Demand for university graduates with work-experience from start-up businesses continues to rise in Denmark. To meet the demand from employers, the Copenhagen Science City-partner University of Copenhagen is now entering a national programme to entice students to become entrepreneurs or follow careers in entrepreneurial companies.
Three innovation hubs in development of programme
“StartUp in practice” is the name of the new three-year programme. The programme is developed in collaboration with The Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship. The European Social Fund and the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs have co-financed it to the tune of 19 Mio. DKK. At the University of Copenhagen, the three university innovation hubs will anchor it.
Earning university credits while working for start-ups
Danish university students are already twice as likely to start their own business as other Danes are. However the main task for the project is to develop student projects where the students earn ECTS-points for starting a company or working in the start-ups of other students. This would give work with entrepreneurship the same status as work in any other study programme, explains Marie Smed, who is project manager on ”StartUp in practice” at the University of Copenhagen.
“We see an increasing demand for students getting hands-on experience with starting a business of their own or working in someone else’s start-up”. Marie Smed, Project manager, ”StartUp in practice”.
Should raise awareness of career paths
The “Startup in practice” programme concentrates on student start-ups but Marie Smed hopes it will ultimately increase student awareness of the career-paths in entrepreneurial companies in general. If the programme succeeds in this, it could be a massive boon for the more than 350 innovation companies housed in the Copenhagen Science City-area. Many of them already attempt to recruit among the districts 20,000 bachelor, graduate and Ph.D. students. These would welcome more applicants.
Academic projects in commercial setting
Smed hopes that “StartUp in practice” will help more students see start-up companies as a natural and attractive place to take work-experience or embark on a bachelor project or thesis.
“Today a student of pharmaceutical sciences would be likely to aim for The Danish Health Authority but might just as well choose to work with a health-care start-up. A student of accounting might go for the safety of Deloitte, where a project with a fin-tech start-up could be much more rewarding”, says Marie Smed.
The project is a collaboration between The Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship and the student innovations hubs at University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen Business School, Aalborg University and Aarhus University.
The innovation district Copenhagen Science City houses the two University of Copenhagen innovation hubs SCIENCE Innovation Hub and SUND Hub while the third, KU plus, is located on the university’s South Campus on the island of Amager just east of the Copenhagen city centre.