Newsportal - Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Strengthening the entrepreneurial spirit in youth
Work scientists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, together with business didactics experts at University Duisburg-Essen, looked into ways of strengthening the entrepreneurial spirit in youth. In Greece, Spain, Lithuania, Hungary and Bulgaria two tools that measure and subsequently foster entrepreneurial potential were tested and adapted to the respective country-specific conditions. Furthermore, a qualification programme for experienced managers who support the young people as mentors during their start-up projects was established. The measures aim at reducing youth unemployment and offering young staff members a new perspective in the domestic labour market.
The European Commission has been sponsoring the project “Enterprise plus: Innovative potential meets experience” since September 2014; it runs out in August 2017. Head of the research project is the work scientist Dr Martin Kröll from Bochum. His team cooperates with the work group of Prof Dr Thomas Retzmann at University Duisburg-Essen.
Developing business ideas
Over 100 young people aged 16 to 25 participated in the project. To this end, the researchers have worked together with, for example, schools and job centres from all five participating countries. In the first step, the young people’s entrepreneurship potential was recorded with the aid of a tool developed in a previous project.
Subsequently, they worked out a business plan together with experienced managers in a workshop where the young people’s previously identified entrepreneurial talents were fostered. The workshops were based on the German Founder’s Prize for school-leavers.
Training mentors and talent scouts
To organise the project sustainably, 50 mentors and 50 talent scouts were trained in each participating country, who will be implementing the measures in and beyond the research project. Talent scouts include job centre employees, teachers, and consultants of professional chambers. Former as well as active managers act as mentors. Here, the Enterprise plus team may take advantage of the competences of the project partner “Alt hilft Jung”; over 80 former managers are organised in that network.
The scientific monitoring of the project „Enterprise plus“ revealed that the collaboration between mentors and their charges is more successful if the mentors provide constructive feedback, if they arouse the young people’s interest, and if they appeal to the youth. Those findings have contributed to the development of the training concept for mentors.
Furthermore, the project team provides four self-learning modules with which talent scouts and mentors can prepare themselves independently for their tasks. The modules convey how the potential analysis is conducted. Moreover, they cover subjects like the management of start-up projects, network building, and business management.
Proven feasibility for every country
The potential analysis and founder workshop can be implemented either as a crash course within five days or over a period of several weeks. Both versions can be integrated in school lessons. The scientists worked out the ideal form of implementation for every country. Quality assurance and the future use of IT solutions play a central role.
Expert conference in June
On the 1st and 2nd of June 2017, a conference on the topic of “Entrepreneurship Education in Europe” will be taking place at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Experts will discuss how the concepts of the potential analysis and the founder workshop that were developed during the project can be implemented throughout Europe. Media representatives are welcome to attend. Please register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Martin Kröll
Institute for Work Science
Phone: +49 234 32 23293
24 May 2017