Over the past few decades, the field of Entrepreneurship in Education has found itself a flourishing ground, and has achieved academic legitimacy and maturity expanding its practice across borders, and among learners of all ages and backgrounds. Yet, the interpretation of what entrepreneurship in education is and how it is facilitated varies greatly across institutions and environments. Prepared as a tribute to the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Project Embedding Entrepreneurship Education (EEE), this special issue of University Industry Innovation Magazine is dedicated to exploring the diversity of the approaches and practices to embedding entrepreneurship in higher education.

During the past two years, the EEE project consortium has developed a variety of tools and instruments that can be used to promote entrepreneurial thinking and action, establish regional stakeholder networks, and foster setting up state-of-the-art entrepreneurship education curriculum at the university level. We hope that the EEE Teaching Toolkit and its individual modules, the Roadmap for Universities to Create Regional Alliances will enable the replication of these good practices in other regions in Europe.

Apart from highlighting the EEE project approach and the outcomes, this issue of the magazine introduces the work of some of the most prominent European initiatives, WEXHE, EntreAssess, ETEE, and Tomorrow’s Land. Further, the issue brings to your attention the institutional journeys of JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, and Munich Business School, as well as two Australian universities LaTrobe University and The University of Adelaide, in integrating an entrepreneurial culture and curriculum within their institutions.

To explore more of the EEE project outputs and dive into the variety of institutional practices in embedding entrepreneurship in higher education, we encourage you to access the magazine here.

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.

Second consortium meeting of the EEE Project was hosted by the University of Szeged (SZTE) Knowledge Management Center in the city of Szeged, Hungary. The meeting set the platform for the project representatives to share progress on their work packages, and discuss arrangements on the pilot-testing of the entrepreneurship courses in partner locations.

The two-day program gave the participants the opportunity to present their work in detail on the major agenda topics, i.e. the development of the EEE Alliance Road Map, EEE Teaching Toolkit, multimedia resources, and project dissemination activities, as well as exchanging ideas on the upcoming tasks, in particular, possible platforms for the pilot-testing of the courses in the partner universities- and potential challenges in implementation. The presentations overall have led to productive discussions on the nature of the ‘EEE Regional Alliance Development Roadmap’ (SZTE), and the teaching methodologies of the individual modules presented in the ‘EEE Teaching Toolkit for Entrepreneurship Education’ (MCI).

Szeged team has taken concrete steps to offer their 5-credit new EEE course ‘Entrepreneurship Education’ to USZ students from 11 study programs, starting from September 2017. The course is highly promising in its offerings. In the model, not only the business leaders will be involved with the course lecturing, but also the Department of Economics Master’s program students will provide mentoring to the enrolled students throughout the semester. Pilot teaching of the courses are foreseen to take place at the ‘Entrepreneurship Camp’ in the summer of 2017 at MCI, during which coaching and mentoring sessions are offered to MCI students, and at ‘Entrepreneurship Weeks’ in May 2017 at MLU, in collaboration with the Univations EEE Project representatives.

The meeting was a success in terms of its outcomes, supported by the generous hospitality of the host partners. The participants enjoyed a city sightseeing tour after the first day of the meeting, followed by traditional Hungarian dishes and drinks during a dinner organized by the Szeged project representatives.

The next partner meeting is planned to take place in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, on 17-18 October.

Univations strengthens ties with their major alliance partner Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) on the pilot teaching of the EEE entrepreneurship course modules. On behalf of their 2nd regional alliance meeting on 30.03.2017 at MLU, Univations has discussed EEE goals and strategies with Prof. Dr. Claudia Becker – Dean of the Economics and Law Faculty.

At the meeting held with Prof. Dr. Claudia Becker, Dean of the Economics and Law Faculty, the project team was assured to receive the faculties support in helping the EEE consortium to pilot test the learning resources that will be developed throughout the course of the project. Furthermore, Prof. Becker agreed to become an active member in the EEE Halle Alliance, emphasizing her will to assist Univations to carry EEE initiatives into MLU. During the meeting it was further agreed to work closely together with the Start-Up Service of MLU and to intensify efforts to extend the EEE stakeholder network of the regional alliance in the next months. Due to her expertise, experience and position as Dean, Prof. Becker will be a key figure for identifying and recruiting high potential MLU staff and students, who are able to positively contribute to the EEE mission.

 

The second alliance event in the line after Halle, Szeged Regional Alliance meeting has brought together higher education professionals and the representatives of regional firms to identify possible methods of cooperation and plan the upcoming steps in the EEE entrepreneurship course development and implementation.

