The Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL) at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, is working in collaboration with the Cambridge Innovation and Knowledge Centre (CIKC) and the Europe-wide COLAE network (Commercialising Organic and Large Area Electronics) to increase economic activity in the Organic and Large Area Electronics (OLAE) sector by training technologists in entrepreneurship skills. The Centre is running a specially adapted version of their highly successful Enterprisers programme from the 23rd to 26th September 2013 with a focus on accelerating the commercialisation of organic and large area electronics; promoting the growth of existing OLAE companies; and enabling the formation of new companies and ventures.
The Enterprisers programme (established by the Cambridge-MIT Institute and managed by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning since 2003) is fun, action-orientated, practical and based on experiential learning, i.e. learning by doing. It equips participants with the skills to spot enterprising opportunities, develop self-efficacy and apply more entrepreneurial ways of thinking to any project through a process of knowledge, activity and reflection.
Giovanni Nisato, business and technology development senior manager, CSEM SA, particpated in the Enterprisers programme in May 2013. He said, "I was hugely inspired and energised by participating in the Enterprisers programme gaining new perspectives on entrepreneurship and venturing; as well as technology ideas. I learned to be more creative, risk tolerant and able to allow ideas to grow. In fact, I feel I am now more able to see opportunities and act on them rather than avoiding potential failure. In addition to learning how to motivate and sustain my own entrepreneurial thinking and ideas, I have also developed skills to coach and facilitate others in the future."
The Enterprisers programme from 23rd to 26th September 2013 is for ambitious and energetic early-career technical staff from academic institutions, research and technology organisations with some involvement in OLAE technologies and applications. The adapted programme is to develop entrepreneurship skills through the use of tasks and activities which have been customised for the OLAE sector. It is designed to create new business opportunities and potential applications through unlocking a "can-do" attitude, unleashing creativity and encouraging the cross-fertilisation of ideas in response to end user needs.
Jukka-Tapani Mäkinen, D.Sc., Senior Scientist VTT - Technical Research Centre of Finland also participated in Enterprisers in May 2013. He commented, "Given my background in physics, optical engineering and applied research, I felt I had not gained the necessary skills or mindset needed for entrepreneurship during my studies or during my work as a research scientist. Having had recent experience of being involved in a start-up company (KeepLoop Oy), I thought it would be beneficial for me to improve my knowledge of how to approach a business idea in a more methodological way. I also wanted to enable researchers at the Technical Research Centre of Finland to develop their ideas for the commercial arena."
Jukka is clear about what he gained from participating in the programme saying, "The Enterprisers programme raised my own confidence and gave me some tools for analysing new business ideas. It also provided highly practical tutoring in the importance of team work, creativity, networking and presentation skills in starting a company. The team-building, business planning and pitching exercises were both instructive and entertaining. I felt that I was nicely pushed out of my research-oriented comfort zone giving me a new entrepreneurial perspective and a lot of new contacts that will help me in my work as a researcher going forward."
17 of Europe's leading OLAE organisations have joined forces in the COLAE project*, which is funded by the EU commission and promotes collaboration between industry clusters throughout Europe. The project will accelerate the commercialisation of OLAE technology by raising awareness of the business opportunities that can be exploited by OLAE; creating supply chains; providing access to training resources; and enabling reduced time to market for new applications of OLAE.
Chris Rider, CIKC Director, said, "If you're a technologist in the organic and large-area electronics sector with ideas of your own, whether you're exploring new initiatives in existing organisations or considering a brand new enterprise, OLAE Enterprisers will equip you to develop your vision and attract the support that all new ideas need."
By the end of the four days of the intensive Enterprisers programme, participants will have developed basic business skills, refined and validated new technology applications. They will have learned how to explain the technology in commercial terms and will have practiced pitching a proposal to experienced entrepreneurs and investors - key tools in enabling the transfer of technologies from lab to commercial reality. It is hoped that this educational experience will increase individual effectiveness and impact on the acceleration of commercial opportunities for the economic benefit of the whole COLAE network both during and beyond the COLAE project.
Jukka would recommend Enterprisers to those who have a little or no experience in business but have great ideas and are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. He said, "The course will certainly help to get things started by equipping participants with tools for thinking about business and presenting ideas in a clear manner, as well as raising the entrepreneurial spirit."
The deadline for applications to the OLAE Enterprisers programme is 17:00 on 6th September 2013. Those interested in applying are encouraged to make early applications as selection is competitive and places are limited.
For more information, please contact the Programme Manager, Orsolya Ihasz. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: 01223 766621.
*Please see the COLAE website for more details of the project and its activities.
About the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL)
The Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL), based at Cambridge Judge Business School, aims to spread the spirit of enterprise to both the University of Cambridge community and to wider national and international audiences through the creation and delivery of a range of educational activities that inspire and build skills in the practise of Entrepreneurship. One of CfEL's key teaching values is that the best people to teach entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs. This philosophy has led to the Centre collaborating with a network of over 300 experienced entrepreneurs, innovators and other practitioners to provide relevant, credible and practical training.
The Centre has developed an enviable track record in the field of entrepreneurship education with a number of flagship programmes designed to provide skills for students, graduates, researchers and aspiring entrepreneurs from different backgrounds and at different stages of the entrepreneurial journey. These programmes are Enterprise Tuesday, ETECH Projects, Ignite, Enterprisers and the Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship.
Europe's leading organisations have united to form COLAE - Commercialisation of Organic and Large Area Electronics - a project designed to simplify and speed up the commercialisation and adoption of organic electronics technology through the creation of industry clusters. COLAE aims to raise awareness of the diverse range of applications utilising OLAE technology and to reduce the delivery time to market of these products while demonstrating the major business opportunities that can be explored and exploited, especially for SMEs across Europe.
As the organic and large area electronics market continues to grow and evolve at speed through the promise of new products, developed with lower cost, low energy processes using environmentally friendly materials, COLAE will provide European organisations access to an unparalleled knowledge base and the know-how to implement OLAE technology.
COLAE has harnessed the resources and expertise of its project partners and made it available to both the existing organic electronics industry and new organisations entering the market. Members can access high quality training and workshops, technical and business feasibility support, the best pilot production and manufacturing facilities, as well as gaining an opportunity to create regional clusters.
The project aims to connect all players within the industry to create and develop a dedicated supply chain that delivers tangible value and benefits. In addition, COLAE is focused upon engaging with end-users of the technology and raising awareness among manufacturers of the potential applications of organic and large area electronics.
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