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‘Business and inclusive development’ was the theme of this year’s annual Max Havelaar lecture, which was hosted by the Partnerships Resource Centre at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), together with Max Havelaar and Young & Fair. The event on Wednesday 2 November attracted around 200 participants, including EUR students and staff, policy makers, and NGO and private sector representatives.

Green economy

In the morning, participants were invited to join workshops on frugal innovation, living wage and human rights, and living wage and certification. This was a newly introduced part of the programme, and a way to make the central theme more tangible. After lunch, the Max Havelaar Lecture continued with its main speakers, including Pavan Sukhdev, a world-renowned environmental economist whose fields of study include the green economy and international finance.

Financial services in Kenya

Another prominent speaker was Joseph Ogutu, director of strategy and innovation at Safaricom, a leading mobile network provider, well-known for making financial services accessible to low-income households in Kenya. According to Ogutu, ‘frugal innovation is easy – as long as you have the right partners’.

Entrepreneurial ideas

The audience also watched and evaluated young entrepreneurs presenting their inclusive business ideas. They voted Pearltect to have the most appealing pitch. Pearltect, which was also an I WILL Award finalist earlier this year, received € 1,500 in starting capital from KPN as part of the KPN Sustainable Development Goals Challenge.

Among the contributors of this day full of insights, innovate ideas and practical exchange were Irene Visser of NABC, Prof. Rob van Tulder from RSM, Prof. Cees van Dam of RSM’s Partnerships Resource Centre, and Wilbert Flinterman of Fairtrade International.

The recording of the Max Havelaar Lecture 2016 can be viewed online.

More information

The Partnerships Resource Centre (PrC) is a specialist research centre at RSM. The PrC envisions a more sustainable and inclusive world in which business, civil society and governments each play an important role to create collaborative and inclusive solutions for complex societal issues. It connects scientifically sound research and practitioner experience of cross-sector partnerships to aid sustainable and inclusive development.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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