Part of the
Centre for
Engineering Education
TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University
Centre for
Engineering Education


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Project introduction and background information

Entrepreneurship Education is an ongoing innovative research project in which enablers of the early phases of opportunity identification are being researched and tested in classroom and workplace settings. Basically it boils down to the central question: “How can we stimulate quality and quantity of business idea generation and business idea evaluation of entrepreneurial learners?”

A special focus in this project is on opportunity identification in the context of agri-food and sustainable entrepreneurship. 

Objective and expected outcomes

Entrepreneurship Education starts with getting students into a learning environment which enables and fosters opportunity identification. However, it is unclear which formal and informal learning mechanisms enable the generation of, on the one hand, more ideas and on the other hand, better quality ideas. Evidence-based practices, for instance on the role the instructor (or manager in a workplace setting) plays, the role of team work and leaning climate are rare. This ongoing innovative project sheds more light on these questions that are important for entrepreneurship educators.

Results and learnings

  • To study the specific nature of entrepreneurial competencies, like opportunity identification, in relation to more generic 21st century skills, such as creativity and complex problem solving;
  • To study the influence of personal, learning environment and facilitator (e.g. teacher/trainer) characteristics on opportunity identification;
  • To introduce evidence-based interventions on opportunity identification in entrepreneurship education programs;
  • To develop specific instruments for assessing entrepreneurial competencies, including opportunity identification, and sustainable entrepreneurship competencies.

The project is evidence-based educational research which already has resulted in one completed PhD thesis, one almost finished PhD thesis, multiple research articles, practical articles, MSc theses, and interventions in several entrepreneurship courses and workplaces.


  • It is easier for facilitators (e.g. teachers) to stimulate quantity of idea generation over quality;
  • Individual factors seem to be most important for stimulating quantity of business ideas, including prior knowledge of the entrepreneurs and belief in their own creative abilities;
  • Standardized assessment of opportunity identification can be done using the Opportunity identification Assessment Tool (OICAT), developed by Yvette Baggen and colleagues (see link below);
  • Standardized assessment of sustainable entrepreneurship competencies can be done using the instrument developed by Lisa Ploum and colleagues, (see link below).  

Practical outcomes

  • Baggen, Y., Kampen, J., Naia, A., Biemans, H. J., Lans, T & Mulder, M. (in press). Development and Application of the Opportunity Identification Competence Assessment Test (OICAT) in Higher Education. Innovations in Education and Teaching International.
  • Baggen, Y., Lans, T., Biemans, H. J., Kampen, J., & Mulder, M. (2016). Fostering Entrepreneurial Learning On‐the‐Job: evidence from innovative small and medium‐sized companies in Europe. European Journal of Education, 51(2), 193-209.
  • Baggen, Y., Mainert, J., Lans, T., Biemans, H. J., Greiff, S., & Mulder, M. (2015). Linking complex problem solving to opportunity identification competence within the context of entrepreneurship. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 34(4), 412-429.
  • Karimi, S., Biemans, H. J., Lans, T., Aazami, M., & Mulder, M. (2016). Fostering students’ competence in identifying business opportunities in entrepreneurship education. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 53(2), 215-229.
  • Ploum, L., Blok, V., Lans, T., & Omta, O. (2017). Toward a Validated Competence Framework for Sustainable Entrepreneurship. Organization & Environment, 1086026617697039.