The Entrepreneurship Academy / Team Academy is an environment where teams of students learn business by creating and operating real businesses, with the assistance of a Team Coach. At the base of the entire methodoly, developed in Finland by Johanes Partanen between 1993 and 2001, lie several key concepts:
- No students, but a team of entrepreneurs
- No theory, but learning by doing
- No case studies, but real businesses
- No classrooms, but office spaces
- No control, but self-organization
The learning / development process
The 4 years of study focus on of several lectures such as Economics, Finance, Accounting, Management, Strategy, Marketing, Sales, etc, which are compulsory lectures in any Business Administration Degree, the difference being that all “teachers” are in fact entrepreneurs and business people, with a a lot of hands-on business experience.
The number of hours per week dedicated to all lectures is no more than 10-12. The rest of the time is dedicated to creating and developing real companies, entirely managed by students.
The student-developed companies are their learning tools, which help facilitate new projects and business ideas.
Students develop new products and services on their own, visit companies and customers, choose their projects and deliver the entire work involved in the project.
In addition to individual learning/ academic objectives, students also have financial and development objectives, which they will set for their team during the team coaching sessions.
During the first year, students choose to be part of a group, which they will later develop into their work and study company. They choose a name/brand and a logo and will work together from the very first day. The cell base of the entire methodology is the team, so that no student graduates alone, but they all need to make it as a team/company. By working primarily in project teams, during the 1st year students experiment numerous methods and models to make money, to the point where they find a functional and cohesive business model, which will eventually become their business.
By meeting companies and customers, while developing and creating their own producs and services, students need to be able to meet annualy set financial objectives. As a team, students need to contribute to attaining a different yearly profit target: during year 1, the target is 1.500 Eur/team member, 2.500 Eur/team member in year 2, and 5.000 Eur/team member in year 3.
The 4th year focuses on the final Bachelor project, which in most cases means planning, launching, or developing a new company. At the end of the 4 years of study, each student/ teampreneur is awarded with a Bachelor Diploma in Business Administration, specialising in Entrepreneurship.
Why – the core of the model
The most important benefit is that The Entrepreneurship Academy graduates are significantly more connected to reality and have more hands-on experience than most other university graduates are. In addition, EA graduates develop a skillset, which cannot be taught in lecture rooms, namely an entrepreneurial attitude, accountability for their actions and the ability to change the world surrounding them.
“The future of business education and learning”
Peter Senge – MIT, founder of the Society for Organisational Learning
Each team of students receive a profit target, which is an essential objective of the teaching process. As a team, students need to attain a profit target of at least 1500 Eur/team member in the 1st year, 2500 Eur/team member in the 2nd year and 5000 Eur/team member in the 3rd year.
- The learning contract – is a personal learning plan, „negociated” with team members, developed with the assistance of experts in autonomous learning
- The learning journal – details all class assignments written along the study years
- Team debriefing sessions – a roughly 4-hour long weekly dialogue focusing on analysis, reflection and debate
- Reading – extensively using the most modern business library in Romania, with over 5000 books, articles and study cases generously provided by Bookster
- Esssays – self-reflection and analysis of ideas and assignments developed from individual reading and key conversations
- „The Birth” – assimilating and explaining key concepts – oral and written presentations on various themes highlighted along the learning process; they are often developed during the troubleshooting process of a real challenge posed by the student’s own company.
- Pre / post Motorola – a structured framework for planning, complex analysis and reporting detailed before and after each important project.
- Evaluations and Individual & Group reports compiled following all projects students are involved in.
- Complex analysis of potential and current customers and the connections with/ between them
- Development and leadership plan – including self-evaluation processes and expert-assisted evaluation, at a “disciplined” frequency.
- Final year Bachelor thesis – it is often dedicated to planning, launching, or developing a new company, but it can also take the shape of an academic approach, if this responds better to the student’s main interest.
Resources & Assistance
The Entrepreneurship Academy facilitates the development of students/ teampreneurs by offering:
- Assistance for all teams provided by qualified Team Coaches
- Presentations / mini-lectures and specific trainings supported by national and international experts on various technical topics
- Presentations/ conferences/ interactions with top Romanian and foreign entrepreneurs
- International study experiences, guided by Team Coaches, but organised by students
- Various other opportunities provided by the international Team Academy network