A. Castrechini

University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
Fostering entrepreneurship is one of the current challenges of the universities. However, most authors agree that education does not encourage entrepreneurial attitudes and either develops or promotes business creativity skills, risk-taking, independence, etc. (Gorman, Hanlon & King, 1997). Some authors argue that it is necessary to provide specific learning experiences, based on an active participation in projects and offer content that led to the development of the idea of self-employment (Rasmussen & Sørheim, 2006).

Some reviews of entrepreneurship courses show that many of them are focus in educating “about” entrepreneurship and enterprise rather than educating “for” entrepreneurship (Kirby, 2004). Additionally, most of the courses are focused on contents and skills involved in developing the business plan, being generally taught in economics and business educational programs. However, communication, and in particular persuasion and influencing abilities is a particularly a sensitive task from the beginning of any entrepreneur project.

This paper describes and presents the results of a teaching innovation project named "PSIcoEmprende" (Psycho-Entrepreneur). The main objective of this initiative was to develop learning activities to raise awareness and empower last year psychology students to the competence of innovation and entrepreneurship, with the ultimate goal of contributing to entrepreneurship and self-employability.

The teaching innovation project consisted in the realization of a set of activities within an optional subject of the degree in psychology (Social Psychology of Communication). Teaching methodological included activities such as: brainstorm of ideas about what means to be an entrepreneur, business ideas, talks with young entrepreneurs psychologists, evaluation of the entrepreneurial attitude among of others. The main evaluative assignment consisted of doing an exercise of developing an entrepreneurship idea and its communication plan. It should be done in teams and make a final presentation.

Results of the pedagogical project are presented. Most of the students show a positive assessment of the activity. Learning by doing implied greater student involvement during the course and a high motivation. Inviting young entrepreneurs contributed with relevance and up-to-date real-life experience, which is especially important in an action-oriented field like entrepreneurship. They constitute role-models and contributed significantly to move projects forward. Some strategies and techniques for teaching entrepreneurship to future psychologists are recommended.

This communication is part of the activities of the Teaching Innovation Group Orienta’m, funded by the Teaching Improvement and Innovation Programme (PMID) of University of Barcelona.

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[2] D.A. Kirby, “Entrepreneurship education: can business schools meet the challenge?”, Education+ training, vol. 46, no. 8/9, pp. 510-519, 2004.
[3] E.A. Rasmussen and R. Sørheim, “Action-based entrepreneurship education”, Technovation, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 185-194, 2006.