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Entrepreneurship and Initiative

A learning community can be driven by a strong focus on entrepreneurship for different groups of citizens, especially if the community needs to create new market and job opportunities. The private sector should be directly involved in such initiatives.

A new and interesting driver of emerging learning communities is the entrepreneurship approach.
This driver might be attractive to public, cultural as well as private stakeholders, because it includes labour market orientation, development of 21st century skills and calls for a high level of creativity and mixed professional teams.
The entrepreneurial driver can bring together many different organisations in the community, especially when the community faces high levels of youth unemployment and entire sectors closing, not to mention systematic public staff cuts.
Moreover, this approach is fresh and new, often brings visible impact, and contains many motivators for different organisations.
However, the entrepreneurial driver is not likely to be successful in the quest for learning communities, if the traditional definition of entrepreneurship is applied, being the establishment of new product or service based companies.
The modern European definition is far more powerful in the context of learning communities: entrepreneurship means entrepreneurial competences and mentality, and is about including the creation of innovation from idea to product in all community activities, including education from kindergarten to later life learning.

In this context innovation is needed and promoted everywhere: in energy, in social life, in education, in technology – and even in the form of community based innovation.
In this sense, the entrepreneurial driver can be very powerful in creating new learning community infrastructure and community dynamics.

As a relatively new and innovative driver, entrepreneurship is likely to cause certain threats to learning community initiatives:

  • If the traditional definition is dominating, this driver will add little to the development of learning communities
  • Populist approaches to entrepreneurship should be avoided: selling ice-cream in front of the kindergarten is not entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurship should be linked to innovative didactics and empowerment of at risk and non-academic citizens

 If, on the contrary, entrepreneurship is re-interpreted in the context of a learning community, it offers a wide range of opportunities, such as:

  • Offering citizens real-life projects and initiatives
  • Offering at risk citizens new opportunities for learning and work
  • Bringing education and learning closer to the world of work and economy
  • Empowering the community to create new businesses and address new markets, for example through the creative use of technology
  • Offering all kinds of educational and social projects to be stronger linked to the community

Entrepreneurship should be re-interpreted as a driver for learning communities

Entrepreneurship should be exploited to the max in the communities, including building new dynamic infrastructures
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