The European Commission established in 2016 the European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (EntreComp) as part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe. The framework aims to empower individuals by promoting an entrepreneurial mindset and equipping individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge needed to acquire such a mindset. The framework also creates a common language between different educational and work levels by bridging these realms.
The COMPASS project, the flagship of the Ulysseus European University’s R&I agenda and strategy, understands itself as a part of the ambition of the European Commission. One of the main goals of the project is to enhance the entrepreneurial skills of researchers.
The project has – under the lead of Haaga-Helia – developed the Entrepreneurship and Mentoring Guide for Researchers that, among other things, discusses the concept of entrepreneurship and provides an overview of what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.
What is entrepreneurship and what skills does an entrepreneur have?
Even though attempts to find a common definition of entrepreneurship remain elusive, it is possible to name certain characteristics of entrepreneurship that are agreed upon by most experts.
Entrepreneurship is the process of creating, developing, and managing a business venture with the aim of making a profit and/or fulfilling a specific need in the marketplace. It can take various forms, but at its core it involves identifying an opportunity, assessing its feasibility, and bringing together the necessary resources to turn the idea into a profitable venture.
Moreover, the European Commission’s EntreComp framework stresses that entrepreneurship includes acting upon opportunities and ideas and transforming them into value for others, which can be financial, cultural, or social. Entrepreneurship, therefore, requires a combination of a broad set of skills, including, for example, creativity, problem-solving, risk-taking, adaptability and perseverance.
Why researchers should develop entrepreneurial skills
Generally speaking, the development of entrepreneurial skills enables researchers to transform their inventive concepts and research discoveries into practical solutions, and thereby cultivating an environment of innovation. There are some specific benefits researchers may derive from developing an entrepreneurial mindset.
By starting a business, researchers have the opportunity to create real-world impact through the products or services they offer, improving people’s lives, solving real-world problems and driving innovation in their field. This can be a source of great satisfaction and motivation for researchers.
Commercialization of research
Entrepreneurship provides an opportunity for researchers to commercialize their research. Thus, turning their ideas into products or services that, in the best case, can benefit society – e.g., through the creation of new jobs and the stimulation of economic growth.
Intellectual property ownership
As an entrepreneur, a researcher can own the intellectual property associated with their research findings, which can be licensed or sold to generate additional revenue streams.
Independence, autonomy & flexibility
As an entrepreneur, researchers can have more control over the direction of their research and the projects they pursue. They can also enjoy greater flexibility in their work schedule and work-life balance.
Starting a business can provide researchers with a new source of funding for their research projects. They can also leverage their business networks and partnerships to secure additional funding from investors, grants, or other sources.
Entrepreneurship can be a valuable addition to a researcher’s career development, providing new skills and experiences that can enhance their research work.
To sum up, fostering an entrepreneurial mindset presents researchers with a valuable avenue to apply their expertise and capabilities in novel and inventive manners, resulting in tangible benefits for society. Therefore, higher education institutions should provide the necessary entrepreneurial education and create structures to foster an entrepreneurial mindset among researchers.