Semestre i, is the evolution of Entrepreneurship Education at Universities.
This semester (August 2016), Tec de Monterrey (MIT of Mexico) just launched Semestre i, a new concept to develop student capabilities. Entrepreneurship is one of some other areas where Semestre i, can be a useful tool compared with traditional options to improve how universities deliver the value to students.
It is a long explanation, so take a cup of coffee and please read until the end:
Note: Semestre i is a 28 projects initiative, entrepreneurship is one of them.
“as universities combine teaching and research with the capitalization of knowledge. The university’s assumption of an entrepreneurial role is the latest step in the evolution of a medieval institution from its original purpose of conservation of knowledge to the extension and capitalization of knowledge. As the university increasingly provides the basis for economic development through the generation of social and intellectual, as well as human, capital, it becomes a core institution in society.” – Etzkowitz
Universities around the globe are trying to become more effective at entrepreneurial education. Some of them are trying to stay competitive, some of them try to generate new resources of income monetizing research and intellectual property, some others to follow policy guidelines from governments, and many of them just to follow the others or the media buzz.
The most important initiatives are fostering entrepreneurship among students through entrepreneurship education and services like: patenting and licensing, creating incubators, science parks, university spin-offs, and investing equity in start-ups. Princeton releases an annual ranking for Entrepreneurship at Universities ( Tec de Monterrey is #23 in 2016) to show who is the best.
T. Jacobus Meergenaamd van de Zande suggests that even when there is no established theory on how to foster entrepreneurship effectively and it is currently not known what offerings should be offered, and how individual offerings contribute to startup success, there are multiple cases of universities having efforts, projects, methodologies, accelerators and a lot of resources to improve entrepreneurship education.
In 1985, about 250 college courses taught entrepreneurship, according to a paper published by the Kauffman Foundation. In 2008, 5,000 courses were on offer at two-and four-year institutions in the U.S. “In 2013, nearly 400,000 students took college classes on entrepreneurship”- Patrick Clark.
Yael Hochberg, head of the Entrepreneurship Initiative at Rice University and the academic director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, is leading a five year effort to study the effects of entrepreneurship education on entrepreneurial success. (The research project is made possible by a $1.5 million grant from the Kauffman Foundation )
“Our research agenda aims to explore these new institutions and their features, and to answer a number of fundamental questions about their nature and efficacy” – Hochberg
# Why entrepreneurship?
- Entrepreneurship has become one of the most important drivers of the global economy.
- In the last three decades, policymakers worldwide started to realize the importance of stimulating entrepreneurship within the regional economy, pushing it high on their agendas, because of the aforementioned benefits.
- Wealth and a high majority of jobs are created by small businesses started by entrepreneurially minded individuals, many of whom go on to create big businesses.
- People exposed to entrepreneurship, frequently express that they have more opportunity to exercise creative freedoms, higher self-esteem, and an overall greater sense of control over their own lives.
- Many experienced business people, political leaders, economists, and educators believe that fostering a robust entrepreneurial culture will maximize individual and collective economic and social success on a local, national, and global scale.
“The entrepreneurial mystique? It’s not magic, it’s not mysterious, and it has nothing to do with the genes. It’s a discipline. And, like any discipline, it can be learned” – Drucker.
# Why Universities?
- They are creating new inventions and knowledge.
- Due to their close link with industry.
- Entrepreneurs at University are crazy.
- Entrepreneurial activity is a step in the natural evolution of a university system that emphasizes economic development in addition to the more traditional mandates of education and research.
- TTOs (Technology Transfer Offices) are seen as the formal gateway between the university and industry. Commercial output, university licensing, information processing capacity, royalties, and patents.
- University networking.
“The entrepreneurial university integrates economic development into the university as an academic function along with teaching and research. It is this `capitalization of knowledge‘ that is the heart of a new mission for the university, linking universities to users of knowledge more tightly and establishing the university as an economic actor in its own right.” – Etzkowitz
# Be an entrepreneur at University, Yes or not?
Even the debate about whether entrepreneurship can be learned and implemented, there is a growing global interest in entrepreneurship education and training.
