Pop-up stores – a practical approach to university studies

The 24-28 October, 8 different student companies popped up in the common area of Nord University of Bodø. Anyone passing had the chance to purchase reflex totebags, winter kits, T-shirts, caps, bracelets, and iced coffee. The pop-up store founders were students of the new course Entrepreneurship and Value Creation, developed by Sølvi Solvoll, Trine Åsheim Bernhardsen and Ingrid Berg Sivertsen.

By Lene Øy

High spirits among the students participating, here pictured in front of their pop-up stores.

In the course Entrepreneurship and Value Creation at Nord University in Bodø, students get a practical approach to university studies. As part of the course the students have been working in groups to create student companies.

Madeleine Lillegård, one of the students, says: “It has been of great value to be part of this experience, because I want to start my own company one day. This gave us the opportunity to learn more about how things work, for example registration in Brønnøysundregisteret. It was much more exciting than just being told theoretically how to do things.”

Collaboration with Ungt Entreprenørskap

This event has been a collaboration with Ungt Entreprenørskap Nordland (Young Entrepreneurship) who work to increase creativity, creative joy and confidence among youth.

Hedda Eldøen, CEO of Ungt Entreprenørskap, says: “It’s fantastic to see the students on stand today. They have developed ideas in such short time, and are now here with finished products that they can sell. Three weeks ago, when we last met them, they were still in the idea development phase. It is also impressive to see how they use their own network during the product development phase.”

Hedda Eldøen and Nora Kristensen from Ungt Entreprenørskap were pleased with the result of the project.

Nora Kristensen, adviser at Ungt Entreprenørskap Nordland, says that: “It is very good to see that the students are acquiring entrepreneurial skills through these student companies. Ungt Entreprenørskap and many others believe that these are very important skills that students need, regardless of whether they choose to start something themselves or are employed in an existing company. We hear from the students that they have encountered challenges during the process and that they have had to be creative to come up with new solutions.”

The course Entrepreneurship and Value Creation

Sølvi Solvoll has, together with Trine Åsheim Bernhardsen and Ingrid Berg Sivertsen, developed the course Entrepreneurship and Value Creation. Trine is a PhD candidate, and will study the teams as part of her research. The student feedback was unite: This was a challenging, but fun learning experience.

The course, which connects theory and practice includes in total 39 students from Bachelor in Business Administration, International Marketing and 9 international students on exchange. The course is divided in two parts. Initially, the students get an introduction to the theory behind entrepreneurship, with a lot of activities and games as learning strategies. Secondly, they are divided into teams with a challenge to come up with a business idea that they would test as a student company. “Today, we can see all the 8 groups being here and they have solved their task exceptionally. To see them getting their first sales done is a big victory, and makes me very proud on behalf of the students”, a touched Sølvi says. “This was a great way to integrate international and Norwegian students”, Trine says – also clearly proud of the achievements of the students.

Sølvi Solvoll (in the middle) with Lars Morten Lundbakk (left) from DNB and Ulrikke Kristensen (right) from DNB.

“The different workshops and tasks through this semester have trained the students on idea generation, constructing a concept, presentation, marketing, and economics. This has been useful knowledge during these last weeks of completing their projects.”

Ingrid Berg Sivertsen, Project Manager at Engage, Nord University

Sølvi also points out that this is a new course, with many new elements to be tested. They have faced many challenges, but these challenges give them experience to further develop the course. This is also the main reason making a student company is a mandatory activity. To give the students the experience they need to establish their own companies one day. “We hope and believe that the students now are better equipped to see new business ideas and create new values.”