While strengthening young people’s entrepreneurial skills is increasingly acknowledged to be one of the prime drivers of economic growth, absolute levels of student entrepreneurship is still low in the EU, lagging behind the competitors. There has been a considerable growth in the number and type of entrepreneurship training provided by the HEIs in the recent years, however, the quality of these initiatives vary.
Multiple countries in Europe fail to capitalise on the potential of student enterprises; Germany is experiencing a decrease in the early-stage student entrepreneurship due to its “poor entrepreneurial climate”, whereas in Hungary, the economy is challenged by high youth unemployment rates. In Austria, where entrepreneurship education is much more advanced compared to other EU countries, this type of training is limited to business schools. Shortage of human resources on the topic and lack of funding are cited as the main reasons for this failure, along with the misinterpretation of “entrepreneurship” among the faculty, a concept which most times is solely associated with business studies.
To address the challenges, the objective of the EEE Project is to increase the proportion of HEI students acquiring an entrepreneurial mind-set and engaging in early stage entrepreneurial activity. This objective will be achieved through awareness raising activities and increasing the pedagogic capacities of HEI educators, as well as facilitating collaboration among the stakeholders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Irene Breen, a current MBA student at Queen’s University Belfast and a BSc Architecture (2002) graduate, has seen off competition from over 2,000 entries from across the UK to win the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Award…