In a world where technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace, entrepreneurial education has become an essential component of universities of technology. These institutions are uniquely positioned to prepare students for the rapidly changing workforce by teaching them the skills and mindset necessary to innovate and create new businesses and products. A write type of pedagogies is needed to achieve that. According to our Educators for Impact Training Investigation Report, project-based learning, working in multidisciplinary teams, active learning, and real-world exposure are the most prominent pedagogy practices. These pedagogies can be applied in a variety of degrees depending on the format being used, from ad-hoc events to courses and curriculum or extracurricular programs.
Let’s have a close look at how the Delft Centre for Entrepreneurship (DCE) at TU Delft structured one of these curriculum programs that has been running successfully for more than a decade.
The Delft Centre for Entrepreneurship (DCE) is the education arm of TU Delft in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation. As part of the Faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management, it is responsible for providing educational programs and conducting research related to technology entrepreneurship.
The programs are available at bachelor, master, and Ph.D. levels as well as several online programs and executive courses. Students across all the faculties of TU Delft are trained and motivated in their entrepreneurial activity with the goal to start a new technology-based venture or venture projects within established organizations.
One of the flagship programs that has been running successfully for years is Minor Technology-based Entrepreneurship available for engineering, design, and management students to enroll during their last year of bachelor studies. The aim of Technology-Based Entrepreneurship is to introduce students to the world of entrepreneurship and help them develop entrepreneurial skills.
The program at a glance
Technology-Based Entrepreneurship is a 30 ECTS minor program offered to students of the Delft University of Technology, Leiden University, and Erasmus University Rotterdam. It is developed and coordinated by DCE in collaboration with other faculties as well as external partners. It is aimed at students who want to broaden their (engineering) skillset with entrepreneurial skills in a process of trial and error in order to develop new ideas and present them to the world.
The minor runs through 2 quarters (approx. 5 months). All the students are only enrolled in this minor program which allows them to dedicate their time and energy solely to courses offered as part of the minor.
During this minor, students can apply the knowledge they have learned in the courses directly to their own business idea. The process of trial and error that entrepreneurs face in their journey is also simulated by coaching sessions and feedback from fellow students.
In the end, students have the know-how of generating a business idea and how to make this idea a success. They then have the tools to start their own business or case study entrepreneurial projects within a company.
The minor courses aim to provide a general and solid introduction to the specific aspects of technology-based entrepreneurship. Each course highlights one or more aspects of ‘technopreneurship’. The curriculum covers the most important aspects of entrepreneurship. The courses are
- Product Service Design & Prototyping (4 ECTS)
- Business Marketing for Engineers (3 ECTS)
- Essentials of Technology-Based Entrepreneurship (4 ECTS)
- Introduction to Technology Based Entrepreneurship (2 ECTS)
- Finance for Entrepreneurs (4 ECTS)
- Managing Startups: Teamwork, Leadership and AI (3 ECTS)
- Case Study in Technopreneurship (10 ECTS)
The Case Study course is the backbone of the minor program. Students apply the knowledge they learned from the courses immediately to their own idea they develop in this course. Each of these courses lasts 10 weeks and demand group effort as well as individual effort. The courses are concluded by individual exams that test the mastery of the knowledge individually as well as pitches and a business plan built by the team.
Impact of the program
- Students coming from different faculties bring their unique skillset to the table and co-create. They learn how to collaborate and leverage the strengths of diverse teams to create innovative solutions. At the same time, the students are being taught how to deal with diversity and conflict that can arise in teamwork.
- Students mimic the process of trial and error that an entrepreneur follows in their journey by receiving feedback from fellow students every other week after having presented their own idea and progress.
- As engineering students, they learn about what the value of technology is for users; it covers not only how technologies offer solutions for users but also understand how the solution fits in the context in which users work, act, live,
- The students learn what it takes to bring good ideas into feasible opportunities that can be exploited in the market, including the way in which value is delivered through organizational activities with partner organizations and how opportunity is monetized and can be captured through revenue models.
- The students work in interdisciplinary teams and share ideas and expertise, which contributes to the university bridging between various domains of technical disciplines.
Authored by Elif Celik and Victor Scholten