Partners of the YESpecialists project organised an international workshop in Trento (Italy), from 11 to 13 May 2022, with the aim of learning and promoting successful experiences in the field of entrepreneurship education. In this context, project partners from Varaždin County, Vestland County, Tuscany Region, Autonomous Province of Trento, Principality of Asturias and Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality visited numerous facilities in order to identify synergies and learn from best practices. They were accompanied by Vocational Education and Training teachers, youth workers, but also by local and regional officers.
One of them was the Bruno Kessler Foundation (FBK), a top research institute in Italy. According to the latest quality of research, the foundation is ranked as 1st for scientific excellence in three different subject areas, including economic and social impact. With its community of over 400 researchers, 140 PhD students, 200 visiting associates and students, 700 affiliates and accredited students, FBK acts as a science and technology hub, hosting a vibrant ecosystem of joint ventures, spin-offs, projects and training opportunity.
Then, participants were introduced to the SENSAT model, an example of cooperation between the research organization, numerous high schools and the real sector. Throughout the school year, students from different schools collaborated with FBK researchers to create different products ready for the market, which represents a real model of school-work combination.
The model simulates a company composed of specialized departments, where each department has its own area of expertise. In the process, all elements that characterize the innovation chain are covered, including legal aspects, market analysis, business plan development, impact assessment and the development and design of the technology itself. Multidisciplinary work teams are being created and each school takes care of one area of development, based on its specific skills and expertise. Students have the opportunity to understand how research can have a real impact on the market and the local area.
Guests also attended the round table: “Entrepreneurship and youth contexts: megatrend, school, territory”. It was moderated by Martina Togn, President of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs Trentino, and one of the speakers was young digital entrepreneur who shared his experiences of working in Silicon Valley, but also the reasons for returning to Italy.
Participants visited the Istituto Pavoniano Artigianelli, a high school where they were introduced to the Artigianelli ecosystem for innovation. The school develops a specific, real market-oriented, educational model of graphic training. It was good opportunity to visit numerous school practicums and laboratories for innovation in business start-ups and business development. Then each of the partners had to design and present the model of launching similar initiatives in their local environment.
In the town of Rovereto, representatives of all partners were introduced to the interesting project “Progetto Manifattura Rovereto”, an incubator and center for companies with sustainable projects managed by the Trentino region. It is a model designed for sustainable growth that educates the public and fosters the green economy, essentially a platform for productivity with several purposes: office rental, smaller production, test labs, providing opportunities for research, education and services, skills and specialized knowledge. The project is the result of combined actions between companies, research laboratories, business-oriented services and other actors with the common goal of growing environmentally friendly companies. Progetto Manifattura Rovereto plans and manages buildings and infrastructures for green businesses, offering a stimulating, creative work environment through a combination of public and private activities. In addition, it builds and remodels buildings and delivers systems that have the least possible impact on the environment and promotes innovation through a mix of education, training, research, development and production that is used by many young entrepreneurs from this region and elsewhere in Europe.
Participants were extremely satisfied with the whole program of the workshop as it was interactive and facilitated by non-formal education methods. They had the opportunity to get familiar with bests practices and were able to connect to other European regional actors with similar characteristics by bringing to the table specific challenges and working together to solve them in order to secure innovative entrepreneurship ecosystems.