**It is not the same entrepreneurship education than be an entrepreneur at the university**!!
The problems with entrepreneurship education and training are: programs have lost definitions of context and goals, a lack of research using methodologies that truly identify the effect of an intervention, there are general courses for multiple kind of people, stages projects and technology.
At the end, education entrepreneurship is still being a really good thing, but… not enough to develop new companies. It is just the beginning at the mindset changing and basic knowledge and capabilities.
Many universities have linked this education and training to another programs to execute like business incubators, accelerators or any programs to put hands on. The point is that these people still being students, have to accomplish student obligations, what in most of the cases create a conflict with the “create a business” obligations.
There is a gap between learn entrepreneurship and do entrepreneurship at the university. That is one of the main reasons (plus experience) why the average age of successful entrepreneurs at most developed ecosystems are above 30´s.
# Different offerings contribute in different ways.
Entrepreneurship at University is not general. It needs to be defined by stages. One thing is to promote entrepreneurship, other is educate, and the other is execute (do not say operate or run a company).
Entrepreneurship events are well done, hackathons are well done, contests are well done, initiatives are well done, learning is often well done?, execute is …???
Put the things in context:
Having said this, which can be a good university if you want to be an entrepreneur? Anna Prior, wrote about what is important when choosing a university if you want to be an entrepreneur. She defines 8 aspects to take care:
- A Big Name Doesn’t Always Matter Much
- Put Networking Above All Else
- Be Mindful of Debt
- You Don’t Need to Major in Business
- Focus on Experiences—not Grades
- Seek Out Good Advisers
- Forget Summer Vacation
- Think Hard Before Launching
“Until the year 1979, research in entrepreneurship received little attention” – Bruyat & Julien, and was fragmented. Economists considered large corporations as “the most powerful engine of progress” – Acs & Audretsch.
However, this changed when David Birch (1979) first highlighted the role of entrepreneurship in the creation of new jobs. His report attracted interest from US Congress, which realized that in order to remain competitive, the US had to invest in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Universities have always conducted applied research in conjunction with industry or government. However, legislation often made it difficult for universities to patent the results of publicly funded research. The US Congress, in an attempt to stimulate innovation in US firms to fight the increasing competition by Japanese firms, passed the Bayh-Dole act in 1980. The Bayh-Dole act allowed universities to commercialize publicly funded research.
While some argue that the Bayh-Dole act functioned too well, since it de-emphasized fundamental research, according to T. Jacobus Meergenaamd van de Zande it is generally accepted that the enactment sparked the global interest in university entrepreneurship.
After the US, the rest of the world followed. Most countries have enacted Bayh-Dole like legislations, granting universities the right to own their intellectual property.
Nowadays, entrepreneurship is one the most overexploited topics at universities around the globe with a lot of resources involved (people, infrastructure, money, time, effort, etc.).
The discussion, which included startup founders, educators, and venture capitalists, was focused less on the “how” of entrepreneurship education, and more on the “where.”
So what should such a curriculum look like? Is a curriculum a problem? I don´t think so, the problem is what is next after the curriculum?
There are many initiatives to develop new entrepreneurship effectiveness at universities:
- YC Startup College Curriculum by Y Combinator offers guidelines for teaching “startups” at the university.
- Grade in Entrepreneurship Leadership & Innovation by Universidad de Mondragon.
- System’s Innovation and Entrepreneur Degree Program by The University of Colorado: Offers a Bachelor’s degree in Innovation a unique multi-disciplinary team and course work approach.
- Student internship program by Washington University in St. Louis: Offers 25 paid internships per summer for students to work in a start-up.
- Business Plan Contest by Rice University: Raised and provided $1.2 million in cash and in-kind services for its business plan contest, this money has served as a de-facto angel round of funding for the recipient companies.
