New Momentum Logo

Student Entrepreneurs, 30 years ago and now

Funny how life comes around and goes around. Momentum together with Letterkenny Institute of Technology have just kicked off a major new EU project called I-Step, the International Student Entrepreneurship Programme. Working with partners in The Netherlands, Lithuania and the UK, the project is focused on internationalising entrepreneurship education throughout the EU. I-Step does this by helping colleges add an international component to their programmes helping students to become more aware of international opportunities, be more creative and more entrepreneurial.

And then I found this photo and was reminded that 30 years ago, as part of an NCBSII class in Sligo RTC, myself and Peter Nagle got through to the Top 10 (or maybe 20 I can’t remember) Student Enterprise Awards. I still have our handwritten application. Struck now that looking at the fine bunch of men that female entrepreneurship also struggled 30 years ago! In writing the press release for I-Step, I reflected on the teaching of entrepreneurship. Pat Scanlon was our lecturer at the time and I have to say I loved that business planning process (and still getting a buzz from it all these decades later). So, to that press release …..

‘In recent years, colleges in Ireland have made impressive progress teaching entrepreneurship. The quality of the programmes is increasing and more entrepreneurship programmes include active learning where students set up their businesses as part of the curriculum. However, these programmes rarely have an internationalisation element. We were motivated to join this project as we feel the next phase of export focused entrepreneurs should have access to internationalism while in education. Wouldn’t it be great if students that work on entrepreneurship subjects, were given the opportunity to work with foreign students and explore possibilities for internationalisation? This is exactly what the I-STEP project plans to do. Momentum is responsible for developing a hands-on and practical applicable manual describing step-by-step how to implement an international oriented entrepreneurship programme in a college or VET school. We have so much to learn from a European context and are delighted to be involved’.

Funded by the European Union under their Erasmus+ programme, Momentum and the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, students will learn how international business works, practice their language skills, learn about culture, exports etc.. The I-STEP programme will offer several different pathways, from working with an adviser in the export market to actually setting up an international company with students from another country. For teachers I-STEP will develop the tools they need in and outside the class room to support the students. This includes setting up an online cooperation platform for the students and teachers to work with their counterparts in other countries.

I have a feeling this is a project I am joining to particularly enjoy.

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