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.

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/

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.

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.

Univations participates in DAAD Workshop to bring EEE dissemination to the next level

On 27.04.2017 Mr. Florian Bratzke, European Project Officer at EEE Partner Univations GmbH, joined an one day PR workshop organised by German Academic Exchange Service DAAD in Bonn. During the workshop, innovative techniques for dissemination of project progress and results have been introduced to German Erasmus+ consortium leaders and partners. Going along with the high internal quality standards set to guarantee the project’s success, EEE partners agreed to intensify their efforts to disseminate project related outcomes. The insights from the DAAD workshop will support EEE partner to life up to this goal.

 

Univations prepares for German National Launch of EEE

On May 5th, Daniel Worch, CEO of EEE Partner Univations GmbH, has met with representatives from Saxony-Anhalt EU-Service-Agency to discuss the German EEE national launch which will take the 21stof November 2017 in Halle. During this high-level one-day-conference, participants from HEIs, VETs, Business and the political scene will be introduced to the main outcomes of EEE asked for productive feedback to improve the open educational resources. As the event will be organised in conjunction with Saxony-Anhalt EU-Service-Agency, EEE related subjects will be also part of the agenda and presented by guest speakers. One of the main speakers will be Mr. David Fenners, Policy Officer for Research & Innovation, State Aid & Procurement and Regional Policy at the Representation of the State of Saxony-Anhalt to the EU. Univations will host the event at the heart of Technology Parc Weinberg Campus.

 

Successful 3rd stakeholder meeting of EEE Regional Alliance in Halle

The German branch of the EEE consortium has met for the 3rd Regional Alliance Stakeholder Meeting on 18.05.2017 in Magdeburg, capital city of Saxony-Anhalt. After a short introductory note from Univations CEO Daniel Worch, Stakeholders were introduced to the latest developments within EEE and informed about the German EEE National Launch taking place 21.11.2017 at Technology Parc Weinberg Campus in Halle. One part of the event the was also dedicated to Prof. Dr. Graham Hortons Founders Playbook, which has the potential to ideally complement the EEE Teaching Toolkit when it comes to the point where students actually want to start-up a company. Prof. Horten explicitly asked participants to contribute their expertise to the Playbook, a process the EEE consortium has started as well with the pilot testing of the first module from the EEE teaching toolkit during the MLU Gründerservice Entrepreneurship week in May. As a matter of fact, stakeholders of the 3rd EEE alliance meeting agreed to intensify cooperation in the next months in order to draft a set of joint actions for improving entrepreneurship education in the region.

Number of institutions in the Austrian Alpine area of Tirol, including the Management Center Innsbruck (MCI), have joined forces to establish the alliance ‘Startup Tirol’ that will foster entrepreneurial activity and network in the region. This new initiative is expected to act as a powerhouse for MCI in its implementation of the EEE Project activities and reinforcement of the entrepreneurial practices among target groups.  

In late February the key actors from the public and private sector in the Tyrolean entrepreneurship ecosystem have founded a regional alliance called ‘Startup Tirol’. This alliance comprises the Regional Development Agency (Standortagentur Tirol), the Chamber of Commerce in Tyrol, the University of Innsbruck, the Management Center Innsbruck (MCI), I.E.C.T. – The Institute for Entrepreneurship Cambridge – Tirol, the Werkstätte Wattens, and a number of individuals.

This alliance will be the coordinating umbrella for all activities of the involved actors with respect to entrepreneurship awareness and support. In this context, EEE Project is no exception to gain benefits from the initiative. Development of the Innsbruck Regional Alliance and the EEE entrepreneurship teaching modules are taking place in coordination with Startup Tirol, which serves as a secure ground for the envisaged project outcomes to be achieved.