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elea Professor for Social Innovation, International Institute for Management Development (IMD)

Vanina Farber is an economist and political scientist specialising in social innovation, entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility, with also almost 20 years of teaching, researching and consultancy experience, working with academic institutions, multinational corporations and international organisations. She is the holder of the elea Chair for Social Innovation.

In her research, Vanina is interested in studying and fostering the application of innovative, practical, sustainable and inclusive market oriented approaches that aspire to change the world by eliminating the root causes of social ills. Her research focuses on scaling up social businesses and on innovations in inclusive value chains, especially last mile distribution. She has done research in European and Latin American countries and published several articles, including “Barriers and public policies affecting the international expansion of Latin American SMEs, evidence from Brazil, Colombia and Peru” Journal of Business Research, 2015.

Vanina is also interested in education and pedagogy. She has studied how case based/experiential learning affect the intention of graduate students to become social and responsible entrepreneurs. Some of the results can be found in the article “In Alain Gibb's footsteps: Evaluating alternative approaches to sustainable enterprise education,” published in the International Journal of Management Education in 2016.

She currently opened a third line of research focusing on the personality treats of social entrepreneurs. Do social entrepreneurs think differently? Are there different personality traits, risk profiles or social anchors that differentiate social from purely commercial entrepreneurs? What makes, if anything, a social entrepreneur different?

Prior to coming to IMD, Vanina was Professor and Chair of Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Social Inclusion at Universidad del Pacífico, Peru, were she also was the Dean of the Graduate School of Business from 2014 to 2016.

From 2005 to 2017 she was also an Adjunct Professor for IE Business School, Spain, where she taught Economic Environment and Country Analysis in blended programs and designed and co-directed the training course for professors “Leadership in Blended Edcuation”.

Vanina has worked as a researcher and consultant for different international organizations and national institutions in Switzerland, Spain and Peru.

Vanina holds a PhD in business administration (economics) from the University of Memphis in the USA.


  • –present
    Professor for Social Innovation, IMD Business School