Having a passion for innovation, seeking for continuous improvement and executing in a lean way are among the core elements of an entrepreneurial approach. As the system grows, however, and a once-startup becomes a big multinational, it is hard to keep the entrepreneurial spirit vivid and integrated. With the aim of bringing the entrepreneurial mindset (back) to the business, several companies are recruiting Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs).

In the most general case, venture capital firms hire entrepreneurs in temporary positions, for them to develop the next innovative business idea that the firm would invest in. While the EIRs benefit from having the support of a solid organization in generating/implementing their business ideas, the organization gets connected to the entrepreneurial community (For a detailed explanation of what EIR is, check, for instance, articles on Forbes and Business Insider).

The applications of the concept has actually spread beyond venture capital firms; various types of organizations are recruiting entrepreneurial talents using the same/similar practice,   in order to incorporate entrepreneurial thinking in the house. Incubators have also been using the concept in their mentor-driven programs.

Recruiting Students as EIRs

Following the trend, universities are also to apply the concept as a method in transferring the knowledge. It is well-accepted that knowledge without application has no real use. Universities have been responding to the global rise of entrepreneurship and start-ups by offering dedicated study programs in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and alike. For direct implementation of what-is-learnt and to create a real-life impact, students of such programs could be placed in organizations as EIRs. The joint action of educators, business experts and talented innovation agents would have high potential not only to achieve success for all sides, but also to generate positive outcomes for the society.

Bremen Steinbeis Jahresbericht 2006 Berlin, Steinbeis Hochschule

A Germany-based educational institution, Institute Corporate Responsibility Management (ICRM) of the Steinbeis University Berlin, is actually piloting such a joint-action model. For the two seminars that ICRM intends to organize in 2016, Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, the designers look for organizational partners that are interested in recruiting students as EIRs.

The idea goes as follows: the organization finances the student’s educational expenses + the student learns about theories, tools and methods in the field + the educators coach the student in developing and implementing a project in the organization that is shaped according to the organization’s needs.

GIG advises ICRM in finding right organizational partners for student (EIR) placement. If you are an organization seeking for entrepreneurial perspectives and interested in commissioning a project to one or more of ICRM students, contact GIG!    

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