20 September 2018

"Entrepreneurship can help to make that impact shift to a better future"

Teaching environment Governance Lab Utrecht

Entrepreneurship is mentioned in the educational vision of the UU Strategic Plan as one of the qualities that students need to have in order to take a leading role in solving the major challenges facing the world of tomorrow.  

Three members of the Supervisory Board, Mr. Joanne Kellerman, Dr. Jan van der Eijk and Prof. Dr. Frank van der Duijn Schouten visited UtrechtInc, Utrecht Holdings and Centre for Entrepreneurship last Thursday to see and hear what the university is doing to strengthen entrepreneurship from the perspective of education, research and valorisation.

Entrepreneurship is about knowledge and skills, but especially about attitude.
Joanne Kellerman
Joanne Kellerman

During their visit to the Centre for Entrepreneurship, the board members asked many questions about what entrepreneurship education at the UU looks like and how entrepreneurship is experienced. Here are a few of the questions that were discussed, together with a brief explanation:

Do students with an interest in entrepreneurship go to a Business School instead of a broad university like the UU?

In many universities entrepreneurship education is indeed primarily organised from a Business School. The unfortunate thing about this is that entrepreneurship arises precisely at the intersections of professions and fields of study, in which students and teachers from different disciplines challenge each other. In Utrecht, the focus is therefore on developing talent and using it to solve the societal issues of tomorrow. The Sustainable Development Goals, for example, are central to this. The aim is to inspire as many students as possible, including those who initially have no intrinsic interest in entrepreneurship. With the Utrecht model, we make as much impact as possible and create as many entrepreneurial talents as possible.

The motto of the UU is: Bright Minds, Better Future. Entrepreneurship can help to make that impact shift to a better future.
Jan van der Eijk
Jan van der Eijk

How do we see entrepreneurship in the curriculum?

All faculties do offer subjects in which entrepreneurship returns to a greater or lesser extent, ranging from entrepreneurial assignments and workshops to complete subjects, minors and masters. In concrete terms, there are three minors in the field of Entrepreneurship and there are a number of masters who primarily focus on this. The Centre for Entrepreneurship is also developing tools for teachers to give entrepreneurship a permanent place within existing subjects and learning lines. This concerns the development of knowledge and skills, but especially also an entrepreneurial mindset and attitude.

The impact of entrepreneurship education is much greater if you really reach 20% of the students than if you reach 100% superficially.
Frank van der Duijn Schouten
Frank van der Duijn Schouten

How broadly is the theme of entrepreneurship shared within the university?

Entrepreneurship is gaining interest in all corners of the university. The desire and will is there, but the implementation and ownership of the faculties is sometimes still a challenge. In master's programmes, for example, more and more attention is being paid to entrepreneurial skills. Students are sometimes a bit hesitant at first, because they are not used to this other, more challenging form of education. But after an experience with entrepreneurship education, they are certainly enthusiastic.