Theme(s): Practices and principles (individualisation of studies)
The goal of the Business Club (BC) business accelerator is to accelerate the higher education studies and make them more meaningful for the students. The idea is that by acting as an entrepreneur the students can acquire new competences not taught in higher education studies.
On one hand, this is based on the need to recognise the value of entrepreneurship and to grant students ECTS credits for working as an entrepreneur. On the other hand, this is a way to implement a flexible and multidisciplinary work-based curriculum in accordance with innovation pedagogy.
BC offers activities for all students at Turku University of Applied Science. Students can participate in the activities at any stage of their studies. Students can apply to the BC, if they have a business or wish to set up one.
Business mentors support students in matters related to developing a company along with studies. The mentoring process starts with a student contacting the business mentor, who gives him an advance assignment in which the student is to write about himself and his company. Then, at the first meeting between the student and the mentor, the objectives and wishes are identified, and a mentoring plan is drawn up.
A digital learning platform is used for supporting the mentoring discussions, and the activities are documented in the platform. In the mentoring process, the EntreComp framework for entrepreneurship competence is applied. The process also includes, for example, refining a business plan, doing product development, taking measure to increase the effectiveness of, and conducting competitor analysis. Mentoring process usually takes about a year.
In the BC, the student can, for example, participate in activities organised by the students-led entrepreneurship societies (ES) or Junior Achievement (JA). They can also take part in various events and projects, as well as courses organised by the BC, such as Jatkajakoulu (business succession training). The students undergoing mentoring can also act as business agents in their university. Their task is to visit events organised on different university campuses to tell other students about the activities and the possibility of earning ECTS credit for entrepreneurship competence. Business agents also organise a variety of events by themselves (see Case 11 Student Activators and Business Agents).
Similar business accelerator activities take place in other higher education institutions, such as Tampere Universities (Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences) and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences SAMK (Enterprise Accelerator).
Process of recognising (prior) learning / accrediting learning demonstrated in some other manner
Competence is compared against the learning plan. Study credit can be earned through the BC (5–25 cr) as follows:
- By participating in courses offered by the business accelerator.
- By completing studies in the student’s personal study plan in connection with the student’s own business activities.
- By completing an internship and a thesis in connection with the student’s own business activities.
It is possible to complete a large part of the degree in connection with the student’s own business activities. Theoretical competence is demonstrated by comparing one’s own competence against, for example, entrepreneurship competencies (EntreComp) and literature. The idea is to accredit all entrepreneurial and business activities as learning demonstrated in some other manner.
Pass/Fail: Competence and learning are compared against the student’s own learning objectives and the achieved results. Methods of assessment include evaluation conducted by the mentor, self-assessment and peer reviews.
- Business Club at the Turku University of Applied Sciences: http://www.turkuamk.fi/fi/tyoelamapalvelut/palvelut/businessclub/ (page in Finnish)
- EntreComp framework: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/entrecomp