- “INSPIREation” Hall by University of Florida: Is the nation’s first entrepreneurship-based academic residential community – encouraging student interaction with fellow students, leading researchers, distinguished faculty, business professionals, and entrepreneurs.
Or the extreme initiatives like the Thiel Fellowship gives $100,000 to young people who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom.
At Tecnologico de Monterrey we had developed several initiatives like:
- Reto Emprendedor con Sentido Humano.
- Several entrepreneurship events.
- Prototype courses.
- Entrepreneurship mandatory course.
- Optional courses.
- Undergraduate program: B.A. Business Creation and Development.
- Business incubator networks.
- Family Business Centers.
- Orion Startups.
- Technological Parks network.
# The Rise of Entrepreneurship in College Campuses
Arnobio Morelix publishes at Kauffman The Evolution of Entrepreneurship on College Campuses, where he mentions some interesting numbers.
Degree and diploma offerings in entrepreneurship have grown by 5 times: In 1975, colleges and universities offered around 100 formal majors, minors, and certificates in entrepreneurship. By 2006, they offered 500 of those programs.
The number of freshmen who want to be an entrepreneur has doubled: In 1975, 1.5% of college freshmen reported wanting to own a business. In 2008, that number was 3.3%.
Course offers in entrepreneurship have grown approximately 20 fold: In 1985, there were about 250 courses offered in entrepreneurship at college campuses across the nation. In 2008, that number was 5,000.
Entrepreneurship in College Campuses – a Timeline
(Published by Arnobio Morelix at Kauffman)
1975 – Colleges/universities offered around 100 formal majors, minors and certificates in entrepreneurship. 1.5% of college freshmen report wanting to own a business.
1985 – About 250 courses in entrepreneurship. 2000 Colleges and universities are receiving major endowments for entrepreneurship education. 30% of colleges and universities offer assistance to students and entrepreneurs.
2003 – 300 million invested in entrepreneurship education in U.S. colleges and universities through the Kauffman Campuses Initiative and matching funds, between 2003 and 2013.
2005 – 3.6% (more than twice as many as in 1975) of college freshmen report to want to own a business.
2006 – More than 500 majors, minors, and certificates.
2008 – More than 5,000 entrepreneurship courses. Over 400,000 students a year take them. Around 9,000 faculty members teach it.
2011 – Launch of the Thiel Fellowship, which pays 20 aspiring entrepreneurs $100,000 to not attend college and work on their projects.
2012 – About one-third of business incubators are based at universities.
2013 – As of 2013, several schools require all students to take classes introducing principles of entrepreneurship. These include institutions as diverse as Arizona State University, University of Texas El Paso, and College of Wooster.
# What is next?
Have you ever heard something like this (published by Jason Ma)…
“Students at Cal have traditionally been risk-averse because of academic rigor and a feeling of being silo’ed in their majors.”
“I am young, have time and I’m willing to take the risk. We want to innovate and deliver awesome engineering products.”
“I’ve got no kids, no mortgage, no family responsibility. I’m not interested in being just a dot in a large workforce, a huge bureaucratic structure. I want to apply what I’ve learned directly from classes to something I’m passionate about.”
Well, the next step is to create the environment for students who want to build a company inside the university…
Like Dr Emad Rahim suggest: We need to Link Curricula to Real-World Business Challenges:
In a global economy plagued by high levels of unemployment, nothing would be better than helping students launch their own businesses. Universities can work in partnership with student-entrepreneurs—and institutions to conduct market research, obtain financing, and create viable businesses. The student-entrepreneur learns in the process, and his or her classmates also expand their practical knowledge working on their own startups.
Student in residence programs are comparable to internships, except that students get hands on experience, work a specific number of hours at their company, several hours a week and complete coursework that ultimately is graded and counts towards the course’s final grades. Similar to entrepreneur in residence programs, student in residence programs allow students and experienced professionals to learn from each other while discussing and solving real world business challenges.
