By Erik Klevar and Stian Bongard, NTNU School of Entrepreneurship
We are Erik Klevar and Stian Bongard, two 2nd year students at the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship (NSE). In September we traveled together with three of our classmates and Engage to participate at this year’s Venture Creation Program (VCP) Forum. This year the VCP Forum was hosted by North Carolina State University (NCSU) in the city of Raleigh. The university was represented by professor Steve Barr and the participants this year came from Sweden, Norway and the UK. Last year, in 2018, Engage was the host and Trondheim the host city.
The VCP Forum itself lasted for a couple of days and this allowed the institutions to share their experiences and research since last time. Engages Dag Håkon Haneberg and Iselin Kristine Mauseth shared their findings from their PhD-research and invited to discussions. Professor Roger Sørheim shared his findings on how many startups from NSE that still existed in 2018 or their different fates like mergers, acquisitions or bankruptcies. During the stay the students were invited to sit at NCSUs partner, the co-working space and incubator HQ Raleigh. The university had its own co-working space within the co-working space. Professor Barr told us that they had classes here as well.
What struck us the most was how similar yet different the US is. We all expected the US to be “bigger” than Norway, which it was, but when we got told that we couldn’t walk where we wanted simply because there were no sidewalks we were very surprised. The public transport system was also very much not existing, a totally different experience than in European cities and Trondheim where buses, trams and subways are seen. This meant that we had to use Uber when we traveled from and to the hotel. The VCP forum was very interesting to listen in on and it was special to meet academics from other countries. We got to tell the Forum about our experiences at the School of Entrepreneurship which gave both our faculty and the other faculties some food for thought and new insight into what they can do to improve their programs even further.
Enjoying a pause in 35 degrees Celsius
Hennings workstation view at HQ Raleigh
The most exciting thing at the VCP Forum was to see the spectrum of venture creation programs from various universities and colleges around the world. Although the different academic programs have mainly the same goals, they have different ways of achieving this goal. One of the highlights of the conference was when the participants discussed challenges and shared best practices among themselves. These sessions led to good academic discussions, with views from both professors and students from the various institutions.
The students decided to stay for a couple of days after the VCP Forum and were lucky to be there at the same time as the annual Entrepreneurship festival at NCSU, Entrepalooza. This was a day created by students at NCSU and involved a pitching competition with more than $ 2.000, or approx. 18.500 NOK in prize money for two lucky startups. It was very interesting to see the different approaches to pitching and the cultural differences were very interesting to observe. All in all the visit to NCSU was very successful and gave us students a lot of perspective from the academic and American cultural side.
The gang (Henning Patricksson, Maria Fagerli, Jørgen Aase, Erik Klevar, Stian Bongard) at Entrepalooza.