Marcello Palazzi

MSc, MBA, Executive Fellow Enterprise Acceleration

Marcello Palazzi (1957) is a progressive economist, entrepreneur and leader, founder of Progressio Foundation, Rotterdam, 1989, a think- and do- tank, established with Dr Paul Kloppenborg and Prof Pjotr Hesseling at the Erasmus University, to help develop the "civic economy", an economy focused on citizens' interests, as opposed to one serving private or public interests alone.  With degrees from LSE, LBS / RSM Erasmus and an Advanced Leader Fellowship from Harvard University, Marcello began his career as a young entrepreneur in his 20s, working in partnership with his engineer father in environmental diagnostics, growing a family business from the UK, Switzerland and Italy to sales in 30 countries. 

Following 10 years of entrepreneurial experience in a technical business, Marcello set up Progressio Foundation, through which he has successfully completed 280 projects (ventures, learning events, special initiatives) across the 4 Ps of Public, Private, Philanthropy and People in 33 countries.  Alongside, Marcello has sat on numerous boards of public-interest organisations, such as Social Venture Network Europe, which he co-founded in 1993 in Amsterdam, State of the World Forum in San Francisco, the Copenhagen Centre for Social Responsibility in Denmark, which he helped to conceive, the Tällberg Foundation in Sweden, where he co-created the highly influential Tällberg Forum, the Bremen Initiative for Sustainable Cities in Germany, the Society for International Development in Rome, the Avalon Foundation in the Netherlands, the Alterra Foundation in Switzerland, the Lisbon Council and EPE in Brussels, and others. 

Among his more notable successes are the co-incubation of ResponsAbility AG in Zürich, today a $ 1 billion + micro-finance investment firm, the securing of multi-million dollar grants for State of the World Forum and Tällberg Foundation, the co-sale of his family business, the design and delivery of two MBA modules on CSR and Corporate Sustainability Strategies at RSM Erasmus University and the KS Raju Academy in Hyderabad, India, in 1996-97, five succeeding UN global events on private sector cooperation (UN SOCIAL SUMMIT, UN-HABITAT, UNESCO, UNOPS, UN HQ), the co-conception of the NEW ACADEMY of BUSINESS, launched together with Anita Roddick of the Body Shop in 1995 (now the MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility at the Ashridge Business School), the early development of the Foundation for Natural Leadership in the Netherlands, the co-design and co-execution of several leadership and change programs together with Tom Cummings of Leading Ventures BV, his election as President of the Student Government at university and appointment as Tutor in Economics, at age 23, to his former professor Sir Alan Peacock. 

Marcello was awarded The Economist Prize for the best MBA thesis, at LBS in 1987, where he led the first recorded project on Strategic Philanthropy for Save the Children Fund.  He is Fellow of the RSA in London and currently a finalist for the 2013 Ariane de Rotschild Fellowship.  Marcello was born in northern Italy, grew up in Switzerland, finished his schooling in the UK, lived in London for 16 years and in the Netherlands for 20 years, a happy husband to his Dutch wife of nearly 30 years and father of 3 grown-up children, all of whom are currently at various stages of their university studies.  Marcello's passion remains "entrepreneurship for the public good".  One of his latest projects is the launch of an Accelerator & Exchange for the city of Rotterdam and a comparable venture in Cape Town, partnering with the Economic Development Partnership. Marcello is also a full member of The Club of Rome.