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‘Exploring Entrepreneurship’ Summer School: Results and Impressions

Entrepreneurship influences economics, social relations, and the dynamics of global development, and, of course, it needs to be studied on an interdisciplinary level. The European Summer School ‘Exploring Entrepreneurship’, of which the HSE is a founder and participant, recently took place in Thessaloniki (Greece).

The HSE’s scientific-educational Laboratory of Entrepreneurship Research has been organizing a summer school since 2009, but in 2011 the school acquired a bilateral format (the HSE was joined by the University of Twente, the Netherlands). Then in 2012, the Technische Universität Berlin joined the school, and in 2013 as many as five universities from different European countries participated in the School’s organization: Great Britain (the University of Sheffield), Germany, the Netherlands, Greece (the City College in Thessaloniki, a branch of the University of Sheffield), and Russia. The key idea of the school, according to Alexander Chepurenko, Academic Supervisor of the HSE Laboratory of Entrepreneurship Research, is to involve students in the study of entrepreneurship as a rapidly developing interdisciplinary area.

Nearly 40 students from 14 countries (including Asian ones) participated in this year’s Summer School; 12 lecturers and experts addressed the participants.

The school already operates according to a specific format: in the mornings, professors address the participants through lectures and presentations, and in the afternoons, entrepreneurs and experts offer master classes and meetings, and students from various universities meet in teams to work on joint presentations which they unveil on the last day. Each evening features a cultural programme and free time. Every participating university had one day at its disposal, when its representatives conducted classes for students and gave a brief introduction to their university. This time, the HSE was represented by Alexander Chepurenko, Dean of the Faculty of Sociology, and John Round, Associate Professor of the Faculty.

The participating universities are very different from each other and have different approaches to studying entrepreneurship. That’s why the students had an opportunity to take part in various forms of classes, such as lectures, master classes, meetings with entrepreneurs, business games, and brainstorming sessions. ‘Each participant was willing to speak about how business is done in his or her own country, and that gave us a basis for comparative analysis’, Olga Solodskaya, a student of the HSE Faculty of Management, told us. ‘The lectures were very varied: from strictly theoretical to marketing-focused. But all of them were extremely interesting and useful’. Added Anna Shemetkova (HSE Faculty of Sociology): ‘It was not only entrepreneurship that we discussed but also everyday life, politics, global problems, and cultural differences’.

Probably the HSE will host the Summer School on the Theory of Entrepreneurship next year in Moscow. This was an idea suggested by all the participating universities.

This was the first time that the School was held in a country that has been severely affected by the economic crisis, and that’s why both the participants’ personal impressions and the classes prepared by the Greek colleagues helped participants to better understand the specific limitations and opportunities for developing entrepreneurship in such conditions.

According to Chepurenko, this year’s school exceeded all expectations, especially taking into account that the organizing universities had only one short meeting in January in Berlin to solve all aspects of the School’s organization and programme development. Most probably, next summer the existing participants will be joined by one or two more universities from other countries, and the number of participating students will grow. The structure of the school will have to become more complicated; classes on specific groups of topics will be split off from the general classes.

And probably the HSE will host the Summer School on the Theory of Entrepreneurship next year in Moscow. This was an idea suggested by all the participating universities.

Nikolay Ivanov, specially for the HSE News Service

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