Fostering students' entrepreneurship and open innovation in university-industry collaboration

The general objective of the project is to advance employment and self-employment potential of graduates from WBC and enhance innovativeness of companies by fostering students’ entrepreneurship, creation of business start-ups and open innovation approach in collaboration between universities and enterprises. The project will achieve this by developing a co-creative and supportive environment - iDEA Lab network which will encourage and foster students’ entrepreneurial intent and at the same time support open innovation approach.

Project aims to develop iDEA Lab as a physical and virtual environment for generating, developing and commercializing innovative students’ ideas through relevant trainings, mentoring and technology put at their disposal. Following the entrepreneurial route (start-ups) or in collaboration with companies (open innovation), it will foster the collaboration between universities and enterprises, advance employment potential of graduates from WBC and enhance the companies’ innovativeness.

Entrepreneurship is recognised as an important issue for WBC. However, entrepreneurial education was more in focus of NGOs than universities. At the same time, projects targeting entrepreneurship at universities in WBC, financed by TEMPUS (JPHES 530213), GTZ (NOSIC) and OSCE (Business Technology Incubator) were focused exclusively on academic entrepreneurship and commercialisation of research or high-tech results, completely missing students. Therefore, this project puts students’ entrepreneurial education in the focus.

Highlighted problems related to students’ entrepreneurship and practical experience at WBC are:

  • Very small percentage of students in WBC is ready to start their own business after graduation.
  • High majority of students admit that they are getting knowledge and acquire skills during studies that are only useful to the public sector or to very big enterprises.
  • Education and training in entrepreneurship in WBC is academically driven.
  • Entrepreneurship is dominantly thought at business and economic departments, rarely to other students.
  • Students well understand that the market in each of the WBC is very small, but they lack the means and support to successfully connect throughout WBC
  • There is little if any knowledge about financial instruments of the equity and participation type.
  • Only a small percentage of students in WBC get practical experience while studying, because of low level of university – industry collaboration
  • Companies from WBC have underdeveloped open innovation practices (if any), thus not exploiting available resources such as inventive and creative individuals.
  • At the same time, some of the above studies show that:
  • Students’ business ideas are more software and service oriented, than product and manufacturing.
  • Student’s start-ups are much easier to establish when there is a systematic guidance in creativity and idea generation.
  • Advertisement of good local practices and successful stories foster entrepreneurship
  • Incubators twinned with training and education, make the entrance easy to the interested students

This project is concrete response to this evidence. It aims to develop a co-creative and supportive environment - iDEA Lab which will encourage students’ entrepreneurial intent and at the same time support open innovation approach in collaboration between companies and universities. The core idea is to provoke (stimulate, motivate) students and young researchers to actively use their intellectual potential to generate innovative ideas. Through iDEA lab they will get the opportunity to develop and commercialize these ideas by two routes – entrepreneurial (pursuing their own creative ideas) or collaborative (working on problems submitted by existing companies). During this process student teams will have the opportunity to be mentored, guided and advised by company representatives and university staff.

Source: iDEAlab

Project type
  • Other
Geographical focus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary
  • General
December 2013 - May 2017

Entry created by Anna Sirocco on August 3, 2016
Modified on August 3, 2016