Szeged Regional Alliance kick-off meeting successfully took place on 9 March 2017 in the premises of University of Szeged (USZ) in the leadership of the project team Dr. Norbert Buzás, Dr. Szabolcs Prónay, and Sándor Huszár. The event hosted more than 20 business partners who are interested in investing in their experience and knowledge in the EEE Project entrepreneurship course development, implementation, and the promotion activities in cooperation with the USZ teaching staff.

The meeting has identified the following steps regarding the involvement of the business representatives and student selection as (i) registering the exact role and contribution of the external partners, i.e. holding a lecture, mentoring a team, offering a business problem in the entrepreneurship courses, a discussion that will be finalized in late March and (ii) carrying out a well-defined recruitment process that will target the right group of students who will benefit from the teaching program the most, particularly those who are enthusiastic about the topic to put in practice what they have learned.

The next alliance meeting is agreed to take place in the month of June.

Halle Regional Alliance meeting facilitated introduction of the EEE Project to the entrepreneurship program management at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), as well as calling for support for the promotion and teaching of the EEE entrepreneurship courses at different platforms in the university.

The first Halle Regional Alliance meeting took place on 23 February with the participation of the representatives from Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Univations EEE Project team. The meeting served the project team to introduce the EEE Project to the entrepreneurship education program coordinators at MLU, as well as calling for support from the university leadership in the teaching of the EEE entrepreneurship courses. The participants defined the preliminary steps as the generation of a sound strategy on how to promote entrepreneurship teaching among the MLU academic staff and identify suitable platforms to pilot-teach the entrepreneurship course modules to MLU students.

Suggestions for the possible teaching platforms included ‘MLU Startup Week 2017’, an entrepreneurship campaign supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the nationwide initiative called ‘Gründerwoche Deutschland’, Startup Week Germany. The event that will take place from 8th – 13th May 2017 this year is expected to bring together students, scientists and entrepreneurs in the region within a program that will include excursions, trainings, workshops, informative lectures and networking events.

The project team has scheduled in the next days a follow-up meeting with the MLU Faculty of Economy and Law to discuss the concrete steps to be taken in the promotion and teaching of the entrepreneurship courses.

The design and content of IO3 Entrepreneurship Teaching Toolkits were in the spotlight during the February monthly briefing meeting, as well as the exciting news on the 1st Alliance Meetings taking place in Halle and Szeged in the months of February and March.

The discussions initiated in the leadership of Prof. Bernd Ebersberger from the Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) helped outline a draft framework on how to design and implement the entrepreneurship courses at the individual universities. The proposal from the institution included creating 12-15 independent modules with the themes in the scope of entrepreneurship that could either be taught during a semester as one single course, or combined in a customized manner to be taught at summer schools. Idea competition bootcamps, introduction to regional ecosystems, characteristics and motivations of entrepreneurs, games and competitions are some of the module themes that will be sequenced under (i) Entrepreneurship course and (ii) Social entrepreneurship course. The example course layout suggested by the MCI was well received from the partners, with more details agreed to be discussed in the following partner meetings.

While the entrepreneurship course details are taking shape, regional alliances are being formed to start conversations in their respective contexts. Univations has led their first successful regional alliance meeting with a small group from Martin-Luther-University Halle, and USZ, has scheduled their first alliance meeting on the 9th of March with the attendance of representatives from local businesses and academics. The EEE project will gain further visibility through a presentation on entrepreneurship Dr. Szabolcs Prónay will give at a large youth event in Szeged scheduled on the 18th of March.

The next briefing meeting is agreed be held on the 20th of the next month.

First steps are taken towards creation of EEE Regional Alliances in Halle, Szeged, and Innsbruck in the leadership of University of Szeged (USZ), through the discussions initiated by the institution to define a clear strategy on how to involve regional stakeholders in the alliances, and clarify their roles in the entrepreneurship course design and delivery. 

EEE Project monthly briefing meeting was held via conference call on 23rd of January with the attendance of six project consortium representatives from the five partner institutions. The meeting led by Univations focused on the progress the partners have achieved with the preliminary goals defined in the Halle kick-off meeting: preparations on the establishment of regional alliances (IO1), meetings with the respective university leadership on the content and structure of the student entrepreneurship courses, and improvements in the project corporate design and dissemination tools.

The discussions around the establishment of EEE Regional Alliances included clear communication of the benefits with potential stakeholders who are invited to form the alliances, and identification of the roles and responsibilities they can take in the design and delivery of the entrepreneurship courses (IO3). Tentative timeline for the promotion activities (IO2), the course length, and methods for student recruitment for the courses were additional topics that received attention of the project partners.

The participants agreed on to share further progress in the upcoming briefing meeting that will be held in February. Finally, the meeting was concluded with the confirmation of the second partner meeting in Szeged, at USZ, on 11-12.04.2017.