In 2019, the Expert Panel on Startups of the National Research, Development and Innovation (NRDI) Office published a package of proposals for the startup ecosystem, including a proposal on the Hungarian Startup University Programme. The first e-learning course is going to be available in many universities across the country in September 2020, with the policy support of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology (ITM).
There is a significant untapped potential in the heads of university students, and the market is always open to good ideas. However, there seems to be a long way to go before knowledge on innovation becomes widely available and before a good idea can reach the prototype and startup stage. The Hungarian Startup University Programme aims to speed up this process by introducing young people to the world of innovation and providing them a practical guide to starting a business.
Startup skills are in demand nearly everywhere
Students will develop an entrepreneurial mindset and solution-oriented thinking in the programme. The aim is not to produce thousands of startups but to spark interest in this world. However, if they feel like starting a business later on, we will give all the support they need – said Krisztián Kölkedi, senior adviser on youth strategy and startups of the NRDI Office.
The practical knowledge and solution-oriented, entrepreneurial mindset needed to build a startup company are also in great demand at multi-national companies, and there are many investors out in the market waiting for good ideas, too.
Proper knowledge and expertise, however, still need development when it comes to ideas. In order to reduce business risk and provide effective help to prospective and active entrepreneurs and the whole ecosystem, we have to incorporate innovative entrepreneurial culture in education. So far, there has been no single programme that offered the same quality of education in universities in the capital and in rural Hungary. A little more than a year ago, this was the very reason why we started to develop a quality-assured programme that is available nationwide – Krisztián Kölkedi added.
The elements of the Hungarian Startup University Programme
The programme will be introduced to university education as a two-semester e-learning course this September. In addition to the undergraduate and graduate students, PhD students can also join the programme as they have both the knowledge and the expertise to lead an innovative project to success.
The first semester is about acquiring the innovation basics and an entrepreneurial mindset, while the second semester focuses more on supporting, developing and mentoring project ideas, and teaching students how to assess market demand, prepare a business plan and deliver a successful investor pitch. They will also learn how to professionally manage outstanding successes and failures that are so typical to the business world.
Those students who have successfully completed the first semester, and whose project idea found to be good enough by the innovation panel, will be eligible for a monthly scholarship grant of HUF 150,000. This high amount is intended to allow students to devote all their time to the project and prototyping. At the end of the course, the students will have the opportunity to present their prototypes to incubators, angel investors and venture capitalists – said Krisztián Kölkedi.
“Everyone is able to develop, change and innovate in their fields of expertise; so, all we have to do is help them realize that it is possible and teach them how to achieve it.”
Startup education is multidisciplinary, so it is very important that universities receive the programme free of charge, while in turn all students with active student status will have access to the course, irrespective of the faculty they are attending. “The HSUP has a unique model and its complexity has attracted the interest of a number of foreign universities engaged in business development activities (in Greece, Portugal, etc.) – the senior adviser added.
Everyone is able to innovate in their fields, whether he or she is an engineer, economist, scholar, artist, doctor, or lawyer. In fact, almost everyone does it every day, but not consciously. If you have a good idea, you have to learn how to make it happen. Our main goal is to create a culture and supportive environment for this – concluded Krisztián Kölkedi.