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From the 7th to the 8th of May, the University of Bielsko-Biala (UBB), southern Poland, opened its doors to the second consortium meeting of the PIETE project, welcoming the colleagues from Germany, Hungary, Austria, The Netherlands and fellow Polish University of Economics in Katowice (UEK). The meeting set the platform for the project representatives to share progress in their work regarding the first set of the project’s intellectual outputs, and discuss the arrangements of the Initial Teacher Education – Entrepreneurial Education experts’ tandems in Poland, Hungary and Austria.

The two-day program provided the participants with the opportunity to present their progress on the major agenda topics, specifically PIETE Awareness Test Center (IO1), which goal is to assess the awareness and conceptual understanding of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education among initial teacher educators , and the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Framework Report (IO2), which focusses on mapping the practices of the involved initial teacher education units. The presentations have led to productive discussions on the conceptual and practical design of the survey (IO1) and the report (IO2), their quality assessment methods and feedback.

PIETE Awareness Test Center (IO1)
The motivation for the creation of this output is rooted in the intention to better assess the prevailing understanding of entrepreneurial competences among ITE educators. In fact, ITE educators are mostly not aware of the wider scope of entrepreneurship education as laid out in EntreComp. As such, the purpose of entrepreneurship education (EE) is often still limited to activities that primarily aim to foster business creation. Consequently, ITE educators do not consider EE to be of much relevance for the teaching profession. However, this view disregards the wider scope of EE and results in an insufficient integration of the latter within ITE programmes. In the light of this, the PIETE Awareness Test Center provides means to:
– Assess EE conception of 10-15 ITE educators and level of EntreComp knowledgeability of each ITE partner within PIETE;
– Path the way for the creation of an empirical basis to better understand why EE does not play a prominent role in ITE yet;
– Implicitly sensitize pre-service teacher educators for the relevance of entrepreneurial competences and raise their awareness for the added-values of EntreComp for the teaching profession;
– Enable EE experts to better comprehend the rationale behind defined learning outcomes /competence assessment within ITE programmes;
– Adapt applied methods for assessment of competence conception to other relevant fields of higher education.
PIETE partners agree that the PIETE Awareness Test Center is a key preparatory element to unlock symbiotic potentials for the application of EntreComp within ITE at a later stage of the project. During the project meeting, the representatives of the lead partner of the PIETE project and the leader of this IO, Univations, presented the latest version of the survey, received feedback from the partners and discussed the survey internal and external pre-testing arrangements. Upon its finalization in upcoming months, the survey will be soon available as open resource.

ITE Framework Report (IO2)
To introduce methods, tools and concepts of EE to ITE requires a sound and comprehensive understanding of the professional environment ITE educators are involved in. With ITE Framework Report, the partners are developing a sound methodological framework that allows for a coherent mapping of the involved pre-service teacher training institution. To do so, it will also take into consideration the programmatic priorities of teacher training centers (TTCs) as not to disregard valuable input coming from the cultural and institutional diversity of the partners. As such the ITE Framework Report will be an innovative key instrument to:
– Create mutual understanding between ITE partners and EE partners within PIETE;
– Sensitise EE experts for ITE educator’s necessities and capacities;
– Activate ITE Educators as catalysts and advocates for EE inside TTCs;
– Identify relevant (institutional) barriers to the integration of EE content;
– Prepare a smooth integration of EntreComp based EE teaching modules into ITE;
– Exploit mutual learning potentials through exchange of experience between the TTCs of the partnership;
– Strengthen institutional back-up for PIETE objectives in the involved TTCs.

The representatives of the leader institution of this IO, University College of Teacher Education Tyrol, shared the approach to the report compilation, methodological framework and received valuable feedback for the implementation of the report framework within PIETE partner initial teacher education centers.

In addition to the talks about the IO1 and IO2, the partners have briefly discussed the future arrangements for the other outputs, workshops among the ITE and EE tandems in project countries, dissemination activities and administrative issues regarding the project implementation phase.

Overall, the meeting was a success in terms of its outcomes, supported by the generous hospitality of the host partners. The participants enjoyed the view of the region and Bielsko-Biala from above on a breathtaking observation platform after the first day of the meeting, followed by traditional Polish dishes and drinks during a dinner organized by the Polish project representatives.

The next partner meeting is planned to take place in Szeged, Hungary on 19-20 November, 2019.

