How do we develop skills in Norwegian students to take on the toughest challenges facing the world?
Most of the world's economic growth in the next decade or so is going be in developing economies like India. Developing knowledge on business development and growth in such markets is crucial for educating Norwegian students who are likely to be interacting directly with these markets in the near future. At the same time, there is a need to increase the number of students with entrepreneurial skills. Having an entrepreneurial mindset is increasingly seen as an asset, especially in tackling challenges related to sustainability, poverty and development. To facilitate this, it is required to develop, test and document new learning approaches and to engage more students and faculty in this.
The Network for Engaged Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies (NEED) project will do this by creating a mechanism for student engagement with meaningful sustainability focused entrepreneurial projects of societal value.
The NEED network of institutions in India, Norway and the USA will generate live projects that students from across disciplines will have the opportunity to work on with guidance from academic and subject experts. They will also have the opportunity to interact with innovators and entrepreneurs from developing countries. Through its activities, the partnership will also document and develop knowledge on the challenges and processes involved in starting up and scaling businesses in developing countries and on the process of entrepreneurial learning. By integrating this work into courses, the NEED project will significantly boost research based entrepreneurial education in Norway.
In January 2020 23 students traveled to rural India and worked on diverse challenges such as: developing a business model for a women owned/operated electric rickshaw for rural mobility; assessing the design of services and facilities for a rural market hub; value addition to food products using a community owned and community operated model; strategy for replicating a model for organic waste utilization; and eco-tourism focusing on rural home stays. These projects not only gave these students the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills and mindset and raising their awareness of developmental challenges, but the work on the students have helped in improving the delivery of such services in rural India.
In January 2021 29 students worked with innovators and entrepreneurs from rural India on challenges such as: assessing the market for a modified walker with adjustable legs to assist the differently abled; market research and expansion potential assessment for adaptive clothing designed for the differently abled; assessing market potential for plant pots made out of cow-dung and for the machine to make such pots; improving the market strategy for a multi-purpose food processing machine enabling on-location processing of agricultural products; assessing the market potential for a roll-on roll-off modified three wheeler vehicle for those using wheelchairs. The students were able to engage with the innovators and develop their entrepreneurial thinking skills. At the same time, the students' inputs helped the innovators and entrepreneurs in getting their innovations to the market.
The NEED project focuses on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skill development by engaging students in the process of starting businesses and scaling it in developing countries. By bringing together world-class education institutions and practitioners from Norway, USA and India it also develops knowledge that improves entrepreneurial education and its impact on society. Having an entrepreneurial mindset is increasingly seen as an asset irrespective of the context one works in. There is a need to increase the number of students with entrepreneurial skills. To facilitate this, it is required to develop, test and document new learning approaches and to engage more students and faculty in this. The NEED network will do this by creating a mechanism for student engagement with meaningful sustainability focused entrepreneurial projects of societal value and a system for relevant guidance from academic and subject experts enabling entrepreneurial skill development in students in higher education in Norway. Through its activities, the partnership will also develop knowledge on the challenges and processes involved in starting up and scaling businesses in developing countries and on the process of entrepreneurial learning. The NEED project will establish grounds for students in higher education to work with entrepreneurship projects from developing countries addressing social and environmental issues. By integrating this work into courses and enabling guidance to students from world leading researchers in entrepreneurship, along with innovators, entrepreneurs and subject experts from developing countries, the NEED project will significantly boost research based entrepreneurial education in Norway. The project is closely linked to Engage - Centre for Engaged Education through Entrepreneurship, a Centre for Excellence in Higher Education (SFU), and this is an important vessel to spread the knowledge to a comprehensive amount of students.
INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research