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.

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.

5 teams, 26 students and 10 mentors started to work on project ideas that aim to enhance higher entrepreneurial endeavours in the region. The EEE course was promoted at 12 faculties at the University of Szeged and receiving a positive response from several media. After the application there were a small drop-out, but the most enthusiastic students stayed to create entrepreneurial value.

In previous months, students had to submit a motivational letter – including their motivations and project ideas if they already had – in order to apply for the course. Finally, the applicants were grouped into 5 teams, then the project ideas were selected and presented by the students in the middle of September.

There are more developed project concepts and less developed ideas as well, thus some of the matured projects have the possibility to reach market introduction within 1 year. These projects are briefly summarised below:

Craft beer producer

One of the team members produces craft beer in a regular basis, but in a small amount. His idea is to establish a craft beer brand that suits the need of young people and will fulfill a market niche –quality craft beer at an affordable price. They will prepare a plan for the budget because in the first step the producer has to invest to equipment, then they will work on how to position this local craft beer on the market.

In-house restaurant

The main concept is to combine the advantages of preparing food at home and the benefits of eating in a restaurant. The team wants to open a restaurant in a flat that will host closed gastro events for those who wants to invite friends and/or relatives for special occasions. The team believes that, people do not like to clean their apartments after an event, thus they rather go to a „kitchen flat” where they just have to prepare food but do not have to wash the dishes after the event or spend time on buying the ingredients for the dinner.

PriceMind

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.

PubSearcher

This peer-to-peer smart phone application is entitled to collect all information – regarding reviews, promotions, opening hours, etc. – relating to pubs in a local area. The goal is to help people to make decisions when they are planning their Friday or Saturday nights. The business model will provide revenues for the developers from the pubs’ financial contributions.

Donations for homeless-animals

The goal of this social entrepreneurship project is to help stray animals to find a new home and to find pet friendly people in order to gain financial resource for animal shelters. The smart phone application and/or website would help non-business organizations to reach higher audiences in the country, furthermore it lets people to adopt animals virtually and contribute to their living costs. The team hopes that this online tool will decrease the number of stray animals on the streets and can mediate in a higher efficiency between orphaned animals and pet friendly people.