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Network of summer academies for the improvement of entrepreneurship in innovative sectors

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CREA (Network of summer academies for the improvement of entrepreneurship in innovative sectors)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2017-04-30

CREA is a network of European Summer Academies focusing on Entrepreneurship driven by ICT and Creativity. The partnership of European Universities, Incubators, Regional Development Agencies and Business Support initiatives makes the CREA Network unique in its kind, and gives to young innovators the opportunity to benefit from knowledge and experience gathered from all over Europe.
At the CREA Summer Academies and Business Contest, students will be part of an (early stage) start-up team and work on their business idea, combining knowledge and experience from creativity, business theory and technology. In CREA we turn ideas into great teams and great start-ups. To do so, we select talented students from varied backgrounds, and with a real interest in entrepreneurship. When students are selected as a participant, they will be provided with an all-around training that brings tem from the identification of market opportunities, to the conceptualization, planning, and start-up of a new venture.
To this end, they will join forces to form international start-up teams and work on their own or a team member’s innovative idea. Students will study theories and practices from Creativity, Technology and Entrepreneurship, demonstrating the value of design thinking, business modeling, innovation, customer validation and creative process. They will also get coaching on team skills and intercultural cooperation. With interesting classes from experienced professors, mentoring by our coaches and inspirational talks from entrepreneurs, creatives and tech start-ups, they learn how to pitch in front of a jury. The best teams compete in an international Business Contest.
"The CREA Network of Summer Academies and Business Idea Contest has been founded in 2015 and consists of 9 partners from 7 countries. The network aims to stimulate start-ups in Europe by combining a two-week intensive Summer Academy program, in which students from different backgrounds form a start-up team and build on their business idea, with a Business Idea Contest, in which the best teams from the Summer Academies compete and pitch in front of an international jury of investors and incubators.
During the first 2,5 years, the Consortium developed two editions of the CREA Summer Academies in Europe.
CREA fills the gap from ""having an idea of business"" to ""taking first steps to starting up"" with a specific focus: business idea driven by creativity and ICT. There are three main activities performed for each edition of CREA Summer Academy:
1- Thirteen Summer Academies in 7 Countries have been realized in 2015 and 2016. During the summer academy participants get an insight of what is needed to be an entrepreneur and to found a start-up. At the end of the two weeks program, a qualified jury selects the two best business ideas emerging from each national summer academy that will participate to the CREA International Business Idea Contest.
2- Mentoring and Prototyping. In the following months teams keep developing their ideas receiving support through online mentoring. With the help of experienced coaches, they prepare for the final pitches at the CREA Business Contest.
3- Two editions of the CREA International Business Idea Contest took place in Lisbon 2015 and Milan 2016. The best ideas selected from the Summer Academy participate to the CREA International Business Idea Contest and pitch their project in front of investors. Winning participants have the chance to be introduced to incubators all over Europe.
The common elements among which each partner has developed the local program are the following:
1-Practice-based approach: all theory should directly support the development of the business plan and put into practice through team work, mentoring and coaching;
2-Duration: Two-weeks course, 60 hours in total, 3 CTS (extracurricular for the diploma supplement);
3-Time: Taking place from June to September;
4- Structure: the first week focus on the design thinking and idea development and the second week focus on business modelling;
5- Mix of teaching method used: lectures, keynotes, workshops, team working sessions, mentoring / coaching, best practices.
After the Summer Academy: the two best teams from each national Summer Academies join the ICT Business Idea Contest, part of which is prototyping their project thanks to the Prototyping Bootcamp.
Facts and Figures:
964.100 students reached with the official CREA social media channels
902 applications collected in the F6S platform (students from 200 different universities)
13 summer academies in 7 Countries
303 students from 68 different nations
70 early stage business ideas developed
2 CREA International Business Ideas Contest (in Lisbon 2015 and in Milan 2016);
26 teams pitched in front of investors, experts and incubators during the CREA ICT Business Idea Contest;
6 winning teams have joined incubation programs or mentoring from incubators;
2 Start-ups created thanks to CREA and some other teams still continue to work on their business idea."
The CREA project has not simply been ‘another’ project for the CREA partners involved. From the onset, we set out to have the project kick-start a network that would be able to sustainably exist and deliver results also after the funded part of the project would end. Content wise, we set out to contribute to innovation in the field of entrepreneurship education as well as contribute to the learning paths and professional development of skilful young people, helping them to gain knowledge and experience in order to create impactful start-ups that can make a difference in the world. This is why, in the application phase, we decided to combine two calls for projects in one project that could give us the opportunity to do so. This is also why we designed the project in a way that it would become a learning path not only for our students but for ourselves as well. In order to gain real and working results, we designed a continuous learning cycle throughout the whole project, supported by desk research, in-depth research and comprehensive evaluations.
According to the main goal of CREA, the creation of a European wide system of Summer Academies for university and last year high school students has directly reached through:
- the realization of Summer Academies in 8 European cities in 7 countries (Newcastle, Ljubljana, Utrecht, Tallinn, Constance, Como, Syros Island and Ostuni), that means the real engagement of municipalities, local communities of citizens, companies and associations in a very concrete learning and knowledge transfer experience;
- the strong cooperation of 6 Universities (Politecnico di Milano, HKU, University of Aegean, Ljubljana University, University of Lake Constance, Northumbria University),
- the engagement and the cooperation with 8 Incubators in 6 countries (Tallinn Business Incubator, POLI Hub, Generator Startup Center, Incubator of the University of Ljubljana, Crosspring lab, Dutch Game Garden, Ekkinisi-Lab Business, Accelerator of the Federation of Greek Enterprises)
- the strong support of 2 Local Development Agencies (RRA LUR and bwcon)
However, if we consider the participants, CREA has indirectly involved 200 Universities. Several meetings in High Schools have been realized by ESN in 2015 and 2016: 6.000 students have been reached with a first overview on the entrepreneurship adventure.
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