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Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit (IEU) 
The main objective of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit (IEU) is to develop the entrepreneurial and innovation skills of the University of Thessaly students and to provide support for them in undertaking entrepreneurial activities. To this end the I.E.U. implements activities such as: teaching entrepreneurship courses related to entrepreneurship and innovation, securing direct contact with the entrepreneurial community with the help of production and business site visits, the use of well-known entrepreneurs in lectures, seminars and mentoring schemes, as well as supporting student entrepreneurial activities through specialized guides and tools and individual counseling. A mixture of different educational tools is used: team working, speeches by invited – mainly young – entrepreneurs and work with experienced mentors, site visits to innovative businesses, support of student teams through specialized guides and tools and team coaching and hosting of events and competitions. During the program students are expected to organize themselves in teams (simulating a real start-up endeavor) and present their ideas and plans in writing as well as to defend them orally.

Courses

The following courses are offered to 12 departments of the University of Thessaly, including the Polytechnic School, the School of Agricultural Sciences, the School of Humanities and the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, and are part of the Operational Programme for Education and Lifelong Learning in Greece.

 

1.  Introduction to Entrepreneurship  (Winter semester)

The objective of this course is for the students to familiarize themselves with the reality of modern enterprises (particularly the Small to medium-sized and Family Enterprises) and the modern tools of management and to acquire basic entrepreneurial knowledge and culture. It is stressed that entrepreneurship does not only concern the private sector, but also the public sector and non-profit organisations (museums, hospitals, sport organizations, local authorities etc). The understanding of enterprising activity contributes also to the improvement of effectiveness of those that later will become policy makers for the economy or will work in institutions that provide infrastructures or services to enterprises.

Content: the course, indicatively, will focus on questions that concern: What is an enterprise, foundation and organisation of an enterprise, obligations of the enterprise, financing and economic management, co-operatives and their problems, introduction to marketing, distribution, sales, pricing, product and service development, human resources management (hiring, training, wage).

 

During the course:

  • The students will visit 1-2 enterprises related to their object of study and their interests,

  • lectures from business owners and executives will take place,

  • teams of 4-7 students will be formed in order to develop business ideas, with the advisory guidance and support of members of the entrepreneurial community.

 

Method of Assessment: Group project

2. Development of business plans  (Spring Semester)

 

The objective of this course is to provide the students with basic knowledge on the development of successful and complete business plans.

 

Content: the course, indicatively, will focus on questions that concern:

Exploration of business opportunities, definition of the needs of users (market research), development of business plans, investment assessment and planning, financing of start-ups (venture capital, business angels etc), management of brand names and trademarks, development of business collaborations.

 

During the course:

  • The students will visit 1-2 enterprises related to their object of study and their interests,

  • lectures from business owners and executives will take place

  • teams of 4-7 students will be formed in order to develop business plans, with the advisory guidance and support of members of the entrepreneurial community

Method of Assessment: Group project

Other Actions

The Unit also organizes short intensive entrepreneurship schools, participates in the organization of Open Coffee, Startup Weekend and a plethora of similar events. Furthermore, we have managed to built a dynamic network in Greece with the participation of other Innovation and Entrepreneurship Units of Greek Universities, Accelerators (The Cube, Innovation farm, Stage one, IQbility), Co-working spaces (Found.ation), local authorities, and funds (Openfund, PJ Catalyst).

Accelerator program

 

At the time we also run one of the two parts of the accelerator program “Mazi stin Ekkinisi (Together at the Start/Launch)” with the Federation of Enterprises and Industries. The accelerator program aims to provide services and transfer knowledge to scientists – aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into detailed and actionable business plans.

 

Actions:

 

  • Encouraging scientists with entrepreneurship and the concept of risk,

  • Assessing the economic feasibility and technological excellence of a business idea, before the formal establishment of an enterprise,

  • Creating culture of entrepreneurship in scientific potential,

  • Networking and linking knowledge production to the production of profit and the commercial exploitation of innovation.

The Federation of Enterprises and Industries further aims at reviewing the relationship of research and academic institutions doing business in Greece, parameter priority for the development of a dynamic and competitive economy.

 


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Spyros Lazarou Spyros Lazarou