change towards a more sustainable society.

This project established three levels of the learning outcomes (indicators), based on the standards set by the Master in Management program at Telkom University. The first level domain corresponds to knowledge and refers to PBL, the second level domain corresponds to integration and development in the situation, and finally, the third level domain is linked to demonstrating competency in the action and the possibility of transferring this action. This implies moving away from a narrow and neutral idea of the development of Telkom University, recognizing that the course of development of our shared future is marked by a society full of economic, cultural, and environmental imbalances.

Connection with the SDG framework

This “Socio- Ecopreneurship Project” contributed to the further development of the debate on the use of a PBL approach as a means to foster the cause of sustainable development at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Indonesia. This project was brought to practice based on the perceived need to explore new ideas, develop new approaches and new methods in the field of business and management schools.

In this project students explore the role of business in achieving the SDGs, combining academic management insights with business examples. It challenges students to use a project management approach as well as a teamwork approach and take action themselves to spark change while raising awareness of the interdependence of the 17 SDGs.

Barriers and follow up

For many years, engagement with SDGs was deplored as both slow and inadequate. While it is widely recognized that sustainable development needs to be addressed in research, campus, education, and community, fewer university leaders understand the opportunities of the SDGs and how to mobilize action and undertaking activities to support the students within their areas. It is quite evident that while the institution has exemplified ‘campus greening’, focused on environmental management, and is very good at promoting the green credential, integrative approaches to SDGs are hard to achieve and less common.

The “Socio- Ecopreneurship Project” educators need to encourage university leaders to move forward, from being on PBL approach towards a whole-institution approach. In this context, local stakeholders may be involved in a variety of ways, for instance: by means of sharing economy initiatives or by means of tools to foster their participation and engagement.

Transferability of the initiative

The scope, outcomes, and impact of the “Socio-Ecopreneurship Project” can relate closely to one or more of the 17 SDGs. It should be noted that the 17 SDGs are large-scale and long-term goals, where it is easy to think that a single PBL cannot visibly contribute. Yet small scale or incremental changes both contribute to the whole and can be scaled up to include more HEIs around Bandung City or similar PBL in different contexts.

This is particularly the case, as HEIs around Indonesia and their communities are significant in terms of urban and global built area and population, as well as in educating society’s future leaders and global decision-makers. Thus, HEIs have a responsibility to both reduce their negative impacts, improve their positive impacts, as well as educate everyone on and around the campus to be able to view the world through a sustainability lens.