There are several ways to achieve this, but the most important are the inclusion of entrepreneurship classes (mandatories) in the course. Here’s an example of a good practice:
1. WHAT SUBJECT YOUR GOOD PRACTISE COVERS
This practice relates to teaching activities, in a regular basis, within the general course plan of the Computer Engineering Degree of University of Coimbra Science Faculty.
This class is called “PGI - Innovative Management and Processes” and the target students are 3rd year bachelor (1st Cycle Studies).The goal is to train and develop entrepreneurial and innovative skills among IT students: showing them the most relevant authors and practices and provide those tools and knowledge for their future innovative approaches, but specially, to challenging them to develop innovative projects in real contexts.
2. CONTEXTS / SITUATION
Prior to this systematic approach, there were some rare mentions to innovation and entrepreneurship in IT Courses.
The significant number of success cases related with start-ups arising from University of Coimbra R&D, comprising student and past-student activities, was the true motto for this new approach. The goal is the motivation of new students to develop innovative projects, especially in-group, that may be eligible in the future for a start-up creation.
Having always in mind past and successful experiences of other start-ups “born” in Coimbra, the innovation ecosystem is critical to provide context, role models, partners and others key issues.
3. PROBLEM / CHALLENGE
The challenge was to create an “innovation stream” in Coimbra’s context, from classrooms to the creation of start-up companies. This “innovation stream” needs that the new users of the system – IT students – have tools and perspectives to boost their will to innovate and create their own firms, and it is an alternative way to create new ways of employment to recent graduates, within the national context of high-growth youth unemployment.
So students are motivated to think about entrepreneurship with a “hands on” approach still in their formative years and not only at the end of the course, and in class context they can think about forming their own startup.
The methodology adopted in classes intents to let the students make the connection between these concepts and the business / professional environment where they will use skills acquired, through:
The practical activities allow students to perform an activity in a real context, and as such exposed to all, or at least some, vicissitudes and variables that characterize professional contexts. As such, the activities to develop the practical class should have the following characteristics:
1) clearly demonstrate the application of skills in planning, organization and teamwork.
2) The object of the activity should be clearly linked to the themes addressed in the theoretical classes(management, innovation, information technology and entrepreneurship, among others).
3) All activities proposals must be validated fisrt by the teacher before moving on to implementation.
This activity gives students the experience of creating a product/service and how to launch it in the market. As they also get a view of the innovation ecosystem, they get the knowledge and motivation that can lead them to create their own firm when graduate.