Entrepreneurship is the new bet of universities

16 January, 2017

Institutions follow the tendency of the startups that this Government wanted to accelerate, with courses and specialized offers.

With the crisis and the development of new technologies, choosing to create a business of your own rather than opting for a traditional job is the choice followed by an increasing number of Portuguese, especially in the younger classes. Universities and polytechnic institutes see no alternative but to adapt to the trend, which the Government itself has shown a desire to accelerate. “This new paradigm was created outside the academic world. But institutions have had to adapt to be at the forefront of innovation, “said Daniel Traça, director of Nova SBE. More than full courses dedicated to Entrepreneurship, universities are mainly focused on awards and initiatives. But let it be known who thinks that this area is unique to Economics and Management. “At the Universidade Nova, there are at least eight years that all organic units have an Entrepreneurship Chair,” explains Daniel Traça. The same happens at the University of Beira Inteiror (UBI). “The discipline of Entrepreneurship was introduced in the curricular plan of the 1st cycle in Biomedical Sciences in 2010, in the 6th year of existence of this course, counting on the collaboration of professors from the Department of Management and Economics”, explains the head of the course, Carla Fonseca Adds that “the aim is to awaken in students innovative and enterprising spirit, to challenge them to get out of the box, empowering them with the skills they need to transfer their knowledge from university to society.” The experience has borne fruit, with some former Biomedical Sciences students from UNI having distinguished projects outside the institution. Emanuel Dinis and Miguel Casteleiro were winners of the 16th edition of ANJE’s National Ideas Contest in 2012, with PTTecno, a platform to facilitate the transfer of technology from research centers to companies; And Vanessa Santos, Jane Dias, Ana Silveira and Catarina Almeida were winners of the Angelini University Award in 2016 with the BabyKnow & KnowU Diaper Analytic project.

But it is not enough. João Freire de Andrade, founder president of the nonprofit association BET – Bring Entrepreneurs Together, believes that there is still a long way to go. “We are already getting the right mindset and this Government has really been able to create buzz in society around the startups. But do students start taking Entrepreneurship classes and then? Who joins them in the development of ideas and projects? Lack of mentoring, lack of connecting people, lack of access to investment. “Failures that BET tries to fill with its programs to support startups and entrepreneurs. Created in 2011, the association began by having a markedly university profile and recognizes the importance of the support that, at the time and since then, have received from the Catholic University. “It was for us what governments should be for the economies. They let us work and helped speed up processes. “BET is proud to have helped launch such renowned projects as Chic by Choice and Uniplaces. “Once we fill an auditorium with only startups. We had a huge turnout. In the interval came a young man asking me if I could present some slides about his company. It was Miguel Santo Amaro and wanted to show Uniplaces, “recalls João Freire de Andrade. Together with the students, Entrepreneurship has had a very positive response. “They are a different generation. They have a lot more appetite for change and their idols are people like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Bill Gates. In the past no one idolized presidents of computer companies, “says Daniel Traça. But it takes more than going to University to learn Entrepreneurship to be the next Steve Jobs. “It takes a special DNA to create a Facebook. But they all improve their skills if they are exposed to this way of doing it, “says the director of Nova SBE. Those who look favorably on this trend are the companies that join the institutions in supporting entrepreneurship. Santander Totta is the official sponsor of the iUP25k, the ideas contest of the University of Porto. The “Ideas in Caixa”, of the University of Algarve, has the support of Caixa Geral de Depósitos. The ISCTE AUDAX program in Lisbon has several companies as partners, such as Millennium BCP, Lena Group and SAG Group. The University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro has an entrepreneurship program in the Sabor region sponsored by EDP. Also New University has the Starters Academy with the NOS. Daniel Traça considers that “it is the big companies that profit the most from entrepreneurship courses. This is because for each school year only two or three university projects are that end up revenge. However, we are creating skills in students that are essential in any field. We end up transforming a whole generation of talent. ” With these offers, Portugal thus follows an international trend. The Best Masters website, which evaluates programs globally, considered the Master of Entrepreneurship at Babason College in Massachusetts, USA to be the best in the world. In the Top 10 are three US institutions, all other European institutions. The best and the ESADE Business School in Madrid, third in the list. But Portugal is also well placed. The Nova Master’s “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” appears in an honorable 12th place. “We have an interesting and constantly developing offer”, justifies Daniel Traça.

Source: Dinheiro Vivo

Author: Marta Velho

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