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 for her fledgling business ‘BellaMoon’.

Ms Breen was in London last month to collect the prize which includes £20,000 of equity-free seed funding, mentoring from one of the judges at the national final, support from Talent Cupboard and a fully funded intern.

Launched in 2011, the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards have grown to be the UK’s largest student and graduate business pitching competition offering important support to budding entrepreneurs. So far, more than £260,000 has been awarded to graduate start-ups and small businesses through the initiative.

Irene’s winning business BellaMoon, was in the ‘Pre-revenue’ category, defined as a ‘business focusing on ideation, discovery and business validation with minimal sales generated if any’. BellaMoon is currently going through user testing at University of Durham Infant Sleep lab. It is a unique multi-functional baby breast-feeding and co-sleeping bed, pregnancy pillow and baby dock, which Irene is planning to bring to market.

Speaking at the special presentation event, which hosted students from universities and colleges across the country, Nathan Bostock, Santander UK’s CEO, stressed the importance of supporting higher education. He said: “At Santander we recognise the importance of encouraging young entrepreneurs, particularly amongst university students, and we are committed to supporting them every step of the way. We were impressed with the talent, determination and creative thinking showcased today.

To get to the grand final, Irene had first to submit a business model canvas and a short video to get shortlisted to the top 30 regional finalists. She then had to travel to Northumbria University to compete against 10 others for a top 2 place in the region before taking part in the London national final where she faced stiff competition from the top 6 (the best 2 out of the three Santander UK regions) challengers. The judging criteria included business mission, purpose and overview, an understanding of potential customers, identification and mitigation of risks and growth strategy.

 


Are you an active academic who recognises your students’ potential or a student on the island of Ireland and inspired by Irene’s story? A competition of similar action The 2018 Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards is now open! There is an opportunity any student studying at a Higher Education Institute on the island of Ireland to turn a great idea into a winning project, cash and even a business with over €30,000 in prizes including an overall winner prize of €10,000! Similar to Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards, the competition has three stages: Creating the video and submission of the entry, Proposal of a business plan and Final Judging. Visit the website for more information and registration.

 


The content for this blog article was provided by Canice Consulting. Inquiries to Canice Hamill: @can_consulting1

The Teaching Toolkit is one of the main outputs of the EEE project addressing HEI lecturers and curriculum developers who want to support entrepreneurial teaching efforts in their HEIs. Not only does it incorporate state of the art teaching recommendations and guidelines for a total of 23 modules, but also provides three full courses on Entrepreneurship Education. Moreover, it is structurally aligned to the progressive Entrepreneurship Competence Framework that was developed and introduced by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in 2016.

On 14th December 2017, one of the modules of the Entrepreneurship Education Toolkit was piloted by the Start-Up Service of Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg as part of a lecture series on key qualifications for entrepreneurial thinking and acting. The piloted module, “Opportunities”, explores the trends as a source of inspiration to find the possibilities for entrepreneurial activities and the development of high-potential business ideas that may ultimately lead students to start up their own company. The module proposes the reading material and theoretical tasks for students, and highlights the topics for discussion for the trend analysis. The module conveniently offers the sources for the educators to exemplify and enhance students’ theoretical understanding of “entrepreneurial opportunities”, as well as suggestions for assessment.

The module has received positive feedback from both educators and students who participated in the lecture series. EEE representatives welcomed the valuable feedback received after the completion of the pilot test and will use it to further optimize the existing version of the EEE Teaching Toolkit.

 

©all rights on logo used in the image belong to the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

Cultivating entrepreneurial spirit across different layers of the society is a communal act, which requires engagement of various local actors including e.g. academic institutions, entrepreneurs, governmental bodies, and NGOs among others. In the scope of the EEE project, higher education institutions (HEIs) are placed in the centre, to bring together these local stakeholders to raise awareness, and create a joint comprehensive approach to develop, implement and institutionalize entrepreneurship education in the universities. Within the project’s timespan thus far, three alliances have been formed: in Halle/Saale, Germany; in Tyrol region, Austria; and in Szeged, Hungary, in a process led by the major universities of each region. Embedding Entrepreneurship Education Roadmap is the product of these efforts, as a toolkit that records the experiences and the lessons learnt, as well as providing a set of resources to help other regions establish an Entrepreneurship Education Alliance.

Embedding Entrepreneurship Education Roadmap offers a 10-step guideline on how to design, implement and coordinate joint educational and promotional entrepreneurial programmes. From the practical tips on establishing a coordinating body of the alliance, to the specific ways of monitoring the execution and sustainability of the whole programme, this toolkit explains in detail how to potentially organize a long-term interaction between higher education institutions, entrepreneurs and other actors, who are passionate about the growth of regional entrepreneurship.

