Startup Europe and DIGISTART organize FCT Entrepreneurship Course

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5 weeks, 1000 students, 3 teams receiving a prize

One of the primary objectives of DIGISTART project is to bring a culture of Entrepreneurship into the University. However, students have a lack of exposure to Entrepreneurship at the early stage and that is where it is the job of academicians and teachers to not just focus on the evaluating through exams, but also help students to identify their excitement and provide them some kind of couching support which help them look clearly at the bigger picture.

Hence, Startup Europe through its project DIGISTART collaborated in organizing an entrepreneurship course at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (FCT/UNL). The course was designed to train aspiring students from all backgrounds and not only IT field. Around a thousand students participated during five weeks of FCT entrepreneurship course. 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. Students also were introduced to entrepreneurship from an economic perspective and the concepts of environmentally sustainable practices and social entrepreneurship.

There were 10 theory classes including subjects like Strategy of Startups, Marketing and Development of a New Product, The view of Investors, and many more. During the theory classes, some speakers were invited from outside the university (e.g. a member from Linehealth, a successful Portuguese startup). The goal of these 10 sessions was to develop the student competency from idea development to funding and establishing a company. The students learned:

  • How to have ideas.
  • How move your idea forward.
  • How to develop a product.
  • How to define, evaluate and build Value Proposition.
  • How to building their startup team.
  • How to establish a culture that will inspire their team to support the vision and mission.
  • How to be good at customer acquisition.
  • How to develop a Business Plan.
  • How to do sales and marketing.
  • How to find the customers and how to get them to buy the product.
  • What are the main benefits provided by communal workplaces for startups.
  • How to raise money.
  • How to pitch investors.

Moreover, there were 5 practical classes during this course. The students distributed to 12 classes. At each class, students were divided into interdisciplinary teams including 5 members each. (The students were from different area of engineering and science).. At the end of classes each team had an idea with value proposition and developed the business model for their startup idea.

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Finally, 12 teams from 200 teams short listed based on their pitch. Then, during one full day, each team got more training about how to pitch professionally. Then the next day, these 12 teams pitched their startup ideas in the big auditorium. Edite Cruz represented Beta-i as one of the judges for the final selection. The top 3 teams were selected to get the prize.