The main objective of the project is to spread the entrepreneurial culture among young people and to develop entrepreneurship behaviours through the activation of practical experience of learning.
The project aims also to:
– contribute to the cooperation between the academic and the business world through the definition of experimental interventions directed to support integrated training courses for students of secondary schools aimed at promoting entrepreneurship, even by comparison with other national and European schools:
– to promote the business culture for young people and to experiment innovative and practical learning methodologies, training courses and seminars;
– to develop intercultural skills regarding the creation of networks at regional, national and international level through study visits aimed at the sharing of innovative ideas
To achieve these aims, the project involves students of high school student from the fourth year to participate on business simulationcompetitions. The students, divided into teams, follow a targeted training, simulate a business plan and create a business idea conceived by themselves. At the end of that training path, partly conducted with non-formal education activities and partly online, the winning teams of each school participate at an international contest for the selection and awarding of the best business plan and the best idea.
The initiative successfully contributes to the necessary cooperation between the academic and business world.
In fact, in addition to the “learning-by-doing” methodology, adopted to draft the business plan carried out by the students with the support of external consultants, several “real” entrepreneurs have visited the students in their classroom to give them precious advices on the empowerment of their business idea, and, at the same time, have “opened” their companies to the students with visits and work-based learning activities.
What is more, ‘A Business School’ has not only consolidated a good practice for those teachers who wish to integrate elements of entrepreneurial education within their standard training paths, but it has also contributed to provide some of the participating students with those necessary tools and competencies for investing on their ideas and transform them in real business, such as Paper Plane (http://paperplaneproduction.weebly.com/) a marketing and communication agency that has recently constituted itself as a real company.
The ‘A Business School’ project (At school of business) can be considered one of the best practices in Italy for the promotion of the entrepreneurial culture among high-school and VET students, promoted by the Umbria Region Public Research Agency, with the European Social Found support. This contest-based, a business simulation project has involved,during the last three years, more than 36 schools in all the Umbria Region, with the active participation of over 650 students.
Area of intervention
– Country: Italy
– City/region (name, population, etc.): Umbria Region, 1.000.000 inh.
– Name: Associazione Centro Studi Città di Foligno
– Type: Non-profit association
Type of intervention
Regional/National Policy, Other
Other type of intervention
Description of the target group
The three years project has involved 36 schools of the Umbrian school system and 650 students, attending the fourth year of secondary school.
How were the members of the group selected?
The Umbria’s Agency Research has predisposed a PUBLIC NOTICE FOR THE SELECTION OF UMBRIA’S HIGHER SCHOOL INSTITUTES INVOLVED IN TRAINING ACTIVITIES AIMED AT PROMOTING AND SUPPORTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE SCHOOL’S WORLD.
It is a course-based role-playing game in which students from the secondary high schools play the entrepreneur’s roles and, with the technical and organizational support of an experts network, a business plan starting from its own business idea. The students, divided into teams, draft a real business plan and confronting during a competition, in which the best business plans are awarded.
Specifically, the teams proceed in drafting their business plan based on the following track:
– Business idea
– Name and Logo
– Choosing the type of company
– Administrative procedures
– Market research
– Competitor Analysis
– Trade agreements
– Market strategies
– Estimated budget
– Financial Needs
The laboratory activities allow the studentsto “learn by doing”, working in groups, and face multiple aspects that comply to the entrepreneurial culture. The path promoted by the Umbria Research Agency aims to enhance many of the skills considered essential to develop and innovate the teaching contents and traditional learning processes of the school system, and so facilitate the inclusion of student in the workplace, including: the power of choice and decision-making, creativity and innovation, the ability to take risks, to achieve goals, to be able to work in a team, to communicate effectively and relate to the external environment, confront students in other European countries in order to know and understand different economic, cultural and educational systems.
The students business plan must overcome various levels of judgment: the regional semi-finals, where a first skimming of ideas are selected, and the regional final. For the better ranked teams the competition continues by participating at a national scale. The winner entrepreneurial project does not stop here, so it competes with European teams business as part of the European Business Game (EBG).
The project “A business school” helps to activate a number of skills, attitudes and personal qualities, we might as well list:
- ability to work in groups;
- ability to problem solving;
- taking risks, and ability to address these risks;
- effective communication skills; ability to speak in public and to use presentation techniques
- critical thinking;
- sense of initiative;
- taking responsibility;
- time management, and deadlines;
- setting targets;
- negotiating skills;
- use of information and communication technologies (ICT);
- analysis and planning of activities;
- stress management
- ability to improve their own learning and performance.
