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SDUUP | Newsletter April 2021

The Great Example - Technology Entrepreneurship

Søren Jensen from the Faculty of Engineering and Jannek Sol- gaard from SDU RIO have developed the course Technology Entrepreneurship, which puts focus on giving students theoretical and practical experience with entrepreneurship through a project-oriented course, where they work with developing their own startup.

The development of the course put focus on the students

Søren and Jannek explain that the development of the course has been focused on how to support the students’ learning in the best way possible. They have solved this issue by splitting the lessons between them and letting the students work both academically with entrepreneurship in Søren’s part of the course and practically in Jannek’s part.

Jannek: For both me and Søren, one of the most important things is to take the student’s academic knowledge and put it to use in a practical, entrepreneurial and commercial setting. When Søren and I developed this course, it thus focused on how the students could develop a technological startup, which they would actually be able to launch in real life.

Søren: And as a part of the course development, we used the Sustainable Development Goals as inspiration for the students’ ideas. The course first and foremost supports the students’ entrepreneurship learning through Jannek, as the students are required to use their knowledge in a practical setting.

The students are quickly thrown into the practical part of the course

In Jannek’s part of the course, the students are introduced to entrepreneurship through SDU Entrepreneurship Labs’ programme called Pre-Launch, which has been changed slightly to fit the description and learning goals of the course. Throughout the course, the students get to work on their ideas and present them at the end of the course.

Jannek: One of the most important tools in supporting Søren’s course is the Lean Startup Philosophy, the goal of which is to get as far as you can in your startup development with the least possible amount of resources. Because of this, we throw the students into doing market analysis, user tests and product mockups right away, so they can actually talk to their potential customers. We finish off the project-oriented course with a Business Panel, where the students are supposed to pitch their idea, what they have learned and what the future of their project looks like. Out of the 14 project teams we had the last time we ran the course, as many as half of them chose to continue working on their startups through SDU Entrepreneurship Labs.

Project-oriented course engages the students

Søren explains that one of the great strengths of the course is the project-oriented work, where students become responsible for their own startup business. This engages the students and also gives them something to work on after they have completed the course.

Søren: One of our best teaching tools is that the students work on a startup project which is entirely their own. Apart from the project work, we use a structure where the students are giving theoretical lectures, which they get to use in practice with Jannek. And this is a perfect transition, where the students go straight from the classroom to SDU Entrepreneurship Labs and hopefully from there into the real world with their startup projects. In addition, we have also used external lecturers such as former students, who explain how they have worked with their own startups – this has gotten great feedback from the students, who have also requested more of those lectures.

Great cooperation

Both Søren and Jannek have enjoyed their cooperation – and the students have also gained a lot form the combination of practical and theoretical teaching.

Søren: I have found our cooperation great because the students were taught the practical part of starting your own business through Jannek’s workshops. And my students agree – as they rated the practical teaching higher than the theoretical lectures in the course evaluation.

Jannek: As I understand it, the students have found the practical work with us great, because they got a break from reading and lectures and because we managed to exemplify their academic knowledge in concrete examples, through which they could identify their own strengths and weaknesses. In my view, the magic happens for the students in the iterative process between theory and practical use.

SDU Entrepreneurship Labs supports all faculties

Jannek: Our message to the teachers at the faculties is that we are here to support you. We provide many different services – from in-depth project-oriented courses integrated in teaching like in this case, but it can also be in the form of guest lectures, as we provide lectures on tools and resources for entrepreneurship. So, if you think it might be interesting to learn more about the possibilities of cooperating with us, you are welcome to send me an e-mail.

About the Teacher

Søren Jensen teaches at the Faculty of Engineering and has been in charge of the PDI-programme (Product Development & Innovation) at SDU, through which he has set up the course Technology Entrepreneurship

About Jannek

Jannek Solgaard, is a Business Developer at SDU Entrepreneurship Labs, which is a part of SDU RIO. Jannek also works as a project manager at Startup in Practice, which is a project-oriented course in your own or others' startup-business. Contact Jannek below.

Contact Jannek

Editing was completed: 13.04.2021