Learning entrepreneurship by being an entrepreneur

Since the very beginning, NTNU School of Entrepreneurship has educated tomorrow’s leaders. This year they celebrate its 15th anniversary.

By Jenny Westrum-Rein

“We always say that NTNU should be a university that is hard to get admitted to. NTNU School of Entrepreneurship (NSE) is hard – and we are proud of that”, says Toril Hernes, Pro-Rector for Innovation in her opening speech. The Pro-Rector was one of many that came to the 15-year anniversary to celebrate NSE. Both employees, students and alumni spent their weekend at FRAM to participate in the celebration.

Since the very beginning back in 2003, NSE has educated tomorrow’s leaders in business development. NSE has proved to educate people who influence all types of businesses, and alumni work in startups as well as large corporations. Friday 21st of September the red carpet got rolled out, and it was time for celebration. A total of 195 people attended the anniversary.

More influence

“To celebrate 15 years of NTNU School of Entrepreneurship means that we have gotten more influence and effect through the approximately 350 candidates we’ve educated. The alumni association (ESAF) is an important arena for knowledge”, tells Øystein Widding. He’s a professor and one of the founders at NTNU School of Entrepreneurship.

“We have also shown that this is an important and sustainable education. It is amazing that so many people came here to celebrate NTNU School of Entrepreneurship, and to share how you could be entrepreneurial in different contexts”.

Widding tells us that they have worked with entrepreneurship as a field of expertise at Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management (IØT) for several decades. What is so special with NSE, you might ask? Widding explains that NTNU School of Entrepreneurship represents an excellent pedagogical concept, where you teach a tremendous amount during a short period of time through combining theory and practice. “The students learn about entrepreneurship by being an entrepreneur”, he says. That means that the students have worked with real projects and fellow entrepreneurs. A lot of the activities at the education have been practice-oriented.

Roger Sørheim and Øystein Widding, professors and founders of the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship.

15 years of entrepreneurship

“After a while, the students requested more activities, and the faculty responded. In 2011 and 2012 we created a group who researched other entrepreneurial educations”, Widding tells us.

There were also several trips to different contractor schools, including Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship. “Based on best practice, and what our environment was good at, we turned together a professionalism in a two year long masters program”, Widding says.

The first students were welcomed in 2003. Until 2011, they only accepted civil engineer students. From 2011 they accepted science students. In 2012, NSE could welcome students with social science backgrounds.

What does it mean for NTNU to have the School of Entrepreneurship?

“It means that you have an environment that dares to challenge an established mindset. You learn to learn from others knowledge, which means that you have to learn to share your own knowledge as well”.