By Pernille Berg Niels Brock Business College, Copenhagen, Denmark
“In 2015 Denmark has to be among the countries with the highest amount of entrepreneurs ... The global development means that we will have to compete in our ability to create new and more innovative solutions adding commercial value at an increasing pace. Danish companies and public institutions have to be among the most innovative worldwide.” (Government manifesto – 2007)
Architects, entrepreneurs and builders are working round the clock to transform a building into a creative, innovative educational environment, which will enthuse, encourage and enhance young students’ entrepreneurial ambitions. The building is approximately 50,000 square feet and is located in the midst of Copenhagen, Denmark.
In August, Niels Brock’s new building will be ready to receive students and incubating businesses. The E-House, as it is called, is designed and conceptualized to host students who want to start their own business and students studying entrepreneurship at secondary and third level at Niels Brock.
The E-House is designed to be the hub of entrepreneurial activities and will thus contain an incubator, which will house students incubating activities and business incubating activities. Furthermore, the hub will contain international networks; students will be introduced to students from across the world, be it Europe, America, Africa or Asia. Networks focusing on entrepreneurship are active participants in the E-House and new networks will certainly emanate from the E-House.
By establishing the E-House, Niels Brock is playing an active role in ensuring the sustainable growth of future entrepreneurs as advocated by the government. Denmark aims at increasing the ratio of entrepreneurs in Denmark and has already launched a plethora of initiatives in the attempt of ensuring this goal. These initiatives entail educational reforms at primary, secondary and third level, which aim at introducing topics such as creativity, innovation, intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship in every program. However, this is easier said than done, and a traditional learning environment and educational program experience challenges in trying to implement these initiatives.
By creating a learning environment whose focal point is entrepreneurship, Niels Brock wants to ensure that the learning environment facilitates the students’ learning within the disciplines of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The learning environment will facilitate and challenge the students to learn to ‘think outside the box’ and will enable the students to work with their business ideas while studying. Indeed the educational programs will adapt to the students’ business ideas.
Bricks and mortar do not an entrepreneur make, and the E-House will thus include many interesting activities to ensure that the students develop their entrepreneurial capabilities; international guests, events, competitions, students from other colleges, network and role models, mentors and guest speakers from businesses will create a learning environment that will facilitate and enhance the students’ entrepreneurial mindset and skill set.
The initiative is fortunately supported by regional funding and enables Niels Brock to establish a regional hub of entrepreneurial activities. The E-House is consequently already receiving a lot of attention and has opened its doors to business people who have expressed an interest in becoming role models for the students. Networks have been welcomed to participate in the hub of activities.
The E-House will host two conferences in the autumn of ’08. One conference will launch the hub of activities and comprise international guest speakers and other educational institutions interested in learning more about e’ship education and learning. Another conference will be an innovative conference putting the hot topic of talent management on the agenda.