Moreover, while drawing their business plan the students acquire and / or develop many aspects relating to the creation, management and development of a company, including:
- understanding of the enterprise and wealth creation;
- basic knowledge of economics;
- experience of the main functions within the enterprise;
- ability to carry out a market study;
- organization and management;
- human resource management;
- basic financial knowledge;
- product/service advertisement.
The project also contributes to activate the co-operation between the school and the business system: entrepreneurs come into the classes to provide advice and invite students to visit their companies. Through that way the students touch the world of work.
It was also developed a Peer Education process, involving some students who had participated in the project. The chosen students were involved from the beginning of the activity, the presentation and dissemination seminars of good practices.As a former participant, some peer educators have made two videos for their peers in which they offer valuable tips to draw up a winning business plan and to be able to communicate it in the best way possible.
The students have made use of a web platform:
Consultants and external experts for developing the business plan; entrepreneurs; expert in evaluation and monitoring; web design; referents professors.
European Social Fund (ESF) under the Regional Operational Programme (ROP) Umbria ESF “Regional Competitiveness and Employment ‘2007-2013
– Ecipa Umbria (project coordinator)
The organization and execution of the project have been entrusted to a temporary consortium from theUmbria Research Agency (AUR) made up of:
– Ecipa Umbria ( coordinator)
– Ecipar Ravenna
– Centro Studi della Città di Foligno (regionalcoordination)
The RT components have intervened in one or more activities performance planned according to their peculiarities.
Cna Umbria, Umbria Regional Education Office, business and privileged witnesses from the local production system took an active part in the design process.
Also regional and municipal departments of education have supported the initiatives, recognizing the validity.
The fruitful interaction between all the actors led to the emergence of a real “Umbrian model” for the entrepreneurship culture in the schools. A flexible model that can be adapted to the schools’ needs, which has been refined over the course of the three editions, managing to achieve a high degree of effectiveness and efficiency from an organizational, executive and results points of views.
The business plan drawn up by the students turn out to be 144.
Moreover, there is a number of videos with English subtitles:
– Presentation of the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc-x7vF0-dw
– Business ideas realized by some of the students involved in the project:
— Bioenergy Reed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9kdmNns2Uw
— Rosso Zafferano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hr1J-qaqnM
— Il Setticlavio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPinzz5HnGY
— Mix’n Joy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFcWAb6Gi0I
– Interview to students; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBtVFblO4NE
Evaluation and swot analysis
The program focuses on teamwork and cooperation attitudes among students. The project “A business school” helps to activate and give space to a number of skills, attitudes and personal qualities.
The teacher and students can count on support and advice for the duration of the program.
Students benefit from a facilitator assistance, but enjoy all the freedom they need to develop their own ideas.
The tutors and the business world consultants are involved in the implementation of the program and meetings are held outside of the school (cooperation between the school and the business system).
The project enjoys the support from the local community: the school opens! Students have therefore the opportunity to confront the world outside the school through an interaction with companies and professionals.
The professionals employed are varied and the necessary budget requires significant investments, at least initially.
The program is flexible, applicable in a range of contexts and easy to integrate into school activities, both in class and as extra-curricular activities. The methodology used in the project represents a great initiative to the school renewal (“a different way of doing school?”), which was affected by the lack of a much-needed interaction with businesses, and allows the students to understand the underlying dynamics of the socio-economic phenomena.
If the project is not shared and supported by all the teachers the results may be less than of which desired. Some professors do not have an “entrepreneurial mind-set” that requires new and different methods of work with the students.
Some schools that have benefited from this intervention have decided to repeat the path independently. The results obtained, satisfaction and interest shown by the students in the performance of the proposed activities, convinced the teachers to include the “A business school” model in the traditional teaching activities.
Impact and exploitation of the results
As mentioned earlier, 36 schools from the Umbria Regional system schools have benefited from such activity promoted by the ‘AUR’. A number of 650 students were directly involved. The teachers who worked with the children are about 20.
The three years “A business school” project has allowed to create a real model to diffuse the entrepreneurial culture in schools. On several occasions it has been taken as an example for other projects. The experience has been adapted and offered to students in primary school, and getting very good results (“B-KIDS” – European project Erasmus + KA2). Based on what has been achieved in Umbria transnational interventions have been promoted (“Transnational Business Groups – TBG”). The students and professors from many countries came to Italy to get to know the project “A business school.”
Dissemination of results and public feedback
Numerous seminars were organized. A specific publication was made for the project:
For the dissemination of the results: