EQUALDIGITALENT – FOSTERING ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND DIGITAL SKILLS UNDER DIVERSITY ASPECTS

J. Kirch1, B. Eisenbart2

1Berlin School of Economics and Law (GERMANY)
2University of Liechtenstein (LIECHTENSTEIN)
Entrepreneurship is relevant and important for job creation and economic growth as well as innovation and renewal. It increases the competitiveness and enables to capture potential shares in emerging markets for future products and services. Following Drucker, entrepreneurial management requires that an “organization must be receptive to innovation and willing to perceive change as an opportunity and not a threat” [1, p.150].

To stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation, there are different levers to consider. Academic programmes are one important strategy to prepare future managers to develop and enhance their entrepreneurial thinking and innovation potential either for starting their own business, acting as intrapreneurs in corporations, or partnering with start-ups as source of innovation.

Digital start-ups are the main vehicles through which digital technology is transformed into economic and social benefits. These ventures are also more likely to become high-growth companies, i.e. scale-ups.

While the majority of entrepreneurial ventures in Europe is still dominated by white males, during the past two decades the entrepreneurial base was diversified by women, minorities, and part-timers – to name only a few. As this heterogeneity can be responsible for more innovation and sustainable growth, the European Commission is working with EU countries to overcome this and encourage more women and people with diverse backgrounds to start their own entrepreneurial endeavours.

In line with this, the Erasmus+ funded project “EqualDigiTalent” works on defining the master programme “Gender Equality in Digital Entrepreneurship”. Our paper shows how four different learning courses have been drafted, developed, tested, and evaluated with different partner institutions in Liechtenstein, Austria, and Germany: “Digital Transformation of Society”, “Innovation Lab”, “Blended Corporate Information Systems”, and “Digital Business Management and Leadership”. For each course different teaching methods were combined with distinct gender and diversity approaches.

Results of a four-step learning evaluation process are provided as well as improvement opportunities and learnings are derived. A distinct focus of this paper is to show comprehensive results and indications for possible adaptions of the overall master curriculum. Starting points for similar initiatives and future research directions are deduced.

This paper will be of use to experts in the field of industry and administration as well as academic teachers who are looking for new impulses and evidence for the development of educational courses within the field of entrepreneurship, digitalization, and gender / diversity.

References:
[1] P.F. Drucker, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship”, Routledge; 2nd ed., 2007.