Background of the Project
Entrepreneurship activity in Croatia and Western Balkan is behind the world average
The Western Balkan and Croatia continue to face high unemployment rate (18% in Croatia) for a number of years now. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor shows that Croatia has a weak indigenous entrepreneurial base, particularly the “middle business” sector, with more necessity than opportunity based entrepreneurs. Low competitiveness, lack of innovation capacity and the absence of an entrepreneurial culture are identified as the main obstacles to more sustainable growth of Croatia.
The education system is lagging behind the changed educational needs due to changes in political, economic and social system
Inherited low entrepreneurial culture from former Yugoslavia system, changed structure of employment in 1990ies (doubling employment in small businesses, halving employment in big companies) and the introduction of parliamentary democracy are major causes of changed educational needs in Croatia. New knowledge and skills, particularly in the field of entrepreneurship was missing. Despite those mega challenges, educational system did not respond at the expected pace, which was confirmed by many surveys, including the World Bank report. Higher education in Croatia has low rate of efficiency (average graduation period is 6.9 years and only 30% of enrolled students grauate) and lacks educational programs focused on growing, innovative small businesses, corporate entrepreneurship and overall entrepreneurial culture.
J.J. Strossmayer University in Osijek (PC institution) has been pioneering in university based entrepreneurship education in Croatia, from 2000
J.J. Strossmayer University in Osijek is one of the six public universities in Croatia, located in eastern Croatia. Being strongly aware of local development issues, emphasised by the war devastation, and the recent introduction of entrepreneurship educational programs at the top universities in the world, the J.J. Strossmayer University in Osijek introduced the first master's degree program in entrepreneurship in year 2000, using the best practice from the Durham Business School in UK, as benchmark. The program is highly successful, delivered in Croatian and English language, it attracts students from all over Croatia, including students from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. From 2005, the undergraduate program in entrepreneurship has been started. Through its linkages to the local small business development center, several executive programs have been started (for managers in growing small businesses, franchising…). Continuous demand for master's degree program opened needs for bigger faculty, as well as for up-grading learning/teaching methods, to be in the line of the entrepreneruship educational content. The ICES project directly responds to these needs.
Description of the Project
In eastern Croatia, where J.J. Strossmayer University in Osijek is located, economic indicators are significantly worse than Croatian average is: uneployment is higher, entrepreneurial activity is lower, GDP/c is lower. University initiative of starting entrepreneurship education (Master's degree program) in year 2000 was directly targeting issues of regional unemployment and low entrepreneurial activity. Fully demand driven program opened questions for further development of the program and outreaching not only inside the university, but wider demand in Croatia and in neighbouring countries, like Western Balkan.
The wider objective of the project is to develop an international center of excellence for learning and teaching entrepreneurship in Croatia in order to lever a process of changes, through developing the entrepreneurial capacity of academic experts. The project International Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (ICES) will contribute substantially toward this wider objective with three specific project objectives:
• To create a modular Ph.D. program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation aiming to build a critical mass of intellectual capacity (academic base) for entrepreneurship education (more…)
• To develop a virtual learning platform based on new innovative methods and tools to be used by all higher education consortium members to deliver effective entrepreneurial programs of all kinds (more…)
• To create the interdisciplinary and outreaching model of university entrepreneurship education (entrepreneurship across campus) that strongly contributes to the commercialization of the university intellectual property and to the development of the overall entrepreneurial culture of the university and business community (more…)
1. A modular Ph.D. Programme in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in order to:
• develop a cohort of young faculty with the capacity to teach and research in the field of entrepreneurship based on problem/opportunity centered approach and holistic integration of knowledge and imaginative use of it, which is relevant to interdisciplinary feature of the entrepreneurship paradigm,
• strengthen the faculty of the ICES, with competences to teach not only at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level but also, importantly, in direct interface with entrepreneurs and managers
2. Virtual learning platform based on learning methods and approaches focused on the entrepreneurial way of learning, in order to:
• construct an IT-based learning environment for all the programs which will enable implementation of pedagogy focused on entrepreneurial-directed learning and teaching of entrepreneurship, designed to equip future teachers to cater for the needs of entrepreneurs and students in a manner which builds upon the ways in which entrepreneurs learn and behave. This addresses directly the need to fill the existing major gap of entrepreneurial thinking identified above, which is creating an inertia in responding to the needs of the entrepreneurial firm and organization.
• develop new entrepreneurial-directed learning and teaching materials, methods, and processes
3. Associated institutional development (ICES) in order to support interdisciplinary and outreaching model of university entrepreneurship education (entrepreneurship across campus)