The Roadmap illustrates how business and academic sectors can cooperate to achieve a connected approach to teach and promote entrepreneurship via practical examples based on three well-realized Regional Alliances. Thus, despite its primary focus on HEIs, the Roadmap can serve other academic, business or government actors engaged in entrepreneurship education. These good practices have utilized a variation of techniques and processes in their establishment and operation. The University of Szeged, Hungary exemplifies how an alliance can be built around the faculty, Univations GmbH, Germany shows how an alliance can form around an affiliated institute, and Management Center Innsbruck, Austria demonstrates how a new alliance can be developed around an existing one. Certainly, there is no single right path or a practice that can be directly replicated. Yet, with the given tools and examples, the Embedding Entrepreneurship Education Roadmap aims to foster implementation of the model in other European regions, reinterpreted within their own contexts.

Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) successfully introduced EEE project and the first project outputs to the regional entrepreneurial community and wider public at the Innsbruck Startup Festival and the innovation workshop.   

For a day, the old city of Innsbruck transformed itself from a historic neighbourhood to a modern entrepreneurial hub together with The Startup Festival, organized by Startup.Euregio. On 24 November, 2017, the pop-up start-up focal point ‘BASE EINS’ united more than 200 students, investors, start-ups, experts and other individuals passionate about fostering entrepreneurship in Tyrol, South Tyrol and Trentino. As an active participant, Management Center Innsbruck showcased its activities and recent outcomes, which have been well received by the visitors.

‘Innopun(s)ch’ workshop

A week after, on 1 December, 2017, EEE project was highlighted at yet another engaging event – ‘Innopun(s)ch’ workshop by MCI and Werkstaette Wattens. 20 participants from different backgrounds came together to discuss latest topics in the field of innovation management. A special focus has been laid on interactivity and practice to not only understand, but ‘feel’ and ‘touch’ innovation. Modules from the Entrepreneurship Teaching Toolkit have been employed in order to enrich the workshop and enhance the experience of its participants.

On November 30, 2017 Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences opened its doors for the 6th stakeholder meeting of the EEE regional alliance in Halle/Saale, Germany. In addition to discussing further strategies for strengthening the co-operation within the alliance, the regional EEE project’s stakeholders were introduced to the latest version of the Entrepreneurship Teaching Toolkit – a compilation of effective methodological and functional approaches to embed entrepreneurship in the academic curriculum design. 

The Entrepreneurship Teaching Toolkit offers a variety of possibilities to improve students’ entrepreneurial skills and allows for academics’ creativity in curriculum design through its modular structure. The developed modules – hence tools – focus on fostering students’ individual entrepreneurial competences to support innovative thinking and start-up creation both in theory and practice. Moreover, the toolkit includes course materials and case studies that can be customized for student-business and social entrepreneurship courses. The Entrepreneurship Teaching Toolkit also promotes external engagement and involvement of the business sector in educational programs at higher education institutions.  The online version of the toolkit can be accessed here.

The toolkit has received positive feedback from EEE project regional stakeholders. In fact, Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences currently aims to revisit curricular content to incorporate entrepreneurship education course modules and related learning outcomes into selected programmes. In this respect, EEE project has noticeably promoted the awareness and motivation to incorporate entrepreneurial education in academic curricula for this specific institution. The next step will be an establishment of the constructive dialogue among the internal university stakeholders on potential integration of EEE project resources into the teaching activities of the university. The EEE team of Univations GmbH has agreed to support this dialogue by further promoting the toolkit and explaining its underlying methodology to relevant stakeholders.

The EEE consortium has concluded its first national launch Weinberg Campus Bio-Zentrum Halle/Saale, Germany on Tuesday 21.11.2017. The high-level event was attended by 40+ participants coming from HEIs, VET provider, state ministries, intermediaries, as well communal bodies and showcased the educational resources developed within the EEE partnership.

In his introductory note, Mr. Bert Arnicke of Bio-Zentrum Halle took chance to highlight the importance of European cooperation projects as EEE for the international recognition and visibility of Weinberg Campus Halle. Furthermore, Mrs. Claudia Zott (Head of EU-Service Agency Saxony-Anhalt and co-host of the event) stretched the point that the European Project is undergoing hard times but is more important than ever for nurturing prosperity and peace in Europe. As such, successful European partnerships like EEE are important not only because of the valuable resources that are developed in such projects but also for establishing strong ties between Europeans on a personal level.

In the plenary session of the national launch Florian Bratzke and Daniel Worch explained EEE targets and educational intentions to the participants as well as how an inter-European project as EEE fits in with the long-term strategy and mission pursued by Univations GmbH. Their presentation was followed by an insight view on current developments of EU policies provided by Dr. David Fenner of the Representation of the State of Saxony-Anhalt to the EU. After the plenary session, the participants were asked to split up into separate work shop groups to detail the discussion about EEE outputs and potential involvements in Erasmus+ funded strategic partnerships. Overall, the EEE representatives received very positive and valuable feedback on each EEE intellectual output. As a matter of fact, participants feedback will be exploited to further ameliorate EEE intellectual outputs which are made available in beta version on the official EEE Learning Platform (http://www.eee-platform.eu/). After participants were given chance to attend both workshops, this part of the national launch was concluded with a qualified workshop summary provided Dr. Susanne Hübner, Head of the Start-Up Service at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg.

