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O. Barbulescu, S. Sumedrea, B. Tescasiu

Transilvania University of Brasov (ROMANIA)
This paper is focused on the entrepreneurial and innovative potential of higher education institutions to develop entrepreneurial behaviors, skills and attitudes of students and academic staff alike in order to cope with the complexity of the labor market and the fourth industrial revolution.

On this line, the article presents an approach on this topic from two different perspectives: theoretical background and research based study case. In this view, the theoretical approach shows that becoming an entrepreneurial and innovative higher education institution means to implement entrepreneurial teaching and learning, to involve external stakeholders into the university’s leadership and governance, to incorporate digital technologies into as many activities as possible, to create synergies between teaching, research and business, to encourage collaboration and knowledge exchange for the benefit of social and economic development of society and also to help students, graduates and staff consider starting a business as a career option.

In support of this approach the authors are presenting the results of a qualitative marketing research applied with 15 external shareholders based on in-depth semi-structures interview technique. The interview guide used as a tool was structured around three main areas of discussion: the need for entrepreneurial and innovative higher education institutions, the development directions of an entrepreneurial and innovative higher education institution and the implications for institutional change. In this respect, the results highlights that the higher education institutions require many transformations to become part of the triple helix model, for being able to respond to social, technological, and economic needs of society, to contribute to national economic growth and local development by stimulating the creation of new enterprises and by encouraging innovation in existing firms.The empirical results show that building an entrepreneurial and innovative higher education institution imply a progressive and reflective process which embodies some key characteristics. Preparing and supporting entrepreneurs and integrating research, education and industry activities for exploiting new knowledge are among the important factors that the university may consider in order to strengthen its entrepreneurial potential.

Our findings have implications for entrepreneurship literature, policy makers and in the field of education.