Embedding entrepreneurial skills development deeper into higher education is one of the main challenges for educational institutions throughout Europe.When we designed the EEE project, it has been our motivation to make a valuable contribution to overcome this challenge. After two years of intensive and fruitful collaboration, we can now proudly present and share the final results of our project. At its core, EEE established support structures for practical driven entrepreneurship education, widely promoted the beneficial potential of entrepreneurial skills development inside partnering HEIs and created a high-quality teaching compendium based on the European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework.

 
However, collaboration has not been limited to the EEE project institutions but rather been based upon an open innovation approach. This has proven to be extremely valuable for the development of our resources. Among others, we received input from HEIs across Europe such as Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Vilnius University, London South Bank University, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam, University of Economics in Katowice, West University of Timișoara but also from outside Europe such as Wilkes University and La Trobe University. Moreover, EEE resources have been selected for the EntreComp Into Action Collection by the Joint Research Center of the EC, the best practice report of the Erasmus+ project Entrepreneurial Training for Entreprise Educators (ETEE) as well as the I-LINC best practice repository.

 
In the light of this, EEE may well serve as an inspiration for other educational institutions with like-minded intentions. To catalyse the latter, we explicitly invite all learners and educators to fully exploit the EEE resources as well as to get in touch with us for exchanging, ideas, opinions, experiences and knowledge on practical driven entrepreneurship education.
Therefore, be kindly invited to explore what we have achieved in the life-time of our project in EEE final newsletter as well as on our website and resource platform.

Hosted at the Mermaid Theatre London on the 20th of June, EEE Project International Launch brought together a diverse group of practitioners, researchers, policy makers and program managers from across the world. The event was held alongside the University Industry Interaction Conference that allowed the dissemination of project results to larger groups of audiences. The launch program was designed in three sections; the panel Entrepreneurship Education in Higher Education – Global Experiences, EEE Project introduction and showcasing of results, and the interactive Workshop Fostering Entrepreneurship Education in Higher Education, a mix of activities that combined learning, knowledge exchange and hands-on practice.

The Global Experiences session started off with short presentations by the panellists, Ingrid Wakkee, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Rodney Ridley, Executive Director of Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship at Wilkes University and Silvia McCormack, Acting Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor at La Trobe University Australia. During their presentations, the panellists elaborated on the status-quo of the entrepreneurial education in their institutions, success factors, and challenges they tackle in establishing working structures. The diversity of speaker profiles and experiences led to lively discussions between the participants and the experts, with leading questions addressing e.g. assessment of entrepreneurship education, motivation of academics to adopt new approaches to teaching, expansion of entrepreneurial teaching and mindset across all study fields, and culture of start-up failure in European vs. American context.

This session was followed by EEE project introduction and showcasing of the results presented by Florian Bratzke of Univations GmbH, who provided information about the project timeline, outputs and the nature of the stakeholder interaction in the Halle region, in Germany. Further input into the project outputs and regional impact was provided by Christine Pirhofer from Management Center Innsbruck (MCI), and Szabolcs Pronay from the University of Szeged, representatives of the two university partners of the project consortium. These presentations provided a deeper insight into the individual journeys of the institutions during project development and implementation, as well as informing the audience on the most recent advancements in Szeged, and in the region of Tirol, concerning stakeholder collaboration and start-up ecosystems.

The third component of the international launch program, the workshop Fostering Entrepreneurship Education in Higher Education was facilitated by Thorsten Kliewe, in a structure that followed three steps of group work: identification of current challenges in the promotion of entrepreneurship education, development of scaling and funding proposal ideas, and pitching of the developed ideas to the audience. The exercise attracted interest of the participants, due to its interactive nature that fostered discussions on institutional challenges, exchange of experiences, and generation of joint solutions to the common problems identified.

The major challenges addressed by the groups included difficulties with expanding the reach of the entrepreneurial education across all disciplines, lack of opportunities offered to PhDs in adopting an entrepreneurial approach to translate their research into business models, and unavailability of assessment models for entrepreneuial teaching and learning at the universities. This phase was followed by the groups having another round of discussions on whether there is an existing approach that might address these challenges, or fresh new ideas have to be developed. In the last step, the teams visualised their solutions on flip charts, and pitched them to the other team members for further opinion and feedback.

