Entrepreneurial Mindset for students and academics

of any academic discipline

In 2002, this webinar explored three key questions:

1) How can we convince students of the relevance of the entrepreneurial mindset?

2) How can the mindset be taught? and

3)How can academics role model the entrepreneurial mindset for students?

Our speakers were:

Enikő Koppány, SHINE Project Founder, Hungary 🇭🇺

Milica Jovanović, SHINE Project Founder, Serbia 🇷🇸

Viviana Premazzi, SHINE Project Founder, Malta 🇲🇹

The event was moderated by Paul Coyle, SHINE Project Founder, France 🇫🇷

Registrations were received from people in 19 countries: Austria🇦🇹, Belgium🇧🇪,  Egypt🇪🇬, England🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿, France🇫🇷, Germany🇩🇪, Hungary🇭🇺,   Ireland🇮🇪,  Italy🇮🇹,  Malta🇲🇹, Morocco🇲🇦, Northern Ireland🇬🇧, Norway🇳🇴, Romania🇷🇴, Saudi Arabia🇸🇦, Scotland🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿, Serbia🇷🇸, Türkiye🇹🇷, and Uganda🇺🇬.  

Key Question 1) How can we convince students of the relevance of the entrepreneurial mindset?

5 Lessons shared by Enikő

1. The challenge for students is that they don’t understand how they could become an entrepreneur and they feel that they lack the great idea that they could turn into a business

2. It is important to show students through very practical workshops that innovation is not magic and that anyone can learn how to generate innovative ideas

3. It can help to engage students by getting them to work in multi-disciplinary teams from different academic disciplines and cultures

4. Mentors can act as role models and help to increase the confidence level of students

5. It is also important to talk to students in

their own style of language and on their level

5 Lessons shared by Milica

6 When you are dealing with large numbers of students, you can’t attract all of them to be entrepreneurs but you can show that becoming an entrepreneur is within their reach and is not impossible

7 All students, whether they want to be entrepreneurs or not, can benefit from making time for entrepreneurial projects, including having an introduction to methods like lean startup

8 The difficulties are not just related to convincing students about the value of entrepreneurship but also to winning over colleagues who share responsibility for the curriculum and teaching

9 The reality is there can be resistance amongst academics to change and new ways of teaching

10 In overcoming resistance to change it helps to have top management support

5 Lessons shared by Viviana

11 The entrepreneurial mindset is something you need while you are studying 

12 The mindset helps students to go beyond feeling lost and to begin to understand how to organise themselves

13 Teaching entrepreneurial skills is important in any academic discipline and can be useful to students in any aspect of their lives

14 The mindset is not just for business or for people who want to be entrepreneurs. You can also behave in an entrepreneurial way within an organisation, as an Intrapreneur.

15 Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be about technology. It can also be used to support innovation and social entrepreneurship.

Lessons from Participants

The webinar was highy interactive, providing opportunities for participants to share their views through polls, text chat and live video contributions.

Participants and panellists brought a range of experience to the discussions. Roughly half the people in the webinar had lots of experience of helping students to develop the mindset AND they were also happy to support people who want to develop & strengthen their experience.  This fits well with the purpose of the webinars: to create an international community of practice and to  co-create a how-to-guide to teaching the entrepreneurial mindset.  

The SHINE Project will focus on a number of gaps identified by Participants.  The Project will try to address these gaps by providing training, facilitating further group discussions and creating opportunities for joint research.

5 Lessons from Participants

16 It might not be easy but it should possible to engage many more students even if that isn’t easy. At the same time we should acknowledge the influence that school teachers and parents have in steering students towards employment and away from entrepreneurship.

17 There is a gap in knowing how to define the entrepreneurial mindset in the validated curriculum (module or award) and an assumption that when different people talk about the mindset they mean the same thing.

18 Academics need help to understand how to teach students in a classroom setting and to improve the assessment of  students so that they receive feedback that will allow them to improve their mindset.

19 It is important to engage students from all academic disciplines, not just the students who are studying with a focus on entrepreneurship and to provide better networks that connect students from different academic disciplines and provide opportunities for students to work in multi-disciplinary teams.

