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The University of Twente launches technological entrepreneurship MOOC

On 3 September 2018 the University of Twente is launching a massive open online course (MOOC) entitled ‘Technology Entrepreneurship: How to Start a New Venture’. This easily-accessible online course teaches participants the basics of how to set up a financially successful technology company. Using the tried and tested ‘lean start-up’ method, in three weeks they learn how to recognize opportunities and how to prepare and set up a market-oriented enterprise. 

New technologies are being developed all the time, but many of them never reach the customer. One reason for this is that the technology may not be a perfect fit with the customer’s needs, and with this mind, the University of Twente is launching a free online course, ‘Technology Entrepreneurship: How to Start a New Venture’, in which participants learn – in an accessible and inspiring way – the basics of entrepreneurship. The course is aimed at anyone who is looking to start a company to market a new technology, or who simply wants to learn how to do so. The course’s lead educator Rainer Harms, Associate Professor for Entrepreneurship , said: “We want to stimulate young people to start their own business as a way to follow their dreams.” 

We want to stimulate young people to start their own business as a way to follow their dreams.Rainer Harms

Making smart mistakes

The course makes use of the ‘lean start-up’ methodology, which has applications at every stage of the entrepreneurial process. In a series of steps the participants learn how to recognize opportunities, how to identify potential clients, and how to deploy their networks to the best commercial advantage. Running a business is a process of trial and error, and in Harms’ view it is therefore very important that entrepreneurs make mistakes – and then learn from them: “All successful companies make mistakes, but the smart ones make those mistakes early on. With the method we employ, you can make mistakes while limiting the consequences. The idea is to make small, smart mistakes early on, to avoid making large, stupid mistakes at a later stage.” 

The most entrepeneurial university

The course is being provided by a variety of instructors from NIKOS, the Netherlands Institute for Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship at the University of Twente (UT), while an important role has also been set aside for entrepreneurs who started off at the UT. The UT has been repeatedly declared the most entrepreneurial university in the Netherlands, and has been the birthplace of 900 successful spin-off companies such as Clear Flight Solutions and Eurekite. The instructors – with decades of entrepreneurial experience between them – combine the latest scientific insights with an in-depth knowledge of entrepreneurial practice. As with most FutureLearn courses, learners can complete the majority of the course for free or they can upgrade for a fee to receive additional benefits.