Norwegian forum for Entrepreneurship Education

In October 2019, Engage hosted the first Norwegian forum of Entrepreneurship Education. These two days were targeted to both creating a network, but also to inspire and provide new tools for educators to use in their classrooms.

By Rebecca Amalie Skogø

Forty educators from ten institutions gathered for two days of seminars, workshops, professional growth, and expanding their networks within the field. The main goal for both days was for educators to gain inspiration, develop themselves as educators, and to exchange experiences. 

Invited to these workshops were Professor Candida Brush and Professor Heidi Neck from Babson College. Professor Brush and Professor Neck is known for their work within entrepreneurial education and entrepreneurship. To mention a few of their merits, Professor Neck is the Academic Director of the Babson Academy, a unit that inspires changes in the way entrepreneurship is taught and learned, and Professor Brush has more than 160 publications, included 13 books, on the topic.   

Their seminars were divided into three sections and covered everything from how including practices of play, creation, experimentation, empathy, and reflection in the classroom can help develop the entrepreneurial mindsets, to how more action-based exercises and projects can improve the critical thinking skills of students, and lastly on how educators can design new exercises for students to practice entrepreneurship. The reason behind these topics? Heidi Neck explains that it’s important that the students leave the classroom thinking and acting more entrepreneurial than when they entered.

“I think when we think about the future of entrepreneurship education, it’s not about what we want – I think it’s about “what do we need?”. And I think, as you can even see in Norway, entrepreneurship outside the business schools is becoming even more important. And we need to figure out ways to collaborate, to integrate, to blend more, and show that entrepreneurship education and the life skill that results from entrepreneurship education is a benefit to all of society.”

Heidi Neck, Jeffry A. Timmons Professor of Entrepreneurship
Heidi Neck and Candida Brush illustrating how educators can integrate creative play and games as part of teaching entrepreneurial mindset
Heidi Neck and Candida Brush illustrating how educators can integrate creative play and games as part of teaching entrepreneurial mindset. Photo: Jørgen Flint

Creating a community 

The workshops appeared to have an immediate effect. Eirik Gjelsvik Medbø, one of the organizers, together with Elisabeth Alvestad from Nord University, received positive feedback from the participants. They said that the seminars were incredibly valuable and kickstarted the conversation on how entrepreneurial education should be practiced and how the network can help each other to become better educators. Not only this, but also how stakeholders and educators can work closer together, cooperate, and take advantage of the knowledge within this small network. 

“One of Engages goals was to initiate a network for entrepreneurship teachers in Norway. The network we’re building with this years’ forum will make it easier not only to spread the research done at Engage but also to create better and broader research in Norway when we’re able to collaborate with others. Even before we ended this years’ forum, we saw a ripple effect where educators and institutions started looking for new connections and collaborations for the future.”

Eirik Gjelsvik Medbø, coordinator focus area Engage Educators and Innovation Manager at Engage.

To make sure the valuable unity and connections created wouldn’t be lost, Medbø and Alvestad created an online forum where everyone can share and spread information, ask for help and tips, and share events and research papers that might be relevant to someone else’s research or teaching. This initiative might come in handy, seeing that the forum will become an annual event with the next forum happening in Bergen October 2020! 

About the forum

  • Day 1 – Seminar about “Entrepreneurial Teaching” with Heidi Neck and Candida Brush from Babson College
  • Day 2 – Presentation of various educational initiatives, discussion of what entrepreneurship education in Norway needs, and the opportunities for further collaborations.
  • Participants from NTNU Trondheim and Ålesund, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), University of South-Eastern Norway (USN), University of Agder (UiA), Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Nord University, Volda University College (HVO), University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), University of Bergen (UiB), and Kristiania University College.
  • The host of the 2020 Norwegian forum for Entrepreneurship Education will be Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, together with NHH and UiB, in Bergen.