Training for future ICT entrepeneurs

| Michaela Nesvarova

The University of Twente is taking part in STARTIFY7, a Horizon2020 project from the European Commission aimed at training young future ICT entrepreneurs in Europe. UT´s Department of Business Administration is participating in this project alongside partners from Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Greece and Spain.

STARTIFY7 officially began in January 2015 and its main goal is to connect existing ICT enterprise training structures and create a stimulating environment for young ICT entrepreneurs. It plans to do so by organizing seven Summer Academies, one of which will take place at the UT.

Seven themed Summer Academies

Each one of the seven Summer Academies will be held in a different European city. The first three are taking place in summer 2015 and the remaining four are planned for the next year. Even though all of the academies will focus on ICT entrepreneurship, each one will have a different theme. This year students can participate in Sheffield Summer Academy in Digital Healthcare, Trento Summer Academy in Cyber Security or Nuremberg Summer Academy in Cyber-Physical-Systems and Internet of Things. The University of Twente will organize a summer school focused on ´Social and enterprise networks´ in 2016.

Bridge between high school and university

Who are these summer schools intended for? ´The goal is to form a bridge between a high school and a university. The project is aimed at students, who are at their final year of high school and at young bachelor students. It should serve as an easy transition into the academic world, ´explains Rainer Harms, UT´s coordinator for STARTIFY7.

Each Summer Academy will be able to accommodate 40 students. ´We expect to receive about 1000 applications each year, ´says Harms. ´We will select only the best students based on their creativity and entrepreneurial passion.´

Practical training in ICT entrepreneurship

During the summer schools, students will receive training that should help them in building their own ICT business. They will learn how to make a formal business plan, but also to use their skills and actually create a start-up company. After business ideas are developed, the best participants will be invited to ´boot camps´ to receive further support and start real companies.

During the summer schools, students will be divided into teams that combine various skills of their members. ´We aim at cultural diversity, we want to bring students out of their shells and make them cooperate. Team work usually results in better ideas, because most great products can´t be developed by only one person, ´ says Harms.

Attracting more international students

STARTIFY7 represents a great opportunity for students as it allows them to get a better insight into the field of ICT. Harms thinks: ´The project´s participants will be able to better realize what they want from a university, what they need to learn and what skills they want to develop.´

The overall initiative also relates to UT´s attempts to become more international. ´We hope it will attract more international students to Twente, ´says Harms. ´UT is in an excellent position to provide support and knowledge. We have a lot of experience in the field of ICT entrepreneurship. ´ STARTIFY7 project can surely help Twente to get even more innovative young entrepreneurs, who enrich the world with great ideas and inventions.