To encourage entrepreneurship in students, whether it be social or for profit, universities must offer more practical coursework, blending the theory in the traditional economic literature with the tangible needs of everyday business management. The education should be experiential, hands on, and action driven to give students a real world experience. Let’s give entrepreneurship students the sink or swim test in the Shark Tank.
“We know that some universities play an important role in many economies through their core education, research and development, and other spillovers. However, in order to support economic growth through entrepreneurship, universities must create a culture and programs that make entrepreneurship widely accessible to students” – Roberts & Eesley
Charney & Libecap say: Entrepreneurship education is positively associated with entrepreneurship outcomes. Entrepreneurship outcomes consist of the entrepreneurial performance of the entrepreneur and/or the company he founded. It includes nascent behaviors, start-up behaviors, as well as financial success. Nascent behaviors are defined as behavior such as “being more likely to be self-employed” and “being more likely to be instrumental in the creation of new business venture”.
# Semestre i of Entrepreneurship
It is what I call the real lab for entrepreneurship. It is the next step on entrepreneurship education and training with a mix between learning and execute.
It is launched this August on 9 campuses of Tec de Monterrey (Monterrey, Ciudad de México, Estado de México, Santa Fe, Chihuahua, Toluca, Puebla, Queretaro, León) with 150 students, divided into +80 startups.
The challenge is to build a startup.
Students spent one semester, FULL TIME, working on their project while their performance, executing and learning, impact their grades and credits for six courses.
The process is guided by mentors and teachers, who ensure the academic capabilities and the project execution milestones.
At the end of the program they will be evaluated like individuals and like a team. Their projects have the goal of raising money to continue the project after the semester finishes.
You can see more about semestre i here.
# Useful concepts
(Published by T. Jacobus Meergenaamd van de Zande)
- University Entrepreneurship: The concept of university entrepreneurship encompasses activities within universities related to entrepreneurship and the commercialization of knowledge: patenting and licensing knowledge, creating incubators, science parks, and university spin-offs, and investing equity in start-ups (Rothaermel, Agung, & Jiang, 2007).
- Academic entrepreneurship: A concept related to university entrepreneurship, academic entrepreneurship considers the entrepreneurial activity of academics. It “involves the variety of ways in which academics go beyond the production of potentially useful knowledge and take some sort of leadership role in ensuring successful commercialization of university research and technology” (Henrekson & Rosenberg, 2001).
- Innovation-based entrepreneurship: focuses on the creation of innovation-based enterprises. Such enterprises have a clear competitive advantage and high growth potential, often pursuing global opportunities (Aulet & Murray, 2012; Manimala, 1996; Stam, Suddle, Hessels, & Stel, 2009). These firms perform the type of entrepreneurship that is associated with a high contribution to regional economic growth (Birch, 1979). There are several synonyms, such as ambitious entrepreneurship and high-impact entrepreneurship.
- Fostering Entrepreneurship: The Oxford Dictionary defines the act of ‘fostering’ as: “to encourage or promote the development of (something, typically something regarded as good)”. Therefore, fostering entrepreneurship considers the encouragement and promotion of (the development of) entrepreneurship. This includes both:
- The stimulation of entrepreneurship, which concerns activities that encourage entrepreneurship, and persuade people to consider pursuing entrepreneurial careers.
- The nurturing of entrepreneurs, which concerns the activities and facilities that support the growth and development of entrepreneurs and their startups.
- University Offerings / Entrepreneurial Offerings: These terms are used in a synonym. They refer to all activities, facilities, programs, courses, and other initiatives undertaken by a university or its subsidiaries to foster entrepreneurship.
“The key to our success…will be to compete by developing new products, by generating new industries, by maintaining our role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation. It’s absolutely essential to our future.” − President Barack Obama, November 17, 2010