Sustainable Entrepreneurs as Change Agents: Relevant Key Competencies for Sustainability


key competencies for sustainability
entrepreneurship education
change agents
sustainable entrepreneur
entrepreneurial competencies
competence sets


This article elaborates on sustainable entrepreneurs acting as change agents with a focus on their relevant key competencies for sustainability. For this purpose, the existing set of key competencies for sustainability by Wiek et al. (2011a) is combined with entrepreneurial competencies. The specific form of required competencies to act as change agents should inspire future design of curricula.

A literature review regarding key competencies, change agent concepts and sustainable entrepreneurs and their competencies forms the foundation. Ten semi-structured, qualitative expert interviews with entrepreneurs emphasise the relevance that the practitioners assign to each of the different competencies. Applying this framework of different competencies, the entrepreneurs’ change agent behaviour identifies a specific competence profile of sustainable entrepreneurs of two axes: the importance of key competencies and the addition of specific entrepreneurial competencies. This is of high relevance to design specific programs to educate future change agents.

This research limits its findings to sustainable entrepreneurs. A larger number of interviews and an expansion to other expert groups, such as entrepreneurs without sustainable projects, could strengthen the results. With this article the author contributes to the debate key competencies and entrepreneurial competencies in higher education as well as their practical relevance.


To cite this paper please use the following details: Hagmaier, B. (2019), 'Sustainable Entrepreneurs as Change Agents: Relevant Key Competencies for Sustainability', Reinvention: an International Journal of Undergraduate Research, Volume 12, Issue 1, Date accessed [insert date]. If you cite this article or use it in any teaching or other related activities please let us know by e-mailing us at

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