Entrepreneurial Education (EE) is mostly confined to business schools or business-related curricula. However, the adoption of a wider conception of EE requires a change of direction. Education for impact is entrepreneurial at core, and it includes bringing business aspects to non-business students as well as equipping them with entrepreneurial competencies, such as action taking, resource developing and acquiring, creating, and developing ideas and opportunities, stimulating the positive change-making attitude in students.
The project aims to spot the gaps in the current education system and support the establishment of entrepreneurial mindset as means to innovate education, solve societal challenges, and introduce novelty into the education sector. First project results are based on extensive desk research of academic publications and grey literature, education expert interviews, and best practice case studies. The findings allowed to construct a conceptual framework describing five key facets of EE in higher education institutions.
Entrepreneurial mindset of an educator
A fundamental driver of EE, since educators are the knowledge providers and facilitators of the learning process. Entrepreneurial mindset is a comprise mosaic of various components and can be expressed in numerous forms.
“An entrepreneurial mindset could be described as ‘seeing things as a playground’ in education, in order to teach the skills of problem solving, motivation, self-awareness and initiative taking. If people are afraid to make mistakes, they will not take initiative. The more seriously you take the environment that you’re in, the less inclined you are to play around with it, give things a go and try and do things differently.”
Innovative pedagogies and tools nourish EE
At the core, the focus should be placed on adopting innovative approaches to teaching, use varied teaching methods, and on providing students with competences rather than just knowledge, and teaching them to master the process of continuous learning. For this, project-based learning, active learning, real world exposure and work in multidisciplinary teams are most essential.
Collaboration with external stakeholders is ultimately beneficial practice for educators, students, universities, industry and even the geographic
“More important skills are human skills that are not so easily automated, such as active listening, communication, and prioritization skills. Skills such as these are not taught in lecture halls. External stakeholders are hugely important because they bring these practical abilities to the students that are often left out in lectures. Additionally, students tend to respond well to insights from industry professionals and they trust their expertise.”
While educators and students are able to improve their own relationship with EE, it is up to the higher education institution to establish an environment and policies that would stimulate EE and create the microclimate corresponding to it.
“It is important that you feel like your organization support you in that and want you to make time to do innovate your education and is also acknowledging it and appreciating it if you do something new. They get kind of a reward in a compliment or attention or in support for the research.”
Numbers of barriers were discovered on individual, faculty and institutional levels. It is clear from the findings that the lack of dedicated structures/units and internal policies for EE are serious barriers to EE development. Some of the problems commonly listed are budgetary restrictions, lack of knowledge transfer units/ activities between HEI departments, and resistance to change.
“Most educators are not trained to teach and are not trained to develop entrepreneurial competences. They often do not even know what competences they miss.
These early findings are to become the foundation for further stages of the project where attending educators will assess how impactful they are in their teaching practice and will be invited to explore new theories, practice their skills, and master the innovative tools and approaches.
Authored by Anna Fedorova