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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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