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Entrepreneurship Education Centres in universities: evidence and insights from Italian “Contamination Lab” cases

Giustina Secundo (Department of Engineering for Innovation, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy)
Gioconda Mele (Department of Engineering for Innovation, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy)
Giuliano Sansone (Department of Management and Production Engineering, DIGEP, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy)
Emilio Paolucci (Department of Management