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Introductory entrepreneurship courses are not enough

Entrepreneurial education should give students the right skills. Thus, our entrepreneurship courses should ensure that students can gain these needed skills to succeed despite uncertainty and upheaval.

Published : 24.10.2022

Today’s students aspire to be self-determining regarding their future, financial security, and the use of their own time. They understand that learning traditional academic subjects has value. They also need to learn analytical and interpersonal skills to prepare for life after graduation.

Entrepreneurship courses help students learn skills like communication, negotiation, collaboration, and time management, among many others. Moreover, entrepreneurship education can help students develop a mindset that can help them identify problems and create valuable solutions.

What is an entrepreneurial mindset? Why does it matter?

An entrepreneurial mindset is a selection of skills that can help students make the most of the opportunities that come their way. These skills allow them to learn from and conquer inevitable setbacks and flourish in an increasingly uncertain and highly competitive future. In short, the near future world requires graduates that are prepared to innovate, work together, lead, and persevere against emerging difficulties like the results of climate change.

Entrepreneurial education can give students these skills, and our entrepreneurship courses should ensure that students can gain these needed skills to succeed despite uncertainty and upheaval.

Entrepreneurship: not just for founders

Some of our students will go on to start their own businesses, inherit a family business, or even found a ground-breaking startup of their own. Of course, most of our students will take a more “typical” path in which they work for a company.

Interestingly, these two groups of students have in common that no matter where their journey takes them, they will benefit from the entrepreneurial skills and mindset that can be learned in entrepreneurship courses and programs. 

Entrepreneurship: not just one course

Although primary entrepreneurial education is now mandatory for all incoming Haaga-Helia students, their feedback shows that introductory courses can not offer all the learning opportunities and specific assistance students need on their entrepreneurial journey.

The extremely high level of requests for coaching services by students in our study shows that they seem to want and need a high level of continuing support as they learn more about entrepreneurship or work on their business idea. This level of individual coaching is not feasible in a course of 30 or more students in which teachers must meet everyone’s general learning goals.

The same can be said for the needs of students who want specific help with their business ideas. Every student’s business idea is as individual as the student themselves. While they work on their business idea, the student will need specific assistance with their business plan, funding, legal advice, help with taxation and legal documents, and so on.

While ensuring every new incoming student gets a basic set of entrepreneurial skills is a step in the right direction, if we want more successful student entrepreneurs and students with a truly entrepreneurial mindset, we need to have the right services in place.

The 3UAS4EER project is centered around the systematization and digitization of the 3UAS’s digital and green campus incubators. To truly understand what our students want regarding entrepreneurship studies, we analyzed all student emails requesting entrepreneurial services or assistance from 2017-2022.