The project Studentstarter aims to stimulate and to support European schools, colleges and students to start a business during the enrollment and to continue this business after graduation. The Leonardo da Vinci program of the European Commission has granted this project for 2 years.
Students, in the end phase of their study, establish a mini-company in order to learn about business and entrepreneurship. In many colleges students end their business just before graduation, often without a study for future feasibility after graduation. This is a pity because student have smart ideas, have many possibilities, are creative and have a lot of perseverance. Graduation should not mean to stop entrepreneurship and find a job; a combination is also possible.
Students with proven entrepreneurial characteristics are being stimulated to continue the established company after graduation. There are difficulties for this group of starters in The Netherlands as well as in other European countries. In fact: colleges take care for students and not for started entrepreneurs (after graduating) and support organisations (mainly) support started entrepreneurs (registered by Chamber of Commerce) and not students. The project aims to bridge this gap by stimulating the co-operation between VET and Business support organisation(s).
The student should get training and support concerning administration, marketing, acquisition, knowledge of tax rules, governmental regulations for establishing a commercial enterprise, etc. The base for this knowledge and some experience has been educated and trained in the mentioned last part of the study.
Co-operation of entrepreneurs and advisers with teaching staffs stimulates the transfer of entrepreneurial knowledge and practical experience and of course new mini-companies. Staff of colleges will also develop their insight in this matter and become better business trainers! Experienced entrepreneurs who get in trouble because of different situations hesitate a long time (much to long!) before asking for support. Presenting this kind of support in early stage can be helpful and effective in later phase.
It is aimed in this project to develop a procedure of support for these student starters. We will develop and test how to coach these starters; in such way that the starter will not become dependent of this support, that there is an increase of entrepreneurship, that basic rules and regulations are being discussed with a coach and that decisions are taken by the young entrepreneur.
The product to be developed in this project besides the continued student-starters is a procedure of coaching and transfer of information. The (to be) developed procedure(s) will be tested in the partner colleges, improved and presented to interested bodies in the form of a manual and via the website. Each partner country will gather information, and test, improve and evaluated the information. Procedures and information will be published on the project web site.
The reasons for this development are:
* that the already established companies in many situations easily can be continued after graduation
* motivation and stimulation of young graduates to create their labour market.
* the greater part of graduates will find a job and likes this and another group wants to be free, to be responsible, have many ideas and creativeness. The risk of failures can be decreased by education and coaching.
* Initiators have the meaning that with help, coaching and good advises these students can be helped and that it contributes to create more employment.
* SME’s are great contributors to develop the labour market. In average they employ 6 persons (in NL) and support of development of SME’s will mean expanding the labour market and lower unemployment.