Social Entrepreneurship for Local Change
Start date: Sep 1, 2015,
End date: Aug 31, 2018
Social Entrepreneurship for Local Change
The objective of this strategic partnership is to develop a study module on social entrepreneurship with a scope of up to 15 ECTS. The format of delivery will be flexible (both online and blended learning modes) in order to address different target groups. ln terms of content, the project will adapt and complement existing learning resources, both national and European, and provide new materials derived from the partners' local contexts. ln addition, experiences made during development and pilot implementation will feed into a guidance report for teaching staff. The project is addressed to an interdisciplinary target group of educators, students and young professionals in the fields of economics, business administration, geography, agriculture, regional development, urban/ Iandscape planning.
Social entrepreneurship aims for the exploitation of opportunities for social change rather than for maximum profit in the traditional sense. Social enterprises attempt to target unfulfilled social needs with (more or less) marked-based approaches, aiming for sustainable solutions (Volkman et al., 2013). Since the 1990's the approach has been gaining increased attention in practice, policy and academia. The global economic crisis in 2008 finally revealed that society is strongly in need of alternative models as the Iimits of public influence have become evident. Likewise, growth models are needed, that are 'fairer, greener and anchored in local communities. A model that values social cohesion as a genuine source of collective wealth' (Strasbourg Declaration, 2014).
But the status quo is rather that study programmes basically operate within their disciplinary Iimits: priority is given to the development of subject-specific competences; theory is primarily applied to disciplinary practice cases. This context makes it difficult to trigger holistic approaches for social change. Given these circumstances the purpose of this strategic partnership is to create a new educational framework in which different disciplines would combine forces, knowledge and skills for addressing local challenges.
The interdisciplinary and international constellation of this strategic partnership allows for a new approach to local change based on the combination of diverse fields of knowledge and competences. The partnership brings the following competences together: experience in teaching social entrepreneurship (Kiel University and ASE Bucharest), delivering online seminars and e-learning pedagogy (HfWU Nürtingen-Geislingen and Kiel University), Social entrepreneurship in the context of rural development (EMU Tartu), social entrepreneurship in the context of urban transformation (Van Hall Larenstein), practicing social entrepreneurs in the from of two NGO's (Odaia Creativa and the Estonian Social Enterprise Network).
The following activities will be a carried out:
1. development of online course materials on social entrepreneurship theory, methods, tools and case studies as open educational resources
2. implementation of blended learning activities on the subject of social entrepreneurship in combination with local workshops organised alternately by three of the consortium partners
3. preparation of a guidance report for teachers interested in integrating social entrepreneurship into their courses.
The project follows the methodical approach of a pedagogical action research cycle: the course will be repeated three times and accompanied by profound observation and evaluation and continuous improvement, finally leading to a stable and sustainable model. The target groups are students and professionals seeking for additional competences in the field of social entrepreneurship. The online delivery mode will allow for a good accessibility also for people with limited time resources, such as professionals. The second important target groups are teachers. They will receive additional training enabling them to conduct the internet-based parts of the course. Furthermore, transdisciplinary teaching methods will be applied and further developed within the framework of the teaching and learning activities. All experiences gained will feed into the guidance report for teachers.
The following impacts are expected: increase of social entrepreneurship business start-ups resulting from students attendance in the course, increase of internet-based course delivery and increased cross-institutional cooperation based on the teaching training in this field, increased student and staff mobility, increased interdisciplinary cooperation within and between the institutions involved, increased awareness of the universities by wider society based on the open access character of the course. As a long term benefit a greater number of social entrepreneurship businesses will create action on the challenges we are facing in our social, economic and environmental spheres through social innovation, new forms of investment and surprising solutions.
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