Team Academy: A new way to teach entrepreneurship as practice
Tiimiakatemia (Team Academy) is the entrepreneurship centre of excellence of the JAMK university of applied sciences in Jyväskylä. Tiimiakatemia students run their own cooperative businesses and learn with real money and real customers.
Team Academy in a Nutshell
Tiimiakatemia combines the worlds of business and education.
Tiimiakatemia was founded in 1993 by Johannes Partanen. During 17 years, the number of students increased from 24 to approximately 180 learners in 10 teams. All of them will graduate as Bachelors of Business.
All teams operate as independent cooperative companies. Students have to do real-life projects, which they have to find themselves, to cover all the expenses of the company. Projects function both as learning environments (for studies and developing the individual's competence) and as ways of doing business (for team companies). Learning is a process that is not divided into modules or subjects like marketing or leadership.
Tiimiakatemia has no legal control over its team companies; it only provides the coaching for the learning process. The main methods are learning by doing and team learning. Projects offer opportunities to apply studied theory directly into practise and also provide a platform for students to reflect on theory in light of their own experiences while studying.
Probably due to the real life experiences, 42% of Tiimiakatemia graduates have started their own company by the 3rd year since graduation.
Tiimiakatemia has won numerous national awards for its innovative learning methods and development of entrepreneurship.
Many different leadership positions are available within the team and its projects.
No students but team entrepreneurs
No classrooms but an open plan office
No teaching but learning
No teachers but coaches
No simulations but real business
No control but self-organizing
I see Team Academies as the future of higher education if we want to see young people make a seamless transition from studying to getting jobs or creating employment for others. Learning can't be all theoretical and individual yet work is supposed to be social and practical.
This disconnect affects a lot of educated young people especially in my part of the world (Africa) where employers consider many young graduates unemployable because the academic curriculum is not geared to the needs of the world of work.
Entrepreneurship is often treated as an individual activity while at Team Academy it is treated as a group activity which is actually a view closer to reality. This help to diminish ego which often stands in the way of creating potentially groundbreaking enterprises
My vision is to see Team Academy, re-designed for the nature of the developing world, spring up across Africa starting in my country Nigeria through which we will create skilled job creators and visionaries using enterprise to tackle our biggest social challenges.
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