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The so-called social capital (SC) builds the platform in every society for any innovative actions between people. Although the SC concept itself is rather a complex one when it comes to its multidimensionality and measurement (Fukuyama 1995; Scrivens and Smith 2013), this concept refers mainly to the level of trust between people in the society. Thus, the magnitude of social capital in a given society represents the extent to which people in this country treat themselves as reliable in their socio-economic roles, outside their family ties. In the absence of social capital, people do not expect other people would behave accordingly to the requirements they should fulfill as social actors. For example, when social capital is low, many people would not expect doctors of medicine to provide them with honest and high quality health advisory, but they would rather expect them to be driven by self-interest and opportunism in their interactions with patients. Similarly, in the educational context, students may have problems in relying on their teachers’ competencies, because they would again expect some other unethical and unprofessional motives driving their behaviour. One can easily imagine the difficulties created for entrepreneurs, while they try to launch and manage their businesses in such extreme context.

Unfortunately, the European Union is very diverse with regard to the level of social capital characterizing their member states. While Scandinavia is commonly known as the region with particularly high social capital, not only in EU but even in the worldwide context, there are also European regions, where social capital is low or even very low. Specifically, post-communist regions tend to exhibit low levels of SC, which concern Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and other Visegrad Countries, but it also refers to some regions in Germany that were a part of East Germany until the end of 80ties in 20th century. Of course, it does not mean that these are regions, where entrepreneurial spirit is absent. Actually, some of these post-communist economies develop dynamically, which is connected with many new companies established in these countries and more effective management of existing companies. While low social capital is visibly disturbing entrepreneurship in these regions, there are also some leverages like relatively cheap labour, effective education system and strong intrinsic motivation among people for improving their life conditions.

Nevertheless, while these regions have progressed enormously since they have switched towards market economies, the economic growth cannot be powered by economic efficiencies only. Further development is largely dependent on moving towards more innovation-based economies. In turn, innovations (especially radical ones) demand collaborative actions which is very visible in international supply chains, where most successful new products are developed as a result of collaborative product design, development and joint commercialization. If the level of social capital is low, the flow of knowledge between social actors may be not enough for boosting innovations, i.e. resulting in new brands recognizable on international scale. Stimulating entrepreneurship in such context may demand special approaches, because some traditional methods may not provide adequate means to do so. This creates the major challenge especially for education and institutions in these regions.

Fukuyama, Francis (1995), Trust: The social virtues and the creation of prosperity (Free Press Paperbacks).
Scrivens, Katherine and Smith, Conal (2013), ‘Four interpretations of social capital: An agenda for measurement’, (OECD Publishing).

Provided by: UEK
Image credit: Skitterphoto via www.pexels.com

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In Hungary, prior to the regime change of 1989, there were almost no possibilities to start a private venture beside solely public employment, thus the private business sector was virtually missing in the country. As a consequence, there was hardly any trace of transferring modern marketing and management knowledge in higher education. Instead, business knowledge was transferred in the framework of the subject called Business Economics. It was present only in economics training; furthermore, it contained theories almost exclusively on large enterprises. Based on this we can conclude that we could not see even a sign of either the concept of entrepreneurship or entrepreneurship education in Hungary when western authors had already been conducting extensive research in the topic.

After the regime change, if it is possible to say that, the situation got even worse. Although it was allowed to start a business, but it resulted in a large number of enterprises established by people without either qualifications or knowledge in business. They were adventurers, much rather than business experts. However, as adventurers would normally do, they tried to exploit the opportunities, which were in abundance, as the new rule of law had several legally unregulated areas. In Hungary, the entrepreneurs of the 90s were characterised by rapidly making vast fortunes while circumventing legal frameworks. It meant that the social perception of “entrepreneur” was on the level of “maverick” and “mountebank”. At that time children used to say “My father does not have a job, he is just an entrepreneur”.

It all clearly shows that the education of entrepreneurship was an indefinable category in Hungary, since it was like wanting to teach “how to be the bad boy”. The first educational initiatives at university level can be found within the Faculties of Economics. However, it still was not called “entrepreneurship education”, but much rather “business development” (these two expressions sound similar in Hungarian, but have a slightly different meaning). In 2006, we can already find “Business Development” specialisations within economics courses. It is important to note that the education of Business Studies and Economics Studies are not separated in Hungary, the two areas are combined within the same training courses, and all of them equally give an “economist degree”.

Regarding the perception of the concept of entrepreneurship, the start-up ecosystem was the first to bring a substantially positive change in Hungary. By the 2010s, some globally successful Hungarian start-ups (e.g. Prezi.com) put the concept of entrepreneurship into a new perspective. Now it was no longer the dubious practices of “mavericks” but the creative activity of young, ambitious people. As the popularity of the start-up world grew rapidly, so did the interest increase among young people in related courses and knowledge. Entrepreneurship appeared first in the private sector, and then in tertiary education. Initially it was present only in Economics Faculties, and it has also gained ground in other fields – primarily in Engineering and Informatics – in the past years.

The PIETE project opens a gate to the next level of development in such environment. At this level we not only present the skills required for entrepreneurial life for today’s youth but we also provide the teachers of the future generation with such knowledge. The emergence of entrepreneurship in the Hungarian initial teacher education is a new chapter in the turbulently changing entrepreneurial history of the past 30 years. We hope that this chapter will be the first part of the success story of entrepreneurship.

