Project

The main objectives of the B-innovative project are:

  • To launch a European entrepreneurship programme in five European countries (CH, HU, PL, SK, UK) with country specific modules.
  • To develop and validate a European Accreditation.
  • To create a methodology for repeating the process in other European Countries on a commercial basis for long term sustainability.


Background

B-Innovative-Team-Worldmap 388Today’s economic world is shaped by large trends like globalization, technological changes and the ageing of society. These trends together with the global economic crisis have challenged all notions of traditional careers and ways of creating value. People increasingly depend upon their own initiative to realize success which has exacerbated the need for entrepreneurship skills of graduates and young people in general.
In North America, higher education institutions (HEI) have accelerated the uptake and creation of entrepreneurship chairs and courses to improve entrepreneurial thinking in students and to transfer the skills and knowledge needed to become an entrepreneur. European HEIs are catching up and also European governments are placing resources into enterprise development, but some challenges remain. In particular for HEI in Eastern European countries, lack of education and training of entrepreneurs is a challenge. At present, these institutions provide less infrastructure and support for entrepreneurship, resulting in the private sector being the sole provider. Curricula at universities do not focus on the transfer of entrepreneurial thinking. Business education also tends to focus on large industries while smaller companies do not play a significant role. However, it is small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups that create new jobs. The B-innovative project aims to rectify this imbalance and increase the quantity and quality of entrepreneurial and vocational training.
In addition, there is little interaction between higher education and businesses in Eastern European countries. This is reflected in poor practical skills of graduates wishing to implement their business ideas. For instance, in Slovakia unemployment rates for young people are 26%, far exceeding the EU average of 17.1%1. Graduates are dependent on state unemployment benefits after their studies are completed, due to missing skills required by employers. While the above-mentioned challenges are particularly emphasized in Eastern European countries, unemployment is also a serious problem across the rest of the European Union. All of the above considerations have underpinned and justified the development and setting up of the B-innovative project. The project wants to offer solutions to the following general challenges faced by entrepreneurs, as evidenced by research2:

  • lack of role models and business support
  • no access to networks or market contacts
  • individual challenges e.g. lack of confidence and self-esteem.

The B-innovative project therefore wants to encourage students/individuals to take the important decision to start their own business. The use of business leaders as presenters is a key factor of the planned entrepreneuship programme. It enables participants to get introduced to the challenges and the rewards of setting up a business by ‘real world’ entrepreneurs who can also serve as role models and initial entry points to business networks and markets.
In summary, the B-innovative project aims to support the European Union ‘New Skills for New Jobs’3 initiative and increase European employment rates by improving graduates’ chances of developing their business ideas.

footnote:

  1. Chart No.71, source EUROSTAT, http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/eie/chap1-5-2-page-2_en.html
  2. ‘Barriers to entrepreneurship and business creation’, Coordinator ADRIMAG [Susana Martins], November 2004
  3. http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=568