Entrepreneurship education

WHY SHOULD YOU TRY TO INTERNATIONALIZE YOUR START-UP

Internationalization comes nowadays as part of the future plans in most start-ups, although not quite realistic or close in time enough; many companies do not totally understand the implications and preparation needed to take profit of the opportunity to internationalize when it actually appears in front of them.

International relationships and investments are utterly practical for the majority of entrepreneurships all around the world. It gives the company the possibility to get access to opportunities based on the shared knowledge of the international partners on other countries, both in looking for new investors and studying new business opportunities and markets.

It is not an unusual situation nowadays to have investors from different parts of the same country in a company, and soon it will be considered normal as well to invest on other countries and to have foreign investors, on a great basis because of globalization. Additionally, multi-nationality inside the company can help the start-ups improve their business and success in a broader number of countries thanks to the combined knowledge. The world is turning into a global system which makes even more necessary a vision inside the company capable to adapt to this new situation, instead of the regional and country focused way of thinking that used to lead the business expansion and projects.

Being prepared for international relations can also be the perfect way for a start-up to acquire the funding needed. International investors are becoming a regular piece of many start-ups, and looking for this kind of investment can help in many cases an entrepreneurship acquire enough funding to turn from a little, regional and likely to fail company to an international and successful firm.

Information obtained from Loogic.com (last consulted on Feb 2, 2016) “Las conexiones internacionales son fundamentales para el futuro de tu start-up” Javier Martin (24-11-2015) available online at http://loogic.com/las-conexiones-internacionales-son-fundamentales-para-el-futuro-de-tu-startup/

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HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO KNOW YOUR START-UP WITHOUT A BIG BUDGET

Creating a start-up is always a big step, but getting people to know it is another main issue. New companies are usually unable to compete on a marketing basis with big enterprises, and it becomes an important disadvantage.

In order to make potential customers know your new brand, and decide to acquire your product or service, it is necessary for them to actually hear about you. It is a tough work, both because of the competition around the start-up and the usual lack of a big budget. However, there are several tools available to these new entrepreneurs in order to get visibility in the market.

An action having a lot of repercussion worldwide is to accept Bitcoins in the purchases; it generates a lot of feedback both in communication and social media. Companies such as Microsoft or the Fortune magazine allow right now making purchases using the Bitcoin.

It is also crucial to take into account how even if the main intention of the company is to create direct and indirect business actions, public exposure is always going to be a two-way road. The company needs to be prepared to deal with any response from the client, both positively and negatively; and it should remember public information cannot always be controlled.

A good option for those start-ups with low budget and a social background is to get a celebrity to sponsor the project. Creating a crowfunding campaign increases as well the visibility of the start-up, and allows validating the business idea before actually putting it into practice.

Another possibility is to use an investment model called media for equity, created in Germany on the 90’s and consisting on acquiring advertising spots on the media at a better price, in exchange for shares from the company.

An interesting tool available nowadays to low budget start-ups is a “growth hacker”. This type of employment combines marketing and programming, giving the ability to look for low cost ways to optimize the start-up presence on the digital media.

However, both new and traditional companies should never forget one of the main tools regarding visibility, social knowledge and new customers is a totally free one: positive word of mouth will always be an effective attraction to new clients, though uncontrollable.

Information available from Expansion.com (last consulted on Feb 2, 2016) “Fórmulas low cost para dar a conocer tu start up” Elena Arrieta (17/02/2015) available on http://www.expansion.com/2015/01/28/emprendedores-empleo/emprendimiento/1422466096.html

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To market, to market!

ie smart virtual gameWhen trading in virtual animated stock exchange markets becomes an innovative way to present your business ideas

Have you always wanted to be a guru of investments? Knowing all about stocks, bids, equities and trades, in a relaxed, light
and fun way?

“Welcome to the SmartXchange Stock Market, a virtual game that supports innovative business ideas to grow and be the most competitive in the SmartXchange market.” This is the motto of an interactive game created by a Portuguese consultancy company, INOVA+ that defies users to learn about sound investments, derivative trading, leverage and even short-selling.

To enter the game is very simple: any potential entrepreneur should present an innovative business plan of the start-up company that automatically enters the market. Then other users start bidding according to the relevance of the start-up profile. The entertainment is guaranteed, although real money is not.

José Barros, developer of the SmartXchange game, highlights that “this is a game that brings closer together entrepreneurs working on their business models with market investors eager to find ideas, which can be successful in the real world. By simulating reality in this virtual competition, players are prone to have a risk-taking attitude, which will lead to business model refinements validated by market data. In the end, it is our intention that entrepreneurs will have stronger business models and greater confidence in their business ideas.

For further information, please visit: http://www.ie-smart.eu

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Non-formal training programs on entrepreneurship in Europe

From 23rd to 25th October ENIA RDI Ltd, emcra GmbH and the EU-Fundraising Association came together to a trilateral partner meeting in Cyprus. Among other topics, the question of “non-formal training programs on entrepreneurship in Europe” was broached.