The workshop was concluded with a call for attention to the development of soft skills, and recognition of it by the higher education institutions. When integrated into the curriculum, not as an add-on course or an isolated content but rather an embedded skill present in all subjects, entrepreneurship can find a ground to florish among learners and staff, both as a mindset and a valuable competence.

While the project is approaching to the end of its lifetime, the outputs presented in the EEE platform will be kept updated. Stay tuned!

University of Szeged has recently held its national launch where the audience could get an insight about the challenges and opportunities of nowadays young (Generation Z) entrepreneurs and the ways how their competences can be fostered. The EEE event was attended by over 50 regional business partners, stakeholders, academics and students. The focus of the event was the EEE specialized course, that involved local entrepreneurs as lecturers and mentors of the students. In the plenary session four presentations were delivered by project representatives, students and external stakeholders of the EEE semester program.

In his presentation Dr. Norbert Buzas has focused on the function of accelerators, characteristics of modern day entrepreneurs, and approaches to provide this new generation of entrepreneurs the best assistance during their development. Márk Olajos a young entrepreneur, who was involved as a mentor in the EEE course, highlighted the main challenges that nowadays Generation Y and Z entrepreneurs are facing. The third presenter Dr. Szabolcs Pronay introduced the EEE Teaching Toolkit to the audience, describing the methodology to be followed in successfully integrating the modules into the course programs, as well as indicating the potential barriers that can be faced in the process. The last presenter of the plenary session was Attila Tóth – a student who participated in the EEE semester course. He highlighted how the course learnings have had an impact on students’ mindset and equipped him with the right skills to successfully launch his start-up (called: Pricemind). The plenary session was followed by a workshop on the pathways to integrate regional stakeholders in entrepreneurial course program development and delivery.

Following plenary sessions and the workshop, in the afternoon, there was a joint event, the national final of a new presentation challenge, called “Prezilimpia – the Presentation Olympics”. This new challenge was co-organized and co-hosted by the Hungarian EEE team and it aimed to foster the presentation and pitching skills of the young entrepreneurs. 8 young entrepreneurs competed in front of the jury of local entrepreneurs and professional presenters. With this joined event a county-wide audience was reached and the program of the EEE National Launch was boosted to a full-day program about young (Generation Z) entrepreneurs, that also generated a larger media coverage.

© All rights for the images used in this post belong to the University of Szeged

The ongoing transition to an increasingly knowledge-intensive economy has sparked entrepreneurial transformation across several regions, and Lithuania is no different. Soon after gaining independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, Lithuania placed entrepreneurship in the front and center of its education policy. Consequently, most of the higher learning institutions in the country started setting up centers that facilitate entrepreneurial transformation. This is in addition to incorporating entrepreneurship education as a mandatory element of their curricula. Center for Enterprise (CEP) at the Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) has emerged as a direct outcome of this movement, offering a number of entrepreneurial programs that bring together the companies in the region with students and the academic community at large. The center is specifically setup to integrate and sustain the fragmented and often intermittent entrepreneurial initiatives of scholars and students, thereby contributing not only to the global standing of the university but also to the development of an entrepreneurial eco-system in Kaunas region.

Entrepreneurial programs offered at CEP

The center follows a structured approach towards inculcating entrepreneurial values and competencies amongst its students. Particularly, three sequential entrepreneurship-support programs are offered by the center: the Entrepreneurship Academy, the Entrepreneurship Laboratory and Smart Practices.

The Entrepreneurship Academy program gives recognition to the fact that entrepreneurial transformation begins with a change in mindset. As such it mainly concentrates on creating interest amongst participants. The program follows a very broad admission policy, catering not only to students who aspire to become an entrepreneur but also to those who do not plan to join an entrepreneurial pathway in the near future. What is unique about this program is that accomplished entrepreneurs from a wide range of sectors are invited to share their experiences with participants.  The diversity of the invited speakers is especially important in a Liberal Arts University like VMU in getting across the point that entrepreneurship is not restricted to technology-intensive disciplines.

