Many countries around the world are facing a host of issues associated with demographic change: population concentration in the major cities, ageing, integration of immigrants and refugees, growing disparities in wealth, and energy consumption. On the other hand, this demographic change is not entirely negative in nature: it also contains the potential for the creation of new businesses and employment. The skills required to discover these new opportunities generated by the changes in demographic structure are “Renaissance Entrepreneurship”. Just as the Renaissance of the Middle Ages brought together various techniques, such as the laws of perspective, moveable type, and the art of navigation to lead Europe to prosperity, we too, in today’s society, need to combine a diversity of knowledge and skills in order to create revolutionary ways of overcoming the challenges we face.
Aspiring to generate actual social enterprises which would lead to creative solutions to the social issues brought about by demographic change, workshops for students of RENKEI member universities were held at UCL in 2015 and at Osaka University in 2016 under the auspices of the Renaissance Entrepreneurship working group set up by the two universities. Collaborations between participants from diverse backgrounds gave birth to unique business ideas.