Raising entrepreneurial spirit among doctoral students

The EIT ICT Labs Doctoral School at Helsinki attracted some 160 PhD students and lecturers during the fall 2012 to innovate new businesses and cultivate entrepreneurial skills.

There were four courses organized at the Doctoral Training Center in Helsinki focusing on Innovation & Entrepreneurship with strong presence from industrial partners, entrepreneurs and external lecturers.

Raising I&E Awareness

Raising I&E Awareness was the first harmonized Doctoral School course in the EIT ICT Labs history. 25 PhD students learned about exploitation potential of their research and studied recent business trends in ICT, business markets in general and in their discipline. Petri Liuha, Smart Spaces action line lead, provided a picture of the smart spaces trends. PhD Mika Raento from one of the hottest start-ups from Finland, ZenRobotics, offered insight into the utilization of robotics in waste management.

PhD – an Entrepreneur?

PhD – an Entrepreneur? course improved the participants’ understanding of entrepreneurship and start-up businesses. With the help of a serial entrepreneur Ilkka Lavas, who talked about his failures and successes, the students learned to analyze what components and competencies are needed to conduct a business successfully.

Opportunity Recognition

Opportunity Recognition provided skills for obtaining a holistic understanding about the business development at early stage. It also offered training on e.g. recognizing business opportunities and how to exploit them. There were inspiring entrepreneurial role-models and practical advice given for setting-up a business. Quuppa Oy and Hitseed – EIT ICT Labs supported start-ups – gave hands-on advice and shared their stories on how a PhD can become an entrepreneur. Venture capitalists like Sami Ahvenniemi from Conor Ventures offered advice on financing a venture and how to use financial data in business development.

Entrepreneurial Boot Camp

Entrepreneurial Boot Camp was an intensive two days full of hands-on coaching on how to sell your ideas as an entrepreneur or a researcher. The Brittish brothers Andy and Steve Langdon inspired and coached the PhD students to get new contacts interested in their business ideas. Folke Johansson from Papula Nevinpat, a patent and trademark agency, highligted the importance of patents and criteria for patenting – what you can and should patent.

Markus Luoto, a PhD student from Oulu University participating in the Opportunity Recognition course, says: “Firstly, the speakers were brilliantly inspiring, which made the whole week fun. Not only do I feel I have learned a whole bunch, but the learning also happened on a very practical level, which makes it more useful. In summary the course gave me a lot of courage for entrepreneurship through practical tips and tricks.”

Videos with doctoral student interviews can be found here on our YouTube channel

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