After completing the Entrepreneurship Academy program those interested in further developing their entrepreneurial capability join the “Entrepreneurship Laboratory” program. Here a team of multidisciplinary students are presented with the actual problems of participating companies for which they are expected to find solutions as part of a course. The team operates with the technical assistance of their university professors and under the mentorship of company representatives. After spending up to four months in the problem the team presents its recommendation both to the participating companies and the university. If the students are still interested to further develop their idea they will join the third stage i.e., Smart Practice. However, it is important to note that only handful of students (i.e., around 25%) are accepted into this program. Unlike stage one and two, here students are temporarily placed within one of the participating organizations, either to further refine their work from the Entrepreneurial Lab program or tackle a novel problem. The Smart Practice is often conducted in a form of an internship.

The overall impact of the program has been positive on the regional eco-system in general and the participants in particular. First and foremost, there has been a positive change of attitude amongst students, professors and organizations in the region. The students benefit from hands-on experience and entrepreneurial competences, which considerably enhance their competiveness in the labor market. Benefits to the participating companies are also apparent. Apart from finding workable business solutions and fresh ideas from the team of multi-disciplinary students, they use the opportunity to recruit competent students after their graduation. The early success of CEP has attracted significant interest from other universities and public institutions in the region, with pilot trials already being underway.

To learn more about the nature of the entrepreneurial activities at VMU, please see the full case study here

Authored by Habtamu Diriba and Hacer Tercanli

©all rights on images used in this article belong to the Vytautas Magnus University 

This article was originally published at uiin.org and is based on the case study collected and developed within University-Business Cooperation in Europe Study https://www.ub-cooperation.eu/

“Entrepreneurship is when you act upon opportunities and ideas and transform them into value for others. The value that is created can be financial, cultural, or social”- with this opening definition EntreComp Into Action User Guide invites its readers on a journey to explore outstanding case studies, tools and ideas that have successfully employed the Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (EntreComp) of the European Commission inside the European Union. We are honoured that the EEE Teaching Toolkit has been selected by the responsible committee as one of the good practice examples in the tools section of the user guide.

What is EntreComp and EntreComp Into Action User Guide?

In brief, EntreComp has been developed to provide a coherent conceptual understanding for entrepreneurship education inside the EU. As such, the framework sets the ground for identifying relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes that comprise “entrepreneurial mindset”, and observes it through three major competence areas, which are subdivided  into 15 competences each:

1) Ideas & Opportunities,

2) Resources, and

3) Into Action.

EntreComp Into Action User Guide has been devised to navigate individuals and organizations that aspire to develop entrepreneurial competences through lifelong learning, formal/non-formal teaching and training activities, as well as in working environment. The Guide provides a comprehensive introduction to EntreComp and highlights 70 outstanding examples that have successfully implemented the framework. These case studies, tools and ideas reflect on the ways entrepreneurial learning can be integrated across various sectors and for different audiences.

How is the EEE Teaching Toolkit connected to EntreComp?

Successfully serving its purpose, EntreComp provided a clear structural guidance for the development of 23 combinable teaching modules that compose the EEE Teaching Toolkit. As a matter of fact, the EEE Teaching Toolkit is a powerful entrepreneurship education instrument to:

  • Embed and facilitate entrepreneurial teaching and learning in HEIs,
  • Provide guidance for HEI lecturers and curriculum planners,
  • Sensitise HEI staff with non-business backgrounds for the added-value of entrepreneurship education,
  • Catalyse the inclusion of entrepreneurship education into HEI curricula,
  • Involve stakeholders of the entrepreneurial eco-system in practically driven entrepreneurship courses.

Incorporating the EntreComp competences framework, EEE Teaching Toolkit reflects on the main dimensions needed for educating successful entrepreneurs.  It translates the core ideas behind the EntreComp framework into practical exercises, that aims at “nurturing a new generation of entrepreneurs” in line with the goals of Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan. With its outputs and specifically EEE Teaching Toolkit, EEE project makes a significant contribution to EU policy to “stimulate the development of entrepreneurial, creative and innovation skills in all disciplines in all three circles”(2011 Agenda for the Modernization of Europe’s HE Systems).

