The European Centers for Entrepenuership (ECE) NETWORK **Refined**
Instead of creating a new entrepreneurship system, why not better connect existing centers at EU universities?
Many schools have centers dedicated to supporting startups, however in order to better leverage the potential of this network, a European network of these centers can be created. This can be realized though the creation of a shared platform where each EU country has a list of the universities with entrepreneurship centers and a link to their website.
How will your concept support web entrepreneurship?
With one website connecting all of the EU entrepreneurship centers, this will allow for web entrepreneurs to have immediate access to all EU countries and their resources without having to locate them on an individual basis. This network would also provide access to information on university start-up competitions, as well as other financial resources available around the EU.
This network would be able to connect web entrepreneurs in country X with others located in country Y where they could use each other as sources of inspiration. Moving further, by designing some parameters for a type of quotient similar to OpenIDEO's, entrepreneurs would have a better idea about which university has the best expertise and knowledge within certain areas. This allows for easy navigation in finding a university to support what the entrepreneur needs and is searching for.
What kinds of resources will be needed to get this concept off the ground and scale it?
Immediate resources would include funding to create a database of existing entrepreneur centers connected to universities around the EU. While compiling this list, it would also be good to include other entrepreneur centers that are not directly connected to universities so that they will also be able to join the network.
How could we get started?
A first step could be to create a database of entrepreneur centers at EU universities. A starting point for this could be Eduroam (http://www.eduroam.org/), a service for connecting students and researchers with internet access, which has a map of participating university and research centers around the EU. Once this list has been compiled, funding to create a website and platform will be needed as well as a team to mange the site.
Building on the great thoughts, comments and suggestions provided below, starting as a lo-fi concept the ECE network concept could, for example, start with a testing period at the Copenhagen Business School with their Center for Entrepreneurship and the new master program in Bioentrepreneurship aka The BioBusiness and Innovation Program (a program that connects bio students and business students). Leveraging on how life sciences has a strong place in the Danish economy, a so-called "popshop" could be created within this network to aid web entrepreneurs within the life science area with support from both scientists and business students.
An initial "kickoff" event will take place at the Center for Entrepreneurship where web entrepreneurs within this field will be invited to present their concepts and after will be divided into groups with both business students and scientists to brainstorm how to solve some of the current problems they are facing.
To make this knowledge and information available to other web entrepreneurs in the EU, questions and their answers from the event will be documented and uploaded to the ECE website or, as a starting point until the network grows and a website can be created, a Facebook group for ECE Copenhagen.
Please note, this is of course just one suggestion of a university where the project could start. Once the ECE has been launched in Copenhagen (or another city as the starting city) the ECE will expand by creating another "kickoff" event at another university in the EU who has an identified strength within a specific area.
John Tauzel and the ECE Team
Paul van Zoggel