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Best practices in Entrepreneurial Engineering Education at the 4TUs

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Since their inception, the four universities of technology in the Netherlands have brought forth a vast number of students that developed their knowledge and skills into their own business idea. As start-ups play a key role in creating a sustainable tomorrow, teaching an entrepreneurial mind-set becomes an increasingly valuable skill for future engineers. But how is this done at the 4TUs? What are the best practices? For the past couple of months, four student assistants, one of every TU, have analysed the status of entrepreneurial engineering education. The result is presented in a brochure.

 

The brochure touches upon some of the ‚Äúbest practices‚ÄĚ in entrepreneurial education.¬†‚ÄėIt has been designed to inspire lecturers and educational leaders to integrate entrepreneurship more in existing education, thereby preparing students to become the engineers of the future‚Äô, say student assistants Merel Laarhoven, Victor van Saltbommel, Alex Bala and Simon Drolbach who composed the brochure. Having analysed the ‚Äúbest practices‚ÄĚ among the entrepreneurial courses at the 4TU, they found that almost all courses include (interdisciplinary)¬†teamwork and¬†require students to cope with external stakeholders. They also discovered that it is of importance to involve mentors and experts, that can help the students with the entrepreneurial process, as well as¬†subject specific matters.¬†

Struggling with real-life scenarios

Simon Drolsbach who joined a couple of entrepreneurial courses¬†himself learned a lot from these courses: ‚ÄėMy fellow students and I were struggling with real-life¬†scenarios. This provides an opportunity to¬†test¬†whether¬†solutions can add value to a given situation.¬†The courses offer you an opportunity to critically assess your own business idea and assumptions, which is very important because all too often innovations fail because there is no market for it. Is the problem I encounter shared by others? Is my solution attractive enough? These are essential questions you need to ask yourself‚Äô.

Tips for entrepreneurial education

When¬†executed¬†well,¬†entrepreneurial¬†education offers a balance between the development of practical skills ‚Äď such as coming up with a business proposition ‚Ästand more intangible skills ‚Äď such as developing ¬†a future vision, accompanied by a roadmap to¬†get there.¬†Several¬†recommendations for entrepreneurial education at the 4TUs flow from the research into best practices:¬†

More information

The brochure is part of the 4TU.Centre for Engineering Education project ‚ÄėEducating the entrepreneurial engineer‚Äô, which aims to develop education materials, modules, and courses on entrepreneurial engineering. The brochure can be found on the 4TU.CEE website.