Modern societies are in need of innovation to sustain their economy, but the individual and financial necessity of actually becoming entrepreneurial has diminished: a relative decrease of entrepreneurial activity is observed for economies progressing from agricultural and manufacturing towards innovation driven economies.
Accordingly, States must revitalise education & training to these skills, and especially appeal to the individual for which the (financial) need for entrepreneurship has diminished due to the welfare economy. In the innovation economy, entrepreneurship is key: post-2010 education & training programmes should be reinforced and restructured with that requirement in mind, and this not only concerns mainstream providers such as traditional universities, but the whole educational system. Especially Open and Distance Learning institutions (ODL) have a strong outreach: they have the possibility of addressing the adult population, a population (already) identified to have more chances of success with entrepreneurial activities as opposed to youngsters just leaving the university.
New flexible ways to promote entrepreneurship and start-ups must be invented and piloted. CBVI intends to reach (adult) workers/learners in an innovative and flexible manner, building on successful prior practice, and by infusion of open technologies and services. The vast capital of open & free tools and services on the Internet, is both an instructional asset in the process of social entrepreneurial incubation, as well as a business instrument in the actual start-up of a venture.
Finally, a strong force behind the formulation of the CBVI project has been the declaration of Good Practice for the projects Cross Border Virtual Mobility (CSVM) and Cross Border Virtual Entrepreneurship (CBVE), two projects which have been successful in their approach to improve university-business convergence for ODL by flexible modality approaches.
On the strategic level, CBVI aims to systematically improve discussion and cooperation between higher education institutions (both education and research-based) and regional stakeholders in order to optimise the opportunities for entrepreneurship and the design of the associated entrepreneurship ecosystem. It aims to provide for more transparency of practices to help stimulate improvements and accelerate knowledge transfer on these practices, taking into consideration that these partners are often located in so called science regions, innovative regions, collaborative regions or development regions.
On the tactical level, CBVI aims to support business planning & tenant incubation, utilising social and professional media & networking as a contributor to entrepreneurial success. CBVI subscribes to the need for (networked) business development and joint innovation, with purposive inflows and outflows of professional knowledge in order to accelerate enterprise start-ups. To improve the skilling of individuals in enterprise start-up, it hosts multiple development pilots, which are regional, and are conducted with students, stakeholders, SMEs and multipliers. Both professional intermediaries and experienced entrepreneurs assist in the transfer of knowledge and consultancy to starters. By virtue of the large partner network, the sourcing of expertise is able to transcend one’s own region.
On the operational level, CBVI intends to demonstrate that start-ups can utilise more contemporary open tools, technologies and services, in order to decrease the financial threshold of enterprise creation. Overall, CBVI is to sustain a social and learner-centric entrepreneurship environment, which is benign to (individual or multi-party) transfer of resources concerning market conditions, access to finance, technology, culture, legislation, showcases and practice models: a platform which is conducive to the training of non-traditional learners and the start-up of enterprises.
CBVI will effectuate far reaching pilots on (networked) business planning and successive field-oriented coaching of new entrepreneurs by universities, multipliers and SMEs. It takes full advantage of Web 2.0 technologies and utilises multi-level (open) services to exploit the social & technological connectivity of individuals.
The platform provides a larger social springboard on each new case. The environment has already been the springboard for the launch of 5 multilingual (pedagogically-rich) virtual Masterclasses in entrepreneurship and consecutive business planning trails inside the Good Practice of Cross Border Virtual Entrepreneurship (CBVE).
CBVI performs regional SWOTs of (pre)incubation approaches, education-based and research-based, to establish flexible technology opportunities for connecting starters and stakeholders. It organises open services to host tenants and professionals. It pilots materials, tools and guidance with virtual business planning. It executes methodologically different demonstrations of field coaching for (pre)incubation, and draws lessons from the entrepreneurship-centred environment, the business planning exercises, and the (pre)incubation pilots, to enable more regional and cross-border knowledge transfer, and a higher regional impact.