The EIT conference Youth and Entrepreneurship - Drivers of innovation brought together 200 participants from diverse backgrounds ranging from KICs and their students, successful European and international entrepreneurs, business representatives, venture capitalists, business angels and European stakeholder organisations to discuss what is needed to further boost entrepreneurship in Europe, especially among young people.
The conference was a platform to present EIT and KIC activities on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education by putting students and young entrepreneurs at center stage to:
- learn from inspiring entrepreneurial role models
- receive practical advice for setting-up a business
- network to build a vibrant community around the EIT and KICs.
It was widely agreed that , in order to develop future entrepreneurs and to foster business creation, the focus should not only be on educating but also very much on learning by doing and some even believe that "Entrepreneurship cannot be taught at all, but can only be inspired."
This aspect is taken into account in the Master and PhD programmes developed by the KICs where students are involved in entrepreneurial projects and activities in the co-location centres, as well as internships in business, alongside attending inspiring lectures and courses.
Another essential element underlined by entrepreneurs was the importance of trying and accepting failure as a learning experience: do – fail – do!
The atmosphere was dynamic and interactive. The comments and discussions clearly showed enthousiasm and a can-do spirit to boost entrepreneurship. Students were eager to show their projects and network to develop them further.
The discussions provided inputs for the further development of the role of the EIT in fostering entrepreneurship and in expanding its activities to support the communities of young entrepreneurs emerging from the KICs.
"In the end, we will all be judged by the results" - The vice-Chairman of the EIT Governing Board Anders Flodström concluded. The event took place in Krakow (Poland) under the auspices of the Polish Presidency on the AGH University campus. AGH University is the co-ordinating partner of KIC InnoEnergy's CC Poland Plus co-location centre.
View a Storify including tweets and photos from the conference. Videos and photos will be released in the next weeks.
Read the impressions of Climate-KIC.