When Designers Become Entrepreneurs: PLACE, the Programme for LASALLE Creative Entrepreneurs


Design education faces many challenges; now, more than ever, the need for multidisciplinary approaches is evident. Design students need to bring crucial and timely issues to their curricular projects. However, such projects fade out once students graduate and ideas with high potential fall flat, never to be more than great ideas on paper. The Programme for LASALLE Creative Entrepreneurs (PLACE) is an initiative of the Faculty of Design of LASALLE College of the Arts Singapore to support design students to turn their big ideas into sustainable and socially-engaged start-ups. Through a mixed-methods approach, we surveyed students from the different programmes available in the Faculty of Design (N=275). Then, we interviewed the graduating tenants who successfully launched their businesses during the programme’s first year (N=3). Currently in its second year, the programme’s preliminary results already hint at high entrepreneurial consciousness among design students with socially and sustainably engaged projects. Our paper will present the programme’s initial results and possible effects on social and sustainable engagement through education. University incubators are viewed as a fading trend, as universities grasp onto technological projects to get funding from third parties, whilst PLACE looks at the problem through a different lens. The programme seeks to empower young designers eager to challenge social and sustainable issues. Our results show a deep connection between this generation of design students with social and sustainable matters. We highlight how such programmes can improve the quality of the students learning experience and allow them to create value beyond their ideas.


Clara Fernandes
Lecturer, School of Design Communication, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2023 Special Focus—New Agendas for Design: Principles of Scale, Practices of Inclusion



Digital Media


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