You are a student with a lot of brilliant ideas, but with one question at the back of your head: “Is it worth it?” Yes, you want to start your own business, but you’re not sure if that’s the career path for you? As of recently, there is a way for you to make your own well-informed decisions; it’s called ECN.
What is ECN?
ECN stands for Entrepreneurship Center Network, an interdisciplinary project for all university students in Vienna looking to expand their knowledge and skills in the areas of entrepreneurship and business startups. As part of the initiative, students will be able to compare their business skills to their peers’, explore ideas, and create a network with fellow-minded participants. The project stems from the launch of a new course in the department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), Garage – Business Planning and Performance, earlier this year. (You can read more about it in our previous report).
The network aims to create a common ground between Vienna’s universities, connect “all different disciplines” and thus bring together The Academy of Fine Arts Wien, BOKU Vienna, MU, TU, WU and Veterinary Medicine Vienna. Thomas Funke, one of the project creators, told inventures.eu that the main goal of ECN is “to raise awareness for the topic of entrepreneurship among Austrian students.” He hopes that the network can make “entrepreneurship become a career alternative for students of all disciplines.”
Earlier this week, we reported on the upcoming launch of a Masters programme in Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the New Design University (NDU) in St. Pölten. Its focus will also be on interdisciplinary courses and networking opportunities, among others.
It is never late
ECNetwork gives chance to already established entrepreneurs to search for the best startup project by students. By taking part in The Challenge, young teams will have the opportunity to present their entrepreneurial ideas, and prove that they can be the next big thing.
The deadline for registration is 31 May, so don’t miss it! To sign up, send an email with all team members’ contact data to this email address. What will follow is the first team challenge, to be held online. In this stage, participants will be tested on how cohesive their team is, as well as on their strengths in different business areas. After the online phase, the best applicants will come together with The Challenge coaches, who will help them develop their ideas to a state where they can be presented in front of a jury.
ECN “ha[s] a huge network of coaches from [our] lectures” Funke said. The advisors of the teams seem to be a very heterogeneous group, coming from both academia and business. Follow the link for the full list of coaches under guest professors . The Jury, which will evaluate the student projects, will be chosen from the group of possible coaches “including a couple of investors,” hinted Funke.
The best startup ideas will be chosen on 19 June, and they’ll get a chance to further expand their projects. The awards include space in the coworking office Treibhaus; several months worth of coaching by WhataVenture followed by a slot on the Crowdfunding platform Conda; or an internship at an incubator in New York.
The Challenge is the first initiative by the ECN to gather students from various fields of study to work together on common entrepreneurial projects. For more information, consult their webpage.
For more information on entrepreneurship at universities, see our coverage here and here.