A consortium of universities and NGO partners from Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands and Romania develop, implement and test a new approach to promote creativity, entrepreneurial thinking and skills for designing innovation in close cooperation with the communities in which the universities are embedded. This will be achieved by two core activities:
• The Community Innovation Labs will provide a transdisciplinary framework for students, teachers and the community to collaborate on issues that really matter locally. The labs will allow for a multi-faceted understanding of what the local challenges are and thus provide students with a realistic analysis of the change potential. Social entrepreneurship is the guiding principle here, aiming at merging social, environmental and economic sustainability.
• The project expands an existing online course on Social Entrepreneurship with a new component focusing on the start-up phase. This will happen in synergy with the community innovation labs as starting points for co-creation and co-founding. Involving the community as equal partners in both our online and face-to-face learning activities will contribute to breaking up the ivory tower of academia.
The project is addressed to an interdisciplinary target group of educators, students and young professionals in the fields of economics, business administration, geography, agriculture, regional development, urban/landscape planning. Next to the academic audience the project actively involves local community members and stakeholder in its partners’ community innovation labs.
• Linking the partner universities in Bucharest, Nürtingen, Arnhem and Tartu to local communities by setting up Community Innovation Labs.
• Implementation of blended learning activities on the subject of social innovation in combination with local workshops organised alternately by three of the consortium partners.
• Development and publication of online course materials and an online course concept titled ‘From Idea Generation to Start-Up’ (Output 1)
• The Social Entrepreneurship Community Learning Model (Output 2). This output will document the partnerships’ learning experience from the Community Innovation Labs in order to share relevant knowledge about how universities can partner and collaborate fruitfully with their community environment to co-create and co-initiate social businesses.