SMARTUP – Bridging the gap between Academia and entrepreneurship
Funding Programme: Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance
Duration: January 2016 – December 2018
Description: SMARTUP is the result of a smart cooperation effort between higher education institutions, companies, the European Crowdfunding Network and business foundations from nine EU countries. The project aims at developing smart educational tools – a Master programme and a web portal – to support students and startuppers in the construction of their entrepreneurial spirit and mindset, and in the acquisition of the practical know how to go from business idea to market.
The main objective is to allow them to reach innovative methods and share knowledge and know-how – but also tricks and tips – about the challenging topic “how do I create a successful entrepreneurial venture?”, which includes how to cope with issues such as pitch, business plan, procedures & law, market, investors, funds, stress. These issues will be addressed by a transnational community animated by students, teachers, mentors, entrepreneurs and investors.
Another objective relates to the enhancement of universities’ ability to equip students, and especially would-be entrepreneurs, with competences and instruments that are adequate to address real-world challenges. To reach this objective, participating universities will develop innovative and smart teaching programmes – designed with inputs from the practical mindsets and experience of companies – to promote the growth of startuppers among students.
ECN’s role: ECN is coordinating the activities aimed to disseminate and communicate about the project’s actions and to integrate therein the crowdfunding dimension (i.e., support for the integration of a crowdfunding section in the serious game, advice for the set-up of a specific crowdfunding tool and specific advice and support for those people willing to launch a crowdfunding campaign).
In addition, ECN is providing advice and expertise for training sessions and workshops, by identifying early-stage investors (crowdfunding platforms managers, business angels and venture capitalists), and is responsible for organising national roundtables and the project’s final conference in Brussels aimed at raising awareness about SMARTUP’s results and outputs.
- Create a synergic innovative learning pathway – the Master programme that combines both traditional and new contents with new teaching tools, serious game, webinars, mobile apps, with a particular focus on mentoring and coaching through an integrated approach
- Stimulate the entrepreneurship potential of EU students and talented youth in general and guide them through a pragmatical learning path
- Realize one of the objectives of the Bologna Process through quality assurance and the accreditation (ECTS) of the pathway
- Build a platform where the contents of SMARTUP are publicly available (OER) and accessible to EU potential startuppers
- Verify, thanks to the participation of the European Crowdfunding Network, the market potential and the quality of the ideas of students/startuppers
- Build a European community of students, startuppers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and business angels where participants can share their experience