At the end of the EEE National Launch Germany, Mrs. Kathrin Hamel of EU Service Agency Saxony-Anhalt took chance to quickly inform all present guests about upcoming funding possibilities in the year 2018 as well to point to the valuable assistance her agency provides for stakeholders interested in getting involved in Erasmus+ as well as other European funded projects and partnerships.

The EEE National Launch in Halle/Saale, Germany has been the first of a series of EEE national multiplier events in Innsbruck (Austria) and Szeged (Hungary). The launch events on national level are a prelude to the international presentation of all EEE resources that will take place alongside the high-level UIIN University Industry Interaction Conference in London from 20-22 June 2018 (https://www.university-industry.com/).

 

 

Photo credits: © Jakob Adolphi

Hungarian venture capital agency Creative Accelerator and INPUT organised a competition called “Creative Pitching Day” for startups to promote their project ideas and attract investors’ attention. One of the most promising projects of the EEE Entrepreneurship Course, PriceMind, has been selected among the 6 most attractive project ideas to be presented to the investors, at the event that took place on the 16th of November. 

The team is working on a marketing service that could yield significant statistical insights for companies into their competitors’ prices. The software monitors the prices in the competitors’ webshops and collects these data into tables and figures. This information could help to making better pricing decisions.

In recent weeks, significant development in the software has been carried out. Thus, the mentors suggested the team to submit their project idea to the competition, that is not only an idea any more.  At the end of the selection process, PriceMind has been selected and had the opportunity to demonstrate their project concept to a board of potential investors.

Although none of the participants received investment offer, taking part in the Creative Pitching Day gave the team new impetus and provided significant insights from the investors’ point of view. PriceMind is now searching for potential users, who will use the software for 2-3 months test period. Negotiations with 3 companies has been started. During this phase the team expect feedback from users to further improve their software and validate the concept. Hopefully, their service will be available for a wider range of companies soon.

 

Management Center Innsbruck launches the EEE project National Event along with one of the liveliest start-up events that will take place in the region. 

To introduce the project to a broader public and to demonstrate the first project outputs, the EEE project MCI team takes part in the upcoming Start-up Festival. This event is organized by Startup.Euregio to showcase the start-up community in Tyrol, South Tyrol and Trentino.

On 24 November 2017, starting at 3pm, the Start-up Festival brings together start-ups, institutions in the start-up ecosystem, and investors at ´the ‘BASE EINS’, a popup start-up hub, close to the State Theater in the heart of Innsbruck.

From 6 pm on the festival moves to the Trade Fair Center in Innsbruck. Two exciting keynote speeches by “accelerators guru” and start-up ecosystem builder Tal Catran, and Cathy White, the founder and director of Cew Communications, and pitches from the finalists of the ‘120 Second Chance’ will be followed by a clubbing event. It will become obvious that entrepreneurs do not only work hard but party hard as well.

For more information on the festival, and registration please visit the website of the event at: http://www.startupeuregio.eu/en/startups/startupfestival

Innsbruck creates room for the startup-scene and welcomes the business incubator ‘Base EINS’ in the heart of the city for six months.

Within the last years, the importance and relevance of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial activities has been growing within the region of Tyrol. To further support this development, the project ‘Base EINS’ has been initiated to create a central meeting point for young entrepreneurs and start-ups.

The Base EINS is located next to the state theater of Innsbruck, where four containers are open every day of the week, from 2 pm to 6 pm, until the end of March 2018.

Base EINS offers not only a unique program for entrepreneurial initiatives, focusing on workshops, consulting, information sharing and active networking, but even more so interested companies and entrepreneurs are free to book Base EINS for their own events, and start-ups can exhibit their products for free.

For more information have a look at the detailed program at: www.baseeins.at.

The Univations Investforum Pitch-Day 2017 took place recently in Halle at the ERDGAS Sportpark, with the attendance of 26 start-ups who successfully pitched their business models to 70 investors.

In the past, start-ups were able to convince venture capital funds and business angels to invest sums ranging from 100.000 to 5 Million Euro into their business ideas. Now, however, for entrepreneurs who look for start-up capital the market can be rather competitive, for there are a lot more creative ideas and and investors have to spend a lot more time to assess success factors before they put money into new opportunities. Investforum Pitch-Day 2017 was marked as one of the platforms where competitive minds and investors with questions are brought together for an exiting marathon.

The event mainly focuses on companies that are still in the seed or early start-up phase – a typical period where innovative companies in Germany have problems to raise capital. As such, Investforum has become one of the main matching events for innovative start-ups in the new German States during the past years.

Daniel Worch, CEO of Univations, and as such responsible for the event, took the chance to present the Erasmus+ project Embedding Entrepreneurship Education to the participating guests. Due to the presence of high-quality start-ups, the event naturally has not only attracted investors, but also start-up coaches as well as trainers involved in entrepreneurial education from all over Germany – target group of the intellectual resources developed within EEE.