Provided by: University of Szeged
Image credit: UIIN

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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).

Want to know more about the project? Follow futurego on Facebook and Instagram.

Image credit: Belle Co via www.pexels.com

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Over the past decade, the need to ‘mobilise the brainpower’ and entrepreneurship education into school programs as early as possible has become a ground for a lively discussion in Europe. To recognize and empower the European entrepreneurial talent from the early age, we primarily need teachers who, apart from knowing their subject enclave inside out, can instill the idea of entrepreneurism into the classroom routine. For current and future teachers, developing entrepreneurial mindset and gaining deeper understanding of the basic tenets of entrepreneurship stretches beyond the ability to transmit this specific knowledge to their students. This training can have a favorable impact on their entire life.


Making a difference

Who are the people who choose teaching as their profession for life? The ones who want to create an impact in this world via helping younger generations discover their numerous talents and make the best out of them. When embedding entrepreneurial elements into school programs, no doubt, that the main lever to do so is by hiring a suitable teacher. The one who has nuanced understanding of what entrepreneurship is, who can maintain kids’ natural curiosity and foster their ability to face and solve problems.

The current state of affairs was aptly framed by Pasi Sahlberg, a well-known Finnish educator, who stated that ‘we still educate children with the mindset that there is a job for you; another option is to think create a job for yourself.’ In this light, future teachers are expected to infuse kids with solid awareness that future is uncertain, risks are something to live with, and failure is not a life sentence. It will rest in teacher’s hands to develop kids’ drive to innovate and think outside the box. To do so, they should be ‘live’ representations of what they actually convey in their classrooms.


Raising the level of employability

Training future teachers to think and act entrepreneurially does not only entail the transaction benefits gained from sharing knowledge with students, but also acquiring important transversal skills, e.g. exercising initiative, creative thinking, decision-making, spotting and implementing opportunities, etc. These skills are highly sought-after by employers in different areas these days, and can be of good use in our rapidly changing world. What is more, entrepreneurial philosophy, once properly understood and grasped, set one on the pathway of lifelong learning to constantly check their professional flair and hone relevant skills.


Nurturing personal growth

An important reason why cultivating entrepreneurial mindset among future teachers is beneficial for them personally refers to the acquisition and full understanding of their inner core. They need to gain the sense of confidence in their own capabilities even when turbulent times are on the doorstep. Since stability is believed to be relative, the new generation of teachers will have to have an ability to generate unconventional solutions both in their teaching practices and beyond. Having put constant vigilance on the autopilot mode will make them seize opportunities even in the most inopportune times.

All in all, introducing entrepreneurship education in teacher training programs will enable to grow a generation of doers, makers and creative thinkers who can maneuver in the unstable and fragile environment. Creating innovative classroom environment where their students can feel safe to experiment in a try-fail-persist mode, the teachers will expand their socio-economic contribution to their nations and worldwide and raise economically self-reliant and socially responsible citizens.


Written by: Alina Meloyan, UIIN

Image credit: pixabay.com via www.pexels.com

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Our new Erasmus+ KA2 project has just started in fall 2018 and involves 7 institutions coming from Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary and the Netherlands. Its aim is to improve entrepreneurial competence deliverance in higher education pre-service teacher training programmes (ISCED 3-4 level). In brief, we…

…with the dedicated efforts of our core consortium partners:

Univations GmbH

Established in 2006 as an associated institute of Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and with the University as the largest and determining shareholder, Univations GmbH and its 12 full time employees are responsible for all strategic entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer activities of the University. Doing so, Univations pursues a holistic approach to innovation and start-up support – from entrepreneurship awareness raising and competence development activities at school- and HEI-level to management consulting in young as well as experienced SMEs. It supports young entrepreneurs and HEI spinoffs in all phases of the start-up life cycle as well as innovate enterprises in their efforts to develop new technologies and services. The essential motivation for this systematic support lies in the creation of premium jobs and a top-skilled workforce within the entrepreneurial eco-system of a structurally catching up region.


Management center Innsbruck – MCI

As the Entrepreneurial School®, MCI is positioned to provide a meaningful connection between university, grande école, business school, university of applied sciences, and the world of business. It represents a strong international brand that successfully combines: – teaching and advanced training; – research & development; – knowledge transfer; – innovative start-ups. The MCI links together the best out of science, economy and consulting to the unique concept of an international Entrepreneurial School®. It stands for internationality, academic quality, practice orientation, innovation, close cooperation with industry, solution-oriented research and development, first-class infrastructure, a high level of customer and service orientation, and international renown.