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An Entrepreneurship Action Plan for Europe

Entrepreneurship has been put forward on the EU’s agenda through the “Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan”. It should serve as a “blueprint” for decisive action to support Europe’s entrepreneurial potential and culture. The strategy is built on three pillars, one of them being the promotion of entrepreneurial education and training.

The EU is already supporting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship education thanks to two programmes:

  • COSME, wich supports the mobility of young entrepreneurs and exchanges among educators and trainers’ best practices in entrepreneurship education. Examples of actions include:
    • The European Network of Mentors for Women Entrepreneurs, which provides advice and support to women entrepreneurs in the start-up, running and growth of businesses during their early years
    • Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, which helps new entrepreneurs (not necessarily young in years, but in the age of their businesses) by offering an opportunity to learn from a more experienced host entrepreneur in another country.  The host benefits in return from a fresh perspective on his / her business.
  • Youth, one of the subdivisions of the new Erasmus+ education program, lays a specific emphasis on youth employability and encouraging entrepreneurship in young people in Europe

Why promoting non-formal learning and entrepreneurship?

At a time when youth unemployment hits records in Europe, the question has been raised during the partner meeting whether non-formal education can help to develop skills more adapted to the workplace, complementing the ones acquired in the formal education system. It has been notably argued that EU mobility programs or other European schemes could foster the development of essential skills, such as intercultural skills, sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation and risk-taking, lifelong learning, practice of foreign languages, flexibility, etc, which should better prepare individuals for the job markets.

Increase employability

There are various initiatives and innovative projects across Europe addressing the challenges of recognition /integration of trainings on entrepreneurship, empowerment of young people to set up enterprises, or self-(non-formal) learning tools inside enterprises to develop new skills. The partners of the Cyprus meeting have exchanged opinions about the following projects:

  • The Dutch Entrepreneurship Module Eligible for Certification, developed by the European Vocational Training Association and partnering the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, gives upper secondary vocational education institutes the option to add entrepreneurship to existing vocational training courses
  • The Italian project “Bellacoopia” is addressed to young students from upper secondary schools to create virtual cooperative enterprises to experience what running a business means
  • The Spanish FLORIDA Universitaria, training center affiliated to the University of Valencia, enhances the development of an entrepreneurial mindset among students in order to facilitate their employability according to today’s market needs. Innovative methodologies such as business simulation games are included in the learning.
  • The EU-funded project LIFE2: key competences in life skills, bringing together vocational education organizations from Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the UK has developed a “train the trainer pack”, aiming at helping teachers and trainers to assess and include life skills in vocational learning and encouraging entrepreneurship skills such as creativity and innovation to set up in business.

Entrepreneurship education is not a new concept, but its implementation is still lacking of coherence. The Cyprus meeting allowed the partners to reflect on new approaches leading to innovative project ideas, notably concrete tools and needs analysis for trainers in this field.

 

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Entrepreneurial education – Non-formal training case study in France

After the post about non-formal training programs on entrepreneurship in Bulgaria, we continue our trip accross the world of entrepreneurship education meeting Hanna el Hadi, a girl who followed a non-formal training program on entrepreneurship in France.

Hey Hanna, could you introduce yourself and your educational path in few words, please?

Hey! My name is Hanna. I have graduated high school with a sciences specialization. Then I went during two years in a preparatory school because I wanted to integrate an engineer school to work in the environment field. I managed to integrate it and I was therefore able to study environment management.

Do you plan to create a business or take over a company in the next coming years?

No, it is not in my plans for now.

A moment of entrepreneurial education with non-formal training in France. Source: proentre.studiodomino.com

During your educational experience, did you have any training about entrepreneurship?

I had some interaction with professionals who had, or not, created their own businesses but I didn’t have a dedicated course on this topic. It was however possible to choose courses about subjects such as start-up creation but I didn’t. I have participated in some campaigns to raise awareness about enterprises’ issues such as working and hiring disabled people or corporate social responsibility but nothing about entrepreneurship strictly.

Did you experience a non-formal training about entrepreneurship?

In May 2014, I had a training course about entrepreneurship during which we were taught about how to create a business, difficulties dealing with that challenge, necessities to share about your project… But it was still very general. This training was organized by E-Seniors association in cooperation with an entrepreneur. It was very interesting to see how to plan and create a start-up, the importance of planning early stages and to deal with unexpected issues.

I also participated in a Youth in Action program organized by E-Juniors about creativity in entrepreneurship and its importance in the realization of a project. It was really interesting since all participants came from different backgrounds and countries and, therefore, had different way to approach a topic. We had several workshops to think together about these issues. It was great.

We thank very much Hanna for her testimony, wishing Hanna good luck for all her projects.

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Entrepreneurial education – Non-formal training in Bulgaria

On 3 March 2010 The European Commission presented Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (COM (2010) 2020), whose key initiative “Youth on the move” is aimed at improving the performance of education systems and facilitating the entry of young people into the labor market.

Two key priorities for future policy and action of the Bulgarian Youth strategy 2010-2020 emerged: promoting entrepreneurship and innovation with regards to young people.

