University of Oulu, 2016

Entrepreneurship minor - Already a big success

The University of Oulu has for some time offered a 25 credit points’ minor study package on entrepreneurship, which has become a very successful offering across faculties, disciplines and degrees. 

The study package is based on the recognized need of students to understand entrepreneurial opportunities, develop entrepreneuring skills and learn how to act as an entrepreneur-minded person individually and in teams. The study package is open to all students and given in English by a cross-disciplinary group of internal and external teachers. Even more importantly, it brings the concepts and practices of entrepreneurship together – there is no escape from both of them.

The study package is offered through the Oulu Business School and has developed constantly during the past years. It has become associated with the university’s other entrepreneurship related actions, although preserved its firm economics and business foundation as a piece of university education. 

University of Oulu students sitting in a classroom listening to the Entrepreneuring for Sustainability lecture

The students are meant to learn entrepreneurship as a phenomenon, but also to be able make use of the related skills in practice.  An important issue in both is responsibility – how to create and practice businesses in a sustainable manner. In addition, identification of one’s own strengths and capabilities should become tied to group-based and organizational competences in dynamic contexts: how to grasp an opportunity is seen as central as how to run a business. These skills are vital in today’s dynamic working life.

The study package’s value is indicated by its growing number of participants, but especially by its coverage what comes to the students’ disciplines and study years. Altogether around 30 different study areas have been represented, from medicine and biochemistry to engineering, history and literature studies – and everything in between. The participants have ranged from first-year freshmen to advanced doctoral students. One half of them have been foreign and the other half native Finnish-speaking students. These characteristics are unique, even extraordinary within the university.

Hundreds of students have participated in the study package’s courses this far, also during the study year 2019-2020 that was affected by the Corona virus. According to an engineering student, ”after attending the entrepreneurship course, I find it easier to connect with companies and share my expertise”. A doctoral student pointed out on her behalf that “The really great thing about the course was the diversity of the students who came from different faculties. Their skills and knowledge completed one another.”

The study package has consisted of six modules, but has evolved not only content-wise, but also in other regards. In Winter 2020 an associated ”Boost to entrepreneurship” online course was offered to upper secondary school students for the first time, and the next rounds will follow. The idea is not only to extend entrepreneurship studies to upper secondary schools, but also to pave a road for subsequent university studies in more general terms. 

Based on the goal to combine rigor and relevance, the study package includes modules on entrepreneuring and business development, on how to support change through entrepreneurship and on how to build businesses through creativity and collaboration. Moreover, entrepreneurial assignments and exercising of entrepreneurship are included. An emerging corner of developments involves technology-based or more generally innovation-driven new businesses. 

One of the most popular study modules this far, given in collaboration with very well-recognized international and domestic experts, has been the one addressing creativity through arts in entrepreneurship. It illustrates well the fact that businesses do not concern only numbers.

Group photo of University of Oulu students in the entrepreneurship minor course Building business through creativity and collaboration.

Authors:
Sari Perätalo
Anne Keränen

More information:
Entrepreneurship minor 
Boost to entrepreneurship online course


 

Last updated: 10.9.2020