University of Szeged (USZ)

The University of Szeged (USZ) is one of the most popular universities of Hungary, occupying high places in all the international rankings. Its foreign connections extend to more than 500 universities worldwide and 432 Erasmus+ partner universities. It has been considered for years as one of the world’s best 500 universities and it is known as a green institution. The University of Szeged is a leading workshop of education, science, research, innovation and it has a crucial role in the region’s cultural, social and economic activities. The expertise of USZ will be essential in leading IO3 i.e. PIETE Capacity Building Compilation.


The Pedagogical University of Tyrol (PHT)

The Pedagogical University of Tyrol is the centre of teacher education in the county with a special and longstanding expertise in this field. The PHT has also been involved in numerous EU projects on a range of themes ranging from research, Short term Mobility and Mentoring to Citizenship Education, Leadership and Quality and Language Learning. ERASMUS+ mobility is central to the internationalization process at the Pedagogical University. PHT will lead the production of IO2 i.e. ITE Framework Report.


University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN)

University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN) is the lead partner responsible for the dissemination and exploitation of the project and its results. As a leading network in the area of university-industry interaction, UIIN has a unique competence to understand and bring together both, science and business. Moreover, UIIN will lead the production of IO6 i.e. PIETE European Good Practice Collection.


University of Economics in Katowice (UEK)

University of Economics in Katowice (“UNIWERSYTET EKONOMICZNY W KATOWICACH”) is the largest and oldest business school in the region (80 years of academic tradition), one of the top universities in Poland. Due to the balance between academic strength and soft skills in offered courses as well as professional career services the employability of graduates is very high. University of Economics cherishes relations with its local and international alumni engaging them in many activities on campus and in social media. UEK will lead IO5 i.e. IO5: PIETE Discussion Paper.


The University of Bielsko-Biala (UBB)

The University of Bielsko-Biala (UBB), the only public university in its area (the Podbeskidzie south region of Poland). The university is constantly growing and currently there work about 400 employees, with 200 professors and doctors. The University cooperates with institutions from all over the world. Currently UBB has agreements with about 100 institutions in more than 25 countries. UBB also a solid experience in EU funded projects, such as Erasmus+, Scholarship and Training Fund, 7th Framework Programme. UBB will substantially contribute to the creation of all IOs (workload depending on thematic focus and aligned tasks). Furthermore, UBB will team up with UEK to form a regional, inter-institutional tandem that secures an efficient implementation of PIETE resources as well as the achievement of all project objectives within the scope of the Silesian region, Poland. UBB will also host one partner meeting in Bielsko-Biala and support UEK in the realisation of a high-level multiplier event.



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On the way towards becoming a more competitive knowledge-society, the European and national governments need to encourage entrepreneurial spirit across the boards through their knowledge producers. Even though education in general is seen as one of the major catalyser of regional entrepreneurial potential, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial training is largely undertaken only at the university level in the selected programmes associated with business development. For a more comprehensive and rounded development of the entrepreneurial mindset regionally and nationally, it is vital to start embed the elements of entrepreneurial education in wider variety of courses and especially in those that educate our new generations – initial teacher education programmes. To address this need, a new Erasmus + project “Partnership for Initial Entrepreneurship Teacher Education – PIETE” is established to increase entrepreneurial competence deliverance in higher education pre-service teacher training programmes (ISCED 3-4 level).

To do so, the project relies on regional tandem constellations between experts from initial teacher education (ITE) institutions and higher education staff responsible for entrepreneurship education (EE) in Austria, Hungary and Poland. Operationally, PIETE is carried out as Strategic Partnership between Univations GmbH (Coordinator), University of Bielsko-BiałaUniversity of Economics in KatowiceUniversity of SzegedManagement Center InnsbruckPedagogical University Tyrol, and University Industry Innovation Network.

  1. As a first step, a mutual understanding of either side’s needs will be created through joint workshops and awareness creation sessions.
  2. In the next step, partners will create a novel teaching compendium for entrepreneurial competence development inside ITEs institutions. It will be based on EntreComp and, among others, provide indications for ETCS-Credit attributions.
  3. PIETE will also develop a cross-country comparison study on how pre-service teacher educators understand EE terminology and assess entrepreneurial competence deliverance. This study will be complemented by a good practice report on European initiatives that have successfully enriched ITE programmes with EE contents.

PIETE will largely impact educators and students of the involved and other institutions by raising their awareness and capacities for entrepreneurial competence development as understood under EntreComp. Consequently, PIETE`s reach may ultimately extend to the school-level once impacted pre-service teachers enter the professional service.

PIETE has been selected for a 3-year funding period by DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) as one of only 19 German led Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership initiatives launched in 2018.

Stay tuned for the news about the project and in meantime, follow PIETE on:

Twitter: @piete_project or follow the link 

LinkedIn: PIETE – Partnership for Initial Entrepreneurship Teacher Education or follow the link

Facebook: @PIETEproject or follow the link 

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