VentureWell & Penn State Collaborate
The Entrepreneurial Mindset Connects with Engineering Education
VentureWell and its partner Pennsylvania State University are leading a research study, Building a Framework to Understand the Impact of Entrepreneurship Support Programs on the Formation of Engineers.
In Phase 1 of the study, researchers Zappe, Cutler and Adams, identified key entrepreneurial attributes in developing entrepreneurial engineers. Phase 2 of the study includes convening workshops to bring social scientists, entrepreneurship researchers, and entrepreneurship educators together to collaborate on exploring the attributes identified in Phase 1 and their practical connections to entrepreneurship education, culminating in the development of a white paper to help guide future Entrepreneurship Support Organizations to better develop programs and measure impact.
Phil Weilerstein, CEO of Venturewell, commented on the significance of the project:
"Entrepreneurship training programs are transformative experiences; they enable participants to develop the ability to identify a compelling unmet need or problem and to go on to attempt to frame the solution as a feasible and scalable solution. As a part of this project, we are using an interdisciplinary approach in studying how to measure the attributes that are key to this process. Social scientists who study the attributes as constructs are paired with entrepreneurship educators who teach students these attributes to identify the constructs most useful to understanding entrepreneurial thinking. Through this powerful collaboration, our objective is to develop a framework on how to assess these attributes and provide the entrepreneurship educators a broader set of tools to measure their program impact more fully."
Reka and Deb, through their individual consulting practices, are participating in this project representing the entrepreneurship education field. Reka is serving on the sub-team focused on motivation as a critical entrepreneurial skill, while Deb is on a sub-team exploring the role of empathy in entrepreneurial thinking. Each team is creating a section of the white paper outlining background research, connections to entrepreneurship, proposed assessment measures, practical implications, references, and ideas for future exploration. Reka and Deb are finding the experience to be illuminating as we develop a common language enabling us to understand and work closely with our team members. Indeed, the process of creating the white paper is its own learning experience as professionals from different disciplines learn how to communicate and blend their ideas and expertise.
We expect the paper to be widely disseminated once complete in the fall of 2023 and available on the VentureWell website. We will share findings and additional lessons learned in the fall once the project is complete.
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