The Entrepreneurial University program provides dynamic universities with small grant opportunities to develop entrepreneurial education and innovation activities and events. Through the program Junior Achievement will expand their JA Practice Entrepreneurship Program to five universities centers providing those students with valuable entrepreneurship education programming. Lastly, the program will assist university hubs to draw local business in developing new opportunities for students.
The technology sector in Romania is highly dynamic and it is growing faster than any other segment of the economy. Currently, there is an employment deficit increasing the salaries of new hires and pulling students towards full-time employment while still in school, narrowing their prospects for professional development. As students are drawn to the allure of well-paid positions in IT companies involved in outsourcing, many other segments of the technology and innovation economy are not fully developing, stymieing the future prospects of the economy.
The program Entrepreneurial University – From Knowledge to Innovation systematically addresses a key element associated with RAF’s Technology and Innovation strategy, namely the ability of Romanian universities to adopt and adapt key entrepreneurial educational models.
This project provides Romanian universities with an institutional evaluation tool – HEInnovate – and a methodology for its application that will result in the development of a national model. The assessment also creates the basis for introduction of new entrepreneurship classes and improved internship programs for students.
In applying necessary changes to the participant universities, Junior Achievement Romania (JAR) focused on bridging universities with the business community for joint projects and student internships as well as on the inclusion of entrepreneurial studies in their curricula.
The two-year pilot program was initiated with two Universities during the first year of implementation, followed by its application in three more Universities in year two. JAR introduced the online HEInnovate assessment tool to the five selected universities that received direct consultation in its application, while assisting the selected universities in establishing a multi-stakeholder working group that will include representatives of the administrations, professors, students, and the private sector. Private sector partners have a valuable contribution in that they receive future human resources from the universities and as a stakeholder in this process they may contribute with valuable insight for needed curricula reform or by providing internship opportunities to students.
Immediately following the assessment process, JAR customized basic and extended entrepreneurship curricula for several universities. An important element during the development of the new curricula was the inclusion of local and national business stakeholders, to both enhance the curricula as well as to contribute to the course design with specific mentoring and internship opportunities.
The HEInnovate online assessment tool was designed for all types of higher education institutions allowing for university administrators to view their capacities in entrepreneurial activities, including leadership, staffing and links with business. JAR will work with five international professors that have applied the assessment tool in their respective universities, as trainers that can provide illustration and practical case studies. HEInnovate is intended for higher education institutions (Universities, University Colleges, and Polytechnics) who are interested in assessing themselves against a number of statements related to the entrepreneurial and innovative nature of their higher education environment.
HEInnovate covers seven areas for self-assessment:
- Leadership and Governance
- Organizational Capacity: Funding, People and Incentives
- Entrepreneurial Teaching and Learning
- Preparing and Supporting Entrepreneurs
- Knowledge Exchange and Collaboration
- The Internationalized Institution
- Measuring Impact.
- An established Romanian model for the application of the HEInnovate institutional assessment tool –tested in at least five Universities and available for any Romanian University;
- Development of specialized training curricula for university professors and administrators in entrepreneurial thinking;
- Accreditation of entrepreneurship curricula for five Romanian Universities, open to all.