Despite the successful models and best practices in project “JOBS – Job Opportunities through Business Support”, project “Promotion of innovation activity among young people in Bulgaria – Technostart” and project “Creating Competitive Start-ups -Project 100″, the access to information, advisory services and financing for setting-up , education and development of entrepreneurial initiatives of young people is still limited.

Some young bulgarian entrepreneurs. Source: blog.up.co

Preparing ICT students to start a business

The projects “Education of young people in entrepreneurial skills to create a competitive small and medium businesses” and “Establishment and Development of Centers to promote entrepreneurship in higher education in Bulgaria” were implemented by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism.

The project aims are to prepare students from the technological universities to start a business; assist in assessing the realization of technological ideas; study the market demand for their product and provide financial resources and support to companies of the newly graduated students.

In their work centers on entrepreneurship well aware that isolation from the problems of the real business and closing only in the academic environment and training will not lead to the achievement of their goals. Therefore, each center on the basis of their experience and vision of development has its own system for connection with a real life.

Business centers to increase employment

Project “JOBS Job Opportunities through Business Support” is implemented as a joint initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the JOBS business centers. Its main objective is to surmount the high and increasing level of structural unemployment in Bulgaria and to increase the level of employment throughout the country by developing business centers, registered as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which will provide technical and financial assistance to the emerging private sector. The Project aims at demonstrating a replicable model for employment generation through stimulation and creation of micro and small enterprises.

Students submit business idea to win a grant

The Project “Promotion of innovation activity among young people in Bulgaria – Technostart” is implemented by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism in cooperation with the United Nations development and JOBS Business Centers. The project aims to encourage young entrepreneurs – students, phD and graduates in the earliest stage of the entrepreneurial cycle – they have the chance to submit a business idea and win a grant of up to 20 000 BGN. In order to obtain the funding for the project, each applicant, after approval of his business plan, must register a company at the Registry Agency.

In addition, non-formal education in Bulgaria is in the process of development.

Other actions to increase students motivation to start a business

At the end of 2014 in Bulgaria will start system for the recognition of formal and informal knowledge, skills and competencies developed and tested within the project “New opportunities for my future”, implemented by the Ministry of Education and Science (Ministry of Education) and funded by the Operational Programme “Human Resources Development”.

For the successful implementation of the activities in the process of preparation are attracted representatives of key stakeholders – the social partners, the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

The system allows to issue a document to prove the acquired outside formal education professional knowledge and skills. This will:

  • Increase the motivation of the workforce to maintain and enhance skills, and hence – to increase its competitiveness in the labor market;
  • Facilitating labor mobility – both within the country and abroad;
  • Improving the process of recruitment;
  • Achieving a high degree of objectivity in the evaluation of staff and career development;
  • More effective implementation of systems of differential wages;
  • Reduce the time and cost of organizing further training.
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Informal training programs on entrepreneurship in France

France used to be suffering from a lack of offer regarding entrepreneurship at school due to educational and ideological reasons. If this line of reasoning is not out dated yet, things are changing slowly.

The OPPE (Observatoire des pratiques pédagogiques en entreprenariat), tool created by public authorities in 2001, has evaluated and aim now to share and promote initiatives regarding entrepreneurship towards teachers, students, pupils, schools…

Source: entreprendre-pour-apprendre.fr

Cases studies on informal entrepreneurship education in France

More young people are planning to create a business or to lead one even though not creating it and want to do it in the next coming years.

Some cases studies beyond education:

  • Entreprendre pour apprendre, the mini-business, a federation of regional associations in France whose goal is to promote economical life in schools;
  • 100 000 entrepreneurs, association that aims to spread entrepreneurship culture toward youngsters aged from 13 until 25;
  • MoovJee, association created in 2009 that aims to help young people to consider entrepreneurship as a real career after their education training;
  • Petit Poucet, providing support to students who want to create their own business.

Youth in Action, an informal training on creativity in entrepreneurship

Beside these activities, some actors are proposing different programs to develop entrepreneurship culture. For instance, EU programs Youth in Action. E-Juniors has hosted an informal training about creativity in entrepreneurship in June 2014.

Below, an interview with one of the participants:
Hello, could you introduce you, please?
Hello, my name is Céline Guignard. After graduating my bachelor in biology, I have decided to focus on agronomy. I entered in an engineer school dedicated to the topic, AgroParisTech. During my studies, I had the opportunity to study in Spain thanks to the Erasmus program and to have several internships abroad (USA, Chile).

Do you think about starting you own business or taking over a company in a next future?
This is a seducing idea but my project still need to evolve (it is still just an idea!)

During your educational experience, did you have any training about entrepreneurship?
No, not specifically but I know that there is an existing association about this topic at AgroParisTech.

Did you ever experience a non-formal training about entrepreneurship ?
Yes, in June 2014, in Saumur (France), I had a training called Value +, organized by E-Juniors association.

And what did you learn from it?
It has been an enriched training with very interesting trainers. Concepts such as creativity, working as a team, personal and professional development were presented to is in a unusual but pedagogical way. I was really satisfied of this training. It has allowed me to discover new ideas and to re-think tools and methodologies needed in the professional life

Thank you very much Céline for your feedback and good luck for your projects.

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