Entrepreneurs build the future instead of predicting it

Get behind the scenes with the teachers behind this year’s courses at Aalto University Summer School. Lidia Borisova, Head of Education, Aalto Ventures Program and Simo Lahdenne, university teacher, dig deeper into their course Entrepreneurial Path. According to them, sustainable entrepreneurship has never been as important as it is now, during the time of complete unpredictability that we are currently living in.
Picture of a three students discussing and smiling in front of a laptop at a white high table. Two students are sitting on bar stools and one is standing.

Why is entrepreneurship so important right now?

With entrepreneurship, we mean taking ownership of your work and being innovative and brave in the face of new challenges. It is characterised by the ability and willingness to continuously search for opportunities to create social and economic value, and the courage to take actions to pursue these opportunities under uncertainty. We are living now in a VUCA (Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world that became even more uncertain during the period of the pandemic. No one can predict for sure what the world will be like even in 6 months. 

Meanwhile, the current world situation creates a new set of opportunities: new businesses emerge while more traditional ones have to redesign themselves to stay alive, the working culture is changing everywhere, and trends like urbanisation or globalisation are turning upside down. In turbulent world situations, entrepreneurial skills became as important as never.

Can anyone benefit from exploring and developing their entrepreneurial mindset? Are entrepreneurial skills required to distinguish yourself in today’s working environment?

Entrepreneurial capabilities and an entrepreneurial mindset are beneficial and needed in all organisations. The course aims not to push students to start their own business right away but rather to equip them with an entrepreneurial toolkit they could use in any life situation. Aalto University focuses on supporting students in building and finding their entrepreneurial career paths.

Picture of Lidia Borisova She is wearing a white shirt and red scarf and is smiling towards the camera.
Lidia Borisova, Head of Education at Aalto Ventures Program

What does sustainable entrepreneurship mean?

At Aalto University we teach sustainability through entrepreneurship. The Aalto Venture Program’s mission and vision are to help the Aalto Community to build like an entrepreneur and to emphasise sustainability through entrepreneurship.

There is a negative impact on the global scale in creating one more mass-consumption product if that product does not bring any social or economic value and only leads to substantial profit for the business owners. We will help students acquire the mindset that everything you create should be sustainable, starting from oneself and moving onto the businesses and the environment. With a shaking world situation, it is a perfect moment to question the conventional ways of doing things and come up with new disruptive and impactful solutions to create a better future.

With a shaking world situation, it's a perfect time to question the conventional ways of doing things and come up with disruptive solutions.

Lidia Borisova, Head of Eduaction at Aalto Ventures Program and responsible teacher for the course Entrepreneurial Path

How will students use their learnings in practice in their careers and studies? What are some of the key learning outcomes of this course?

Everyone is responsible for their personal well-being to perform at their full potential in any organisation. After the course, students will get to know themselves and their strengths even better, get different tips and practices for setting goals, time management and personal well-being. Knowing yourself is the starting point for understanding others, whether it is your teammates or your customers. These skills became especially crucial in current online study and work settings.

The solo player cannot do much. Another course learning outcome is the ability to reflect yourself as a leader and as a team member. Remote teams are the reality of the current business environment. Students will work a lot in diverse and remote teams providing each other feedback on their projects and reflecting in discussions on the study journey.

The students will learn useful entrepreneurial skill sets that will help them have confidence in the face of ambiguity, resilience when failures happen, and the ability to be flexible for capturing opportunities. These are skills that are beneficial immediately in their studies and careers.  We aim to show students that any challenging situation could bring learning.

Some of the key learning outcomes of the course are:

·           Build a habit of identifying and validating your assumptions.

·           Creativity, ideation, questioning current conventions.

·           To identify sustainable business opportunities

·           To pitch business ideas and ventures

·           To explore thinking out of the box and being creative and innovative

Picture of Simo Lahdenne in a darkgreen hoodie towards an orange background. He has crossed arms and is looking into the camera.
Simo Lähdenne, University Teacher at Aalto Ventures Program

What are the structure and format of the course?

The contact or online teaching time is dedicated, for the most part, to actually doing rather than lecturing. Students have an active role in sharing their projects, outcomes, learnings, insights, teamwork, and leadership experiences. This is supported by flipped classroom format for individual and groups studies outside synchronous online sessions. Contact sessions with different teachers and speakers would bring new knowledge and different perspectives. Discussions and group reflections help to proceed with the information and experience gathered.

However, every student is different, and every learning path is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all. The purpose is to enable the students to grow as persons and find out their life aspirations.

The course structure includes synchronous online sessions in the afternoons with sufficient breaks and individual or group work during the day to respect different time zones.

For whom would you recommend the course Entrepreneurial Path?

To anyone who wants to get a starting package to dive deeper into entrepreneurship, to develop ‘soft’ skills that are so valuable to business and society today, and to anyone who wants to make a transition from “I want” to “I can” and “I will” in a desirable entrepreneurial endeavour. The course's only requirements are a BA degree and excellent English skills.

Entrepreneurial Path - Intensive online course 2-13 August 2021

Apply now!
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Interested in hearing more about this course and Aalto University Summer School? Read more and apply no later than June 30th 2021!

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