'Making Europe Entrepreneurial.' Quite an ambitious target! And so often heard of, isn’t it?

Not less ambitious is the claim of the Interreg Europe project iEER Boosting innovative Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Regions for young entrepreneurs in the recently published policy recommendations Boosting regional entrepreneurial ecosystems in Europe – Policy recommendation of the iEER Interreg Europe to the EU’s policy makers.

Although being a long-term goal, the iEER project has developed some solid evidence on how to make progress in the promotion and further development of entrepreneurship ecosystems to make Europe an attractive and supportive place for SMEs and young companies, starting from today. 

'Fostering development of entrepreneurial competence and mindset activation at all levels' has been identified by iEER as the foundation for a coherent and holistic policy supportive of entrepreneurship. The Aula Emprende good practice provides hereby a successful example on how to anchor entrepreneurship education in both SME and education policies.

Aula Emprende – a training programme from Valencia

Since 2009, the Aula Emprende programme, part of Valencia’s Innovative Entrepreneur Campus Programme, facilitates the connection of the Education and Research, Development and Innovation systems of the universities with the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, hence promoting a thriving entrepreneurial culture from within the academic world.

Aula Emprende consists of two main components: 

  • A 'train the trainers' programme for interested professors and researchers in any field of knowledge. In phase I, it introduces them to pedagogical tools on how to motivate students and engage them in entrepreneurial activities.
  • In phase II, the trained professors and researchers promote entrepreneurial culture by creating and coordinating student teams, developing new business ideas. Local entrepreneurs act as mentors for the teams.

Over the years Aula Emprende has become a true success story. At the University of Valencia alone, over 200 professors have been trained since 2009 and the number of student teams participating in phase II has raised up to over 200, involving way over 500 students. Since 2016, 4 additional public universities in Valencia have joined the initiative and contributed to its ongoing popularity.

Aula Emprende or Train the Trainers an Easily Transferable Initiative, a Pilot Action

This outstanding initiative – a Must-Have   has been selected by eight project partners as Pilot Action to be implemented in their region during the second phase of iEER. 

The Aula Emprende trainers’ camp took place in Valencia in September 2018: 30 professors, lecturers and policy makers from nine regions benefited from the training programme’s insights, tools and experiences during a three-day event. Special attention was paid to the following three elements contributing to its successful implementation:

  1. Governmental support and framework are very important in this context – this includes creating the administrative and political conditions for the programme to remain sustainable, setting up of a dedicated working group composed of members from the academia, the public administration and the private sector, providing financial support and technical coordination at the regional governmental level;
  2. The perspective of academics has to be considered - the practice addresses the central question of how to motivate and recruit teachers to participate in the Aula Emprende programme?
  3. A third aspect is 'creativity' – pedagogical tools and activation methods have to be brought closer to professors to enable them to switch from traditional teaching methods to become 'creativity boosters'.

After the train the trainers' camp, the participants returned home, adapted the model to their regional needs and started its implementation on their own territory, involving local universities and SMEs.

In September 2019 – the project partners met again to touch base and see where they stand in terms of this practice implementation: in one year time, the Aula Emprende model has been replicated by 8 regions and 31 universities. The Director general of Entrepreneurship of the Valencia Regional Government emphasized that 'The success of Aula Emprende at European level confirms the Consell’s commitment to promote entrepreneurial culture' and suggested 'to maintain and enhance this operation through an Aula Emprende network all over Europe'.

iEER Pilot Action Aula Emprende is a 100% success… 

'The success story of the iEER pilot action – Aula Emprende that trained the lecturers and professors in 31 universities, taught more than 1000 students in a period of one and a half years – proved that the good practice Aula Emprende is scalable and transferable into a wider action for Europe.' (iEER policy recommendation)

… and easy to transfer!

Have you become curious? Do you want to nurture your entrepreneurial ecosystem in this direction? Follow the pilot action! Adapt Aula Emprende to your regional needs!

Further information is to be found here:

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