The Summer School on Entrepreneurship and Venturing is a three-week academic programme that helps students gain essential entrepreneurial knowledge and skills in an international context to stimulate an entrepreneurial spirit in the community. It consists of three courses: Ideation and Venture Creation (3 ECTS), International Entrepreneurship (5 ECTS) and Start-up Scouting and Valuation (2 ECTS). You can sign up for all of the courses or select the ones you are most interested in.
The Summer School combines lectures, discussion sessions and workshops with practical activities lead by domain experts. Our instructors are experts in their fields and teach with enthusiasm and contemporary relevance. As it is a multidisciplinary course that invites students from different universities, you will get to work together with students from different fields and backgrounds.
The guest speakers of the programme include academics such as Professor of Global Management Gary Knight from Willamette University (USA) and Professor of Entrepreneurship Dirk Libaers from the Muma college at the University of South Florida (USA), and company representatives such as Senior Manager Eleonor Hedström from Wärtsilä Energy, Vice President and Head of Design Niall Shakeshaft from VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland and Head of Design Mikael Leppä from the Norwegian state energy company Equinor.
Each week, we organise extra-curricular activities in the beautiful seaside city Vaasa and its surroundings.
Who is the Summer School for?
The Summer School is for students who are interested to build a global start-up or seeking to work at an established company with intrapreneurial competences sparking innovations that have the potential to address global market needs. We welcome students from different academic disciplines and levels. The programme is in English, so you need to have fluent English language skills to participate.
How to apply?
The application period for the Summer School Programme has ended on the 26th of May 2023. Selected students will receive a letter of confirmation via email latest by the 9th of June 2023.
The number of participants is limited. The selection of students is based on their applications and the agreements made with some partner universities. You will receive a letter of confirmation via email latest by the 9th of June 2023. Please note that the registration is binding.
The Summer School is free of charge for degree students of the University of Vaasa and other higher education institutions in Vaasa: VAMK, Novia, Hanken and Åbo Akademi and University of Helsinki (Vaasa unit). The Summer School is also free of charge for students from the University of Sheffield and from other international partner institutions (the EUNICE network, the OpenInnoTrain network, ERASMUS partners).
The tuition for students from non-partner universities is 150 euros per ECTS credit. After being accepted to the Summer School, students from non-partner universities will confirm their participation by paying their tuition fee online. You will receive further instructions in the confirmation letter.
Please note that the University of Vaasa doesn’t provide you with housing during the Summer School. If you come from a partner university abroad, please contact your local institution about the possibility to receive financial support to organise your stay at Vaasa.
The University of Vaasa retains the right to cancel the programme for unexpected issues. In such a case, we will inform the participants as soon as possible.
- First week: Ideation and Venture Creation (3 ECTS), 14-18 August
During this course, you will learn to understand the process of entrepreneurship from identification of problems, ideation and brainstorming to evaluation. After completing the course, you can apply different approaches for brainstorming and ideation, create early business models and know how to evaluate and pitch ideas.
The course will include workshops, team work and individual work.For guidance, a real-world innovation process and approach developed by Wärtsilä will be used. Following this approach, participants will go through the journey of developing their own idea under guidance of the teaching staff.
The course is arranged in co-operation with Wärtsilä’s Sustainable Technology Hub and will be organised in their facilities.
Tuition for students from non-partner universities: 450 €.
The course is arranged in collaboration with the OpenInnoTrain project.
Niall Shakeshaft, Vice President and Head of Design at VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Mikael Leppä, Head of Design from the Norwegian state energy company Equinor.
Course coordinatorSenior ResearcherSchool of Marketing and Communication, Marketing
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- Second week: International Entrepreneurship (5 ECTS), 21-25 August
This course will help you understand the dynamics of key international markets, especially emerging markets and developing economies. You will learn how to discover, evaluate, and exploit of international venture opportunities.
You will develop essential skills using various tools and frameworks during the entrepreneurial process with particular attention to applying brainstorming and simulation tools for sparking innovative ideas with the potential to address global market needs. In addition, you will learn how to set up an international business plan for the launch of a global start-up or a new international venture at an existing business.
The course will consist of lectures by academics, workshops covering a broad range of topics concerning international entrepreneurship, teamwork, fieldwork (market research), pitching and presentations, individual work, supplemental E-learning materials and collaborative learning to maximise knowledge sharing.
Tuition for students from non-partner universities: 750 €.