20 Entrepreneurship courses tend to be provided by a business school but many business students want to be an an accountant or a manager, not an entrepreneur.  If academics acknowledge these ambitions they could help those students to use the mindset to further their career as an employee. 

Key Question 2) Can the entrepreneurial mindset be taught?

5 Lessons shared by Enikő

21 The entrepreneurial mindset can be taught. 

22 A centrally-organised, common entrepreneurship program, perhaps provided by the Business School, can be integrated into all the programmes of a university.

23 Alternatively, if each faculty needs to have their own curriculum validated this can be very time-consuming and burdensome.

24 Hackathons, prizes and the opportunity to work on their own startups can really help to keep students motivated.

25 Szged University has a Coursera licence that allows academics to offer training on soft skills to students.

5 Lessons shared by Milica

26 The national culture needs to be considered when devising teaching that will be appropriate to that context.  For example, Serbia is socially-oriented and not so individual. 

27 The Serbian economy is oriented on public companies and as a nation the entrepreneurial mindset is not common.

28 The mindset can be changed and taught but you need a variety of tools.

29 The mindset is best implemented into each subject and perhaps within more than one module.

30 It can take more than one semester, perhaps a whole year, to help students to think about their entrepreneurial ventures.

5 Lessons shared by Viviana

31 The mindset can be taught if we take time to appreciate the specific needs of students.

32 One useful successful approach is TIIMIAKATEMIA Finland (Team Academy) which has no lectures and learning is by doing.

33 However, what works in one culture or country doesn’t automatically transfer to or work in another.

34 It is important to recognise the cultural expectations (e.g. of students, parents, employers) with regard to traditional and innovative ways of teaching.

35 Therefore, each of us needs to be honest and realistic about what will work for students in their own specific context 

Key Question 3) How can academics role model entrepreneurial behaviours to students?

5 Lessons shared by Enikő

36 It is absolutely possible for academics to role model entrepreneurial behaviours to students.

37 Stakeholders from outside the academic sphere and industry experts are also useful role models and mentors.

38 Part-time academics with business experience can be authentic, not just speaking about entrepreneurship but sharing their experiences of entrepreneurship.

39 Researchers and industrial partners can offer real-world challenges for students to work on that are also a source of motivation. 

40 If students are exposed to real-world problems that helps them to see new opportunities, beyond their personal experience, where they can use their creativity.

5 Lessons shared by Milica

41 Academics may need support to know how to role model entrepreneurial behaviours to students.

42 Academics can mentor and empower students by helping them believe that they can make change happen and overcome their fear of being entrepreneurs.

43 Academics can role model entrepreneurial behaviours even if they don’t have their own entrepreneurial venture; not having their own business doesn’t make them an imposter!

44 The mindset is not just about taking risks; it is also about being innovative and solving real-life problems.

45 Academics can be mediators, introducing students to business people who can be role models that bring relevant new knowledge and methods.

5 Lessons shared by Viviana

46 Students can benefit from working with both academics and entrepreneurs.

47 Academics can have an entrepreneurial mindset and skills despite not having experience of being an entrepreneur.

48 Students can use the mindset to work on real-world problems.

49 We need to help students to understand that entrepreneurship is not just about making easy money.

50 Students need to appreciate that successful entrepreneurship involves hard work and overcoming many challenges.

Lessons from Participants

Here are 10 additional ideas for action that participants said they would take as a result of the webinar:

  1. Introduce the entrepreneurial mindset to new students as early as possible.
  2. Make time to engage in entrepreneurial activities on my own and with my students.
  3. Combine academic and practical knowledge in my teaching.
  4. Promote the mindset every day; sell the mindset and benefits more within my organisation.
  5. Keep the conversation alive and continue to participate in future webinars..
  6. Organise meetings with my colleagues to share best practice.
  7. Remember that change is a step-by-step process and that a good place to start is with a pilot programme.
  8. Keep my spirits up and remind myself that there is a great community of people willing to share their passion to make real change.
  9. Partner with other organisations and share our experiences.
  10. Never forget that I can act to get things done.