Promoting an entrepreneurial culture among the university community, providing entrepreneurial training and offering a mentoring service for students.
The IDEASUPV at the Universitat Politècnica de València unit for entrepreneurship was born with the idea of promoting an entrepreneurial culture among the university community, providing entrepreneurial training for the student population and offering a free, accessible mentoring service to both undergraduates and former students. The Unit has evolved and changed over time and has introduced processes and elements that have helped to build a solid, widereaching entrepreneurial ecosystem that touches not only the university community but also strongly engages the wider community and public and private organisations. One such element is the Startupv incubator, housed on campus close to IDEASUPV, which began its activity in 2013 and has also undergone continuous processes of improvement, processes that are still improving and that will shape the future of university entrepreneurship for the students of Valencia, and beyond.
The end goal of Startupv is to bring together the talent of current and former students with extensive technical knowledge in their fields and, through a process of continuous mentoring, training and the facilitation of tools that will enable the journey towards business creation, will allow for the creation of high growth firms. The talent is captured through a number of sources i.e. through training activities, such as the Entrepreneur Week Bootcamp, which is just one of the close to 50 dissemination and promotion activities carried out yearly by IDEASUPV.
The most important resources for the ecosystem to function properly are the physical spaces themselves. The team of expert mentors with the sole purpose of guiding firms through the startup process is also a resource that most institutions do not have the luxury of enjoying.
Evidence of success
In its first three years of existence, the firms housed at Startupv produced an accumulated turnover of €14.7m and just in 2016 declared a turnover of €6.1m. In terms of financing and investment, the firms received €5.2m in the first 3 years and €2.5m in just 2016. It is estimated that 370 jobs have been created directly through Startupv.
The challenge has been how to draw all the potential together and create mechanisms that will allow the mentoring program to be more effective and bring the university community closer to the business world.
Potential for learning or transfer
There are already examples that the UPV model for university entrepreneurship can and has been extrapolated to other contexts. In the course of official visits from other universities, vice-chancellors from other areas have shown enormous interest in the model and workings of the UPV ecosystem. One such example is the Odessa National Polytechnic University. Following their first visit to the UPV in 2012, they went back to the Ukraine and began their own ecosystem based on the UPV model. They returned last year to ascertain what changes there had been in the model in the last 4 years and what they could learn from it, inviting technicians from the UPV to go the the Ukraine to oversee the development of their own Startup system. Similar interest has been shown by the Research and Development Dept. of the Estonian Arts Academy in Talinn, among others.