INTEGRATING SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP ACROSS DEGREE PROGRAMMES
The Social European Enterprise Intensive Erasmus Programme (SEE IP) is a programme that attempts to fill a need in many Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). This need is to incorporate EU policy regarding three key areas: intercultural competence, youth entrepreneurship and social inclusion into any HEI degree programme. Five different European HEIs were part of the programme: Southampton-Solent, Arcada, FH Salzburg, Kaunas Kolegia and UCAM. The IP involves the three relevant interest groups: students, universities and enterprises. The approach chosen is discipline and sector-independent thus being in line with the European Commission Study (2009:14) New Skills for New Jobs Initiative fostering “the mobility of knowledge workers across borders and sectors”. The IP also addresses and supports the EU’s commitment to youth entrepreneurship. Recent EU studies find that over half of all EU students have no access to such education opportunities and highlight structural difficulties with the delivery of programmes that do exist, citing the variety of practices and content within such programmes across EU countries (NIRAS, 2008). Three key areas are addressed throughout the programme: intercultural competence, social entrepreneurship and social inclusion. Intercultural competence, and its lack, has long been seen as a significant barrier to labour and social mobility and economic cooperation among Europeans. The programme set-up with a cross-section of European cultures and traditions taps the peer expertise and experience of all participants and thus includes an overall European dimension in the expected outcome. The ability to communicate and work effectively within multicultural teams has become one of the key competences for the 21st century and is at the heart of the successful construction of a European identity. Therefore, focus will also be given on the students’ intercultural skills’ acquisition to further enhance the relevance of the IP in a globalized economy. The next two key areas youth entrepreneurship and social inclusion are developed through concepts such as Effectuation (Saravathy, 2005). The programme also draws upon successful practices including innovative teaching methodologies such as boot camp style delivery, new product development, live briefs, multi-cultural teams, multidisciplinary teams, presentations, visits to thriving and struggling social enterprises. As a result, students will be able to: conduct themselves across Europe in ways that minimise cultural incompetence and enable them to learn about culture effectively, prepare themselves and their associates to turn business and social business ideas into effective actions, and manage themselves, their time and that of their peers to form and run social enterprises and freelance projects. Thus, the programme results will be especially beneficial to graduates by increasing their career prospects after graduation.