In schools, the topics entrepreneurial thinking and acting often receive little attention and are usually dealt with in a rather theoretical than practical manner. External support offered to schools can make up for this “gap” by allowing pupils to pursue action-based approaches that go beyond typical classroom settings of learning. This rational underlies the project futurego which addresses all schools located in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It focusses on entrepreneurial mindset development among pupils from 8th to 12th grade by allowing them to employ relevant skills in the basis of self-initiated, venture driven endeavours. In the school context, this is usually realized by establishing so called “mini-companies”. Hence, futurego operationally integrates entrepreneurship education into schools – a fusion also articulated in the project’s leitmotif “school your idea”. The project is realized within a state-wide competition for the best ideas, creating an additional incentive for participation among young learners. However, pupils need professional guidance on their way to establish their own company. This is also why futurego offers a variety of training formats along three inter-dependent project stages that are offered free of charge over the course of an entire school year.
During the first stage, participating teams develop their own business ideas and narrow it down in a two-page idea paper. They fundamentals allowing them to do so are taught within 90-minute workshops based on the “Business Model Canvas” tool.
The second stage deals with the extension of the idea to a thorough concept paper which also includes a three-minute video and the creation of a first prototype. During individual coaching sessions the teams receive helpful tips and advice from tutors. In addition, the practical day “Heute Schüler morgen Chef ” (Pupil today, boss tomorrow) offers the opportunity to gain exciting insights into regional companies experiencing actual business routines. As a matter of fact, participants accompany founders or business leaders during a work day. Through this first-hand impression, they gain valuable insights for their own business idea as well as additional motivation for the final spurt of their concept papers.
In the third and final stage, the best business ideas are awarded (material and cash prizes up to 1.000 €) on a prominent closing event with over 350 guests. Moreover, the five best teams get the opportunity to pitch their business idea in front of an independent jury which also selects the winners of the competition. In addition, the best 20 teams (selected prior to the final event) are given chance to present their business ideas, also showcasing respective prototypes and promotion videos on the events’ idea exhibition.
futurego Sachsen-Anhalt is realised within the context of the “start-up offensive ego. Saxony-Anhalt” and coordinated by Univations GmbH – Institute for Knowledge and Technology Transfer at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg. The project is funded by the Ministry of Economy, Science and Digitalisation of the State of Saxony-Anhalt and the European Social Fund (ESF).
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