Thank you for joining us in Lund for the European Entrepreneurship Education Workshop 2019.
Our two days together started with a keynote speech by Professor Ester Barinaga. She challenged our ways of thinking by stressing what we today tend to take for granted. In her speech, she took us back in history and referred to the book The Great Transformation by Karl Polanyi. Through a historical odyssey, she pointed out why we have come to organise society as we do and why we need to challenge what we do if we want to create a sustainable future.
A discussion followed the keynote speech. The audience was involved in the discussion, and previous laureates Colette Henry and Per Blenker gave their reflections on our roles as entrepreneurship educators. In the discussion, structure and agency in entrepreneurship was emphasised and how entrepreneurs are challenging the rules of the game. The need to look for social values was pointed out as was the need to move away from putting entrepreneurship into preconceived categories such as for-profit entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. Rather, we need to consider entrepreneurship as the multifaceted phenomenon it is – in practice as well as in theory.
The rest of the afternoon consisted of two sessions; one with the previous laureates and PhD students in which the PhD students had a great opportunity to discuss their ongoing research with senior researchers. The other session, led by Jasna Pocek, was a workshop focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals, and possible ways of working with them when teaching entrepreneurship education.
A tradition at EEEW is a banquet in the evening of the first day. This year the banquet was at Hypoteket. It was a great evening and included our award ceremony, which celebrated the winner of the European Entrepreneurship Education Award, 2019, Professor Ulla Hytti.
During the following morning, we had the chance to listen to Ulla Hytti’s keynote speech “Why more entrepreneurship education is not necessarily better”. She opened her speech by stressing that as researchers we should be careful about what we ask when we conduct our empirical studies. It was a stimulating speech, addressing the need for a critical approach to entrepreneurship education, and she believes that the time is right. We should question what we tend to take for granted and reflect. Paula Kyrö and Bengt Johannisson gave their reflections on the speech and they stressed the importance of trying to avoid mainstreaming critical entrepreneurship education – to be critical, you have to avoid being in the centre. Instead of calling it critical entrepreneurship education, we should perhaps discuss it in terms of reflexive entrepreneurship education. Furthermore, reflecting upon our ongoing practice is part of our job and, perhaps, so is helping our colleagues to reflect.
We ended our second day with a workshop in which our aim was to highlight the need for bringing morals and ethics into entrepreneurship education. We can do this by including morals and ethics in different assignments and by giving our students scope to reflect upon those issues. By doing that, we make the social values visible and if our actions as entrepreneurship educators result in more good effects than bad effects we – together with our students – are hopefully taking small steps towards a more sustainable future. We have a responsibility and a great chance to educate change makers and we should make the most of this opportunity and do just that. The final reflections on the two days were from Helle Neergaard and Paul Hannon, addressing the need to continue our work of stimulating enthusiasm among fellow entrepreneurial educators and acting as change agents.
We hope that you all took away new perspectives and ideas from the days in Lund. We hope to see you in 2020 to discuss a new challenging topic!