In recent years, VET colleges have shown impressive progress in developing entrepreneurship programmes in their schools. An increasing number of colleges have such a programme in place. In addition to this, the quality of the programmes is increasing and more entrepreneurship programmes are including competence based content and learning which is based on active learning.
Even though many colleges, besides entrepreneurial behaviour, also promote international experiences for their students, the connection between entrepreneurship and internationalisation is made rarely. Wouldn’t it be great if students that work on entrepreneurship, were given the opportunity to work with foreign students and explore possibilities for internationalisation? This is exactly what the I-STEP project plans to do.
In September, 2016, the I-STEP project kicked-off. I-STEP is short for International Student Entrepreneurship Programme. The project aims to enhance international entrepreneurial skills and attitude of teachers and students in VET by creating an international dimension to entrepreneurship programmes and strengthening the local and European (business) network.
The project targets VET colleges in Europe with an existing entrepreneurship education programme for their students. The I-STEP consortium will help these colleges add an international component to their programmes. I-STEP will do this by facilitating them to work together with schools in other countries. The partners want to achieve this trough the development of:
Through I-STEP, students, while setting up their (virtual) business, will learn how international business works, practice their language skills, learn about culture, exports etc. The I-STEP programme will offer several different pathways from working with an adviser in the export market to actually setting up an international company with students from another country. In this context, students will cooperate with fellow students from abroad and actually visit the country they wish to export to. Teachers will be provided with the tools they need in and outside the classroom to support the students.
No entrepreneurship programmes are in place that have a clear and high quality international dimension. It is proven that internationalisation makes people more aware, more creative and more entrepreneurial. Besides, it enables young people to become successful entrepreneurs that look beyond country borders. I-STEP addresses the need for VET students to exploit the opportunities the EU market offers. The project has a strong added value at a European level, as it encourages cooperation of different nationalities, cultures and fields of education.