Gary Knight is the Helen Simpson Jackson Chair and Professor of Global Management at Willamette University in Salem and Portland, Oregon, USA. He has won several teaching awards and has been an invited speaker at institutions worldwide. He has co-authored seven books, including two textbooks on international business and a book on international marketing research. He has authored or co-authored some 60 refereed articles in International Business Review, Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS), Journal of World Business, and numerous other scholarly journals.
Gary’s research emphasizes international entrepreneurship, internationalization, international marketing, and technology’s role in international business. He is consistently ranked among the top-cited scholars in international management, international marketing, and international entrepreneurship. Prior to academia, Gary was an executive in international business for several years. He obtained his MBA at the University of Washington, and PhD at Michigan State University, in marketing and international business.
Dirk Libaers is the John and Beverly Grant Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship and the director of the USF Center for Entrepreneurship at the Muma College of Business at the University of South Florida. He teaches courses in strategic entrepreneurship, global entrepreneurship and creativity and design in the School of Marketing and Innovation at the University of South Florida. He was a visiting professor at the Universities of Kent, Aberdeen and Sussex in the United Kingdom and the University of Queensland in Australia.
His research interests include technology and academic entrepreneurship, new product and service development in new ventures and established firms, and issues related to creativity and innovation. His work has been published in the Strategic Management Journal, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Research Policy, Journal of Business Venturing, R&D Management and Industrial and Corporate Change, among others. He has written book chapters, edited books and presented papers at numerous conferences in the United States and abroad. Libaers earned a PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
- Third week: Start-up Scouting and Valuation (2 ECTS), 28 August - 1 September
By the end of this course, you will have a more in-depth understanding of startups and their importance for disrupting businesses. You will be able to scout start-ups and analyse meaningful metrics that indicate successful performance and sustainable development of start-ups. You will learn how to identify and evaluate different start-ups and create rankings that can be used to predict company futures. The course supports the development of skills in the areas of analytical and critical thinking, collaboration in diverse teams and business research and analysis.
The course activities include lectures, investor and start-up company guest-speakers, workshops, individual and group assignments such as scouting and pre-evaluation of start-up companies through relevant start-up databases and evaluation of the potential of energy sector start-up companies based on their in-class pitching.
Tuition for students from non-partner universities: 300 €.
Eleonor Hedström works as Director, Next Business Lab at Wärtsilä Energy. Eleonor has a strong experience within innovation and implementation of new business initiatives at Wärtsilä and will give a lecture on their venturing approach.
Jukka PartanenAssociate ProfessorSchool of Management, Strategic Management
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Yekaterina PakDoctoral ResearcherSchool of Management, Strategic Management
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You will receive more information about the Summer School programme and practicalities in June. Some courses may include pre-learning activities.
Please make sure you have all your travel documents up-to-date. It is recommended to book your travels and accommodations as soon as you receive the confirmation of being accepted to the Summer School.
If you are not a citizen of a Schengen member state, you will need a visa for your stay. The accepted students will receive the invitation letter needed in the visa application from the University. Please make sure that you have all the documents for the visa application well in advance, such as your passport, travel insurance, hotel reservations, flight tickets etc. More information about the visa requirements in Finland.
Vaasa - an energetic city by the sea
The City of Vaasa is on the Western coast of Finland surrounded by the Kvarken Archipelago. The unique location is just a stone’s throw away from the UNESCO World Heritage site. With 67.000 inhabitants and 12.000 students, Vaasa is the educational, cultural and tourist centre of Western Finland. It is also the energy hub of the Nordic countries: a significant share of Finland's and Scandinavian's energy technological industry is concentrated to the Vaasa region.
Our beautiful maritime campus is located in Palosaari, a short walk away from the Vaasa city centre.
There are many possible ways to travel to Vaasa depending on your departure location and travelling preferences. Usually the easiest way to reach Vaasa from aboard is to fly to the Helsinki airport and from there, continue with a flight to the Vaasa Airport or by train to the Vaasa train station. There are three daily flights from Helsinki to Vaasa and several daily train connections. Please visit the Finnish rail company VR’s website for more information about train connections.
If you have questions related to course contents and arrangements, please contact the course coordinators. You will find the contact details below the course description.
In practical matters, please contact Specialist Ville Lempola, firstname.lastname@example.org (on vacation 28.6-23.7.2023).
I can say this is one of the best experiences I’ve had in my studies so far!