 

 

©all rights on images used in this article belong to European Commission 

On the 2nd March 2018, interested students were invited to attend a Q&A kick-off event dedicated to MCI Creativity Award 2018. The event took place at ‘BASE EINS’, a startup hub in front of the Tyrolean State Theatre in Innsbruck, and was organized by MCI in collaboration with Startup.Tirol, the centerpiece of the EEE Regional Alliance in Tyrol. During this event, the students has a chance to learn every detail of how to prepare for a business competition based on the corresponding module ‘Idea Competition’ in the EEE Teaching Toolkit.

The module ‘Idea Competition’, freely accessible here, is designed primarily for the individuals experimenting with entrepreneurial activities for the first time. It has the aim to foster entrepreneurial ideas coming from different fields and supports also individuals who have not yet made experiences with entrepreneurship or management before, in sharing, spreading and eventually also commercializing their ideas. HEI educators can use the materials of the course to enrich the existing or create new entrepreneurship education courses.

The idea competition module consists of two parts. The aim of part one is to give an overview on how an idea competition could look like, how such competition might be structured and organized. The purpose of part two of this idea competition module is to support students in preparing for a successful participation in an idea competition.

In addition to module ‘Idea Competition’, EEE Teaching Toolkit offers two more modules: Course 1: Improving Entrepreneurial Skills, and Course 3: Encouraging Social Entrepreneurship, which are freely available at our Resource Platform.

 

A practical approach has been introduced at the University of Szeged, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, to teach and encourage students from different disciplines to become entrepreneurs.

The course promoting entrepreneurial thinking has taken place in the international Erasmus+ framework. One of the most important missions of the European Union is to encourage the younger generation to become entrepreneurs. Therefore, university students, who represent a high proportion of the young generation, provide an excellent basis to whom entrepreneurship can be promoted.

Why exactly in Szeged?

The University of Szeged is one of the biggest Hungarian universities. There are 25,000 students studying different sciences at its 12 Faculties. Not only the students from the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration can become entrepreneurs. It is becoming more and more important that students from other disciplines gain insight into entrepreneurship. Due to the diversity of disciplines at the University of Szeged and the successful Master’s Business Development training program at the Faculty of Economics, the experimental course has good foundations to be implemented in the future.

Novelty of the course: the attractiveness of entrepreneurial examples

The traditional university programmes are based on a course or seminar, where instructors teach and students take notes. At the end of each semester, students take the appropriate tests. Though more and more courses in the topic of becoming entrepreneurs leave the traditional teaching method behind, they do not always prove to be successful. The organizers of this new course tried to rethink the traditional teaching model based on their previous experiences.

Students could apply with a covering letter and with an introduction of an entrepreneurial idea. The aim of the organizers was to attract only those students, who are serious about becoming entrepreneurs and are willing to take part in courses for their professional development. They wanted to deter those students, who would only have participated in the course for collecting additional credits.

Regarding teachers, organizers invited those people, who are entrepreneurs themselves and have a practice in teaching, or they included those teachers, who have real and first-hand experience on the market. Therefore, they would be able to transfer their own market experience to students. Entrepreneurs and teachers have both participated in the organisation and implementation. Almost 30 entrepreneurs and teachers took part in the course who received a teaching toolkit developed during the EEE course.

From apartment-restaurants to co-working offices

Students worked on 5 project ideas. Based on these ideas, students had to develop and introduce a complete business plan at the end of the semester. Some students had to change the concept of their business, because they had encountered certain problems which could have undermined the basic aim of their enterprise. This happened in case of the co-working office, which was an apartment-restaurant concept originally.

Throughout the course, students worked on the development of a business software, which could monitor the different prices on web shops. Others were concerned with the development of a software, providing financial contribution for animal shelters, while another group worked on a local craft beer manufactory and a social pub-finder application. The final business plans were presented in front of a professional board. The members of the board did not see the completed concepts before. Therefore, they could evaluate the concepts without bias and could provide feedback for the students.

The Facebook page containing the course’s final presentations and pictures can be found on the following link.

 

© All rights on images used in this article belong to University of Szeged, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.

 

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