Project DIGISTART – An overview

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The project DIGISTART is supporting European-Wide digital ecosystems through a set of coordinated activities targeting Lisbon and Malmo. It also harnesses the capabilities of the F6S for providing online support to startups. The Lisbon Ecosystem is supported by UNIDEMI and BETA-i. UNIDEMI, A research centre at the Faculdade de Ciencias e Tecnologies, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, initiated activities to provide greater access to the innovation ecosystem for students. That includes early stage mentorship, awareness creation, launching of the Startup Forum, a formal Entrepreneurship Course and an online MOOC. During the project, some research work has been done that can provide greater insights on how Innovation Ecosystems have benefitted Startups. Moreover, DIGISTART collaborated with other European funded project (eg. MY-WAY, Scaleup, LIFE, Welcome) to enable individuals/university students and startups to connect as well as support and benefit from the dynamic circulation of European ecosystems for web entrepreneurs.

One of the primary objectives of DIGISTART project has been bring a culture of Entrepreneurship into the University. Entrepreneurial activity within the University is being seen as a key indicator of the University’s Ranking. A dynamic and vibrant entrepreneurial culture creates students that are confident to face the new economy which is based on niche, nimble and agile startups. DIGISTART helped students to identify their excitement and provide them some kind of coaching support which help them look clearly at the bigger picture.

DIGISTART collaborated in organizingtwiceFCT entrepreneurship courses with 1000 students, at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. The course was designed to train aspiring students from all backgrounds. It has now become an annual event. This course was designed to help students evaluate the business skills and commitment necessary to successfully operate an entrepreneurial venture and review the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship. Students learned about themselves, their decisions, and their goals to determine how entrepreneurship can play a role in their lives.

Secondly,a course lasting a full academic semester with 3 ECTS was conducted twice by UNIDEMI called Digital Business Ecosystems. It covered in depth understanding of how the Internet is transforming business rules,companies and collaborative networks, understanding digital business models, understanding how to develop digital business and Internet-based Startups, and finally understandinghow to finance and manage a digital business.

The project organized many interesting workshops and training sessions. Bringing Entrepreneurship Culture to the Universities was a successful example of international workshop organized at October 2015 at Universidade Nova de Lisboa.This workshop was designed to get together a set of speakers with a wide range of experiences to discuss best practices, challenge solutions and bring in inspirational examples on how to nurture entrepreneurship culture at universities. Across the world, Universities are turning to the challenge of not only providing high quality education for tomorrow’s workforce, research and development to enhance knowledge, but also imparting the entrepreneurship skills vital for the empowering students to create their own startups. The workshop was targeted primarily to researchers, educators, university professors, and students.

DIGISTART and MY-WAY joined efforts to create We Start Lisbon, the European conference for students and young web entrepreneur held at October 2016 at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. n exciting and quite interactive event which set out to inspire and teach students regarding entrepreneurship.

 

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Overall, during the project 5 courses were conducted and more than 2000 students benefited from the courses. 8 training sessions happened. 2 conferences and 3 workshops were organized. Many networking activities, meet-ups, business development sessions happened. Around 140 startups were mentored and facilitated during the project activities. 5 Master theses completed and 2 scientific papers already published.

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