Entrepreneurship

Overview

Entrepreneurship understood broadly starts with expertise in a particular discipline and from there takes into account four dimensions; being able to take action, creativity, relationship with real world issues and understanding one’s own individual capacity. Entrepreneurship can, furthermore be understood as a method or as a goal.

  

Entrepreneurship and inter-disciplinarity    

Entrepreneurship as a method or goal will be interdisciplinary, understood across and within each discipline as a method for creating value for others. The Danish Fund for Entrepreneurship (Fonden for Entreprenørskab) has identified four dimensions, named above, as a taxonomy that can be linked to each level of education from ABC to PhD. When working with entrepreneurship it is possible to focus on all or only some of these dimensions depending on the extent of the project and on the age of the students.

Types of entrepreneurship teaching

Entrepreneurship can be either a method, used in any disciplinary setting, or a goal. Normally entrepreneurship as a field is understood in one of three different forms:

  • About: Teaching about entrepreneurship can be about venture creation, the entrepreneur, start-ups, an enterpreneurial eco-system, entrepreneurship as an area of research and so on. This form of entrepreneurship teaching resembles other forms of university teaching that relies on transmission of knowledge about a field, often being taught through lectures. 
  • For: Teaching for entrepreneurship has the aim of inspiring and motivating individuals to start a venture of some kind or other. There is a focus on the student learning the ‘tools of the trade’ - different use of techniques, a toolbox, strategies and methods - that will assist in starting an entrepreneurial business. In addition, teaching will often include working on student attitudes and mindset. 
  • Through: Teaching through entrepreneurship has the aim to allow students to gain some experience of the entrepreneurial project by doing it themselves. They will gain knowledge about, tools for and competences that shape their attitudes and mindset by working with a real life project for real. The whole process is scaffolded and supported by the teacher in a safe environment, where there is minimal risk and the outcome is usually still regarded as a ‘school project’.  
  • Embedded: Embedding entrepreneurship into teaching means making connections between the discipline and real world issues so that the student combines their academic knowledge with real life issues that they then focus on. In this way students who do not want to go ‘all out’ for entrepreneurship get a taste of what the process means and gain access to entrepreneurial competences and possibly even an entrepreneurial mindset. In this case, entrepreneurship is regarded as a method rather than a goal.

Discovery or creation in teaching

Entrepreneurship teaching’s form and content are dependent on how entrepreneurship is defined. If entrepreneurship is understood as a process of discovery, it will be necessary for the student to understand how entrepreneurs have worked by analyzing cases so that they can thereafter become attuned to spotting unrealized potential. Teaching can also begin with the understanding that entrepreneurs are involved in a creative process where it is possible to train students in idea-generation, convergent and divergent thinking and design processes where the result is focused on creating new forms of value.   

  

Teachers should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Which kind of entrepreneurship teaching fits best with the way I want to teach (about, for, through or embedded and whether you want to work with discovery or creation)?

  • Which form fits with the time that I have available?
  • Which dimensions will I focus on in my teaching?
  • What does entrepreneurship teaching mean for my role as a teacher?

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