CONEEECT U PHILOSOPHY OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION
On of the reasons for the creation of Coneeect U was because we believe that most current approaches to entrepreneurship and thus entrepreneurship education are limited.
Most university entrepreneurship courses focus on the creation of new ventures. We believe that students and professors can benefit from a more holistic and personal development oriented approach that applies not only to starting a new company, but also applies more broadly to the students who do not plan to start a company.
We have been discussing and teaching this broader entrepreneurial mindset perspective for several years during the Coneeect Train-the-Trainer courses throughout Europe and the European Entrepreneurship Education conferences. We have been encouraged that others also share this mindset, even if not much has been published in academic literature.
Gedeon’s (2014) published definition encompasses much of Coneeect U’s philosophy:
“Entrepreneurship education encompasses holistic personal growth and transformation that provides students with knowledge, skills and attitudinal learning outcomes. This empowers students with a philosophy of entrepreneurial thinking, passion, and action-orientation that they can apply to their lives, their jobs, their communities, and/or their own new ventures.”
Coneeect U thus embraces four primary domains of entrepreneurship:
- Personal Empowerment, Development, Transformation and Growth
- Entrepreneurial Action within a Corporate Context (“Intrapreneurship”, “Corporate Entrepreneurship” or “Open Innovation”)
- Social Entrepreneurship (“Social Innovation” or “Change Making”)
- New Venture Startup
University programs that have embraced these four domains say that: “We have found that these more inclusive, holistic, four domains of entrepreneurship allowed us to form collaborative partnerships across campus including with engineering, social sciences, humanities, art, and design. In particular, broadening the preconceived notions of entrepreneurship beyond strictly a business discipline into a more holistic philosophy of personal growth, creativity, leadership, problem solving and teamwork has encouraged the collaboration of diverse perspectives.” (Turgut-Dao, et al., 2015)
The definition of entrepreneurship is thus not a mere technicality. Defining it strictly in terms of starting a new venture, makes it relevant primarily to business. In contrast, Coneeect U’s broader perspective makes the entrepreneurial mindset relevant to all disciplines.
Furthermore we believe that student transformation is the primary goal of education in contrast to the various magazine and award programs that value university reputation, starting student salaries, number of faculty publications, number of startups, money raised… (Gedeon, 2013). Thus what a student learns during a course (e.g. knowledge, skills and attitudes) is more important than the performance achieved during the course (e.g. amount of revenue).
This leads to our second major philosophical approach to entrepreneurship education:
Entrepreneurship represents a unique pedagogical teaching method – “teaching through entrepreneurship” in contrast to “teaching about entrepreneurship” or “teaching for entrepreneurship”.
Coneeect U embraces experiential learning using an entrepreneurship project as a method for students to build skills and attitudes such as problem-solving, human empathy, teamwork, communication, internal locus of control, adaptability, alertness, tenacity, and resilience. These Learning Outcomes may be embraced by service learning community volunteers and social innovators as well as engineers, scientists, fashion and business students.
Coneeect U’s mission is thus to foster and disseminate best practices related to this holistic view entrepreneurship and method of entrepreneurship education. All our training programs, courses, workshops and semester-abroad programs with partner universities are designed with this philosophy in mind.
Gedeon, S.A. (2014) “Application of Best Practices in University Entrepreneurship Education: Designing a New MBA Program” European Journal of Training and Development, Vol 38, No. 3, pp. 231-253
Turgut-Dao, E., Gedeon, S.A., Sailer, K., Huber, F., Franck, M. (2015) “Embedding Experiential Learning in Cross-Faculty Entrepreneurship Education” Conference Proceedings, 3E Conference – ECSB Entrepreneurship Education Conference, Lüneburg, Germany 22–24 April 2015. ISSN 2411-3298.
Gedeon, S.A. (2013) “Best Practices in Entrepreneurship Education Program Objectives” Conference Proceedings, 3E Conference – ECSB Entrepreneurship Education Conference Aarhus, Denmark 29–31 May 2013.