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Abstract

Engineering students are educated to become problem solvers. We teach them the art of analysis and synthesis. During their time at the university they acquire abilities for analyzing problems by breaking them down into smaller problems, they identify and implement solutions and then synthesize them. In most countries this is not enough if they want to become successful entrepreneurs and innovators. Higher engineering education, however, should be the ideal environment for nesting highly advanced technological and scientific entrepreneurship. Little success has been reported of engineer entrepreneurs coming right after school, mainly because of relatively low motivation amongst students and teachers but also due to social, cultural and legal barriers.

In today's world, enterprise sustainability and employability are uncertain, thus the task of successfully creating a new enterprise requires the best knowledge, application of good practices and the mastery of the most advanced methodologies in enterprise management and development. It becomes essential to develop abilities and skills and to deliver tools, adequate to the necessities of these entrepreneurs. Better prepared engineering graduates with appropriate training are more eager to start their own business, which can spur economic development. Training, however, should be more than teaching courses; hands on prototype development and support via simulation has proved effective in exposing students to the entrepreneurial world and in enhancing skills and knowledge.

In this paper we present tools we have developed and practices we have implemented to motivate our engineering students to become innovators, to develop their ideas and to establish their own businesses. The first tool is the Nursery of Ideas, which enables students who have an innovative idea to proceed, under guidance from mentors to utilize laboratory equipment of the University, and to build a prototype, which can prove or disprove their idea. Formal support is given to the student in terms of monetary assistance for building their prototype and with mentoring through the whole process. The second tool is the utilization of a virtual environment, which integrates four training platforms that altogether aim toward providing entrepreneurship training based on business simulation.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qproc.2014.wcee2013.13
2014-07-01
2019-08-20
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References

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  • Received: 18 Jan 2014
  • Accepted: 30 Apr 2014
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