In summer 2022, Tampere Universities’ entrepreneurship unit HUBS sent 10 students to develop their entrepreneurship skills in an international innovation programme– already for the fourth time. This year, the three-week programme was organised in the beautiful city of Porto in Portugal. The programme had more than 350 students from 14 different European and American higher education institutions. The selected students represented many different cultures and fields of TAMK and Tampere University, such as international business, engineering, health care and educational science.
The students from the different degree programmes and nationalities independently formed teams of three to five persons. The teams started to develop an already invented innovation or a completely new idea towards a scalable product or service. Students who had a personal idea built their team to develop and commercialise the idea. Students who did not have a personal idea were able to develop their entrepreneurship skills by complementing the teams with their marketing, communications, leadership or other special expertise. The teams had started being created already began in advance: students could tell about their ideas and expertise in an online environment and start team building in a communal manner. This part of the process also served as an excellent exercise in identification and communication of personal expertise.
During the three weeks, students went through the design process phases. Coaches supported the teams’ work and helped in solving potential challenges. The coaches of different substance fields also helped the teams in for example marketing and business modelling. On the last day of the programme, the teams pitched their ideas to investors.
Cultural differences to strengths
The intensive learning experience offered by EIA gives students the chance to experience what working in a multidisciplinary and multicultural team is like. High team diversity is a richness but it may give rise to some misunderstandings along the way. Finnish students usually have an enterprising and active approach and high work ethic, which stood out positively during the programme. American students brought their competitiveness and excellent performance skills to the teams. As the teams were in charge of assigning their members’ roles and tasks, students learnt in practice how team members’ competences and strengths are used in the best possible way to achieve joint goals.
”A learning experience which inspires to take the entrepreneurship path. We will continue working with the team after the programme. World-class speakers and coaches. A great learning experience on positive and challenging aspects of teamwork and the richness of bringing different competences and cultures together.”
It is extremely important to enable impactful and international learning experiences, such as EIA, as TAMK aims at becoming the most international higher education institution. The three weeks of intensive work with other students, working life partners, hard-core speakers and coaches were one of the most impactful and educational learning experiences for many students.
Kaisa Kokko, Coach, HUBS
Anna-Elina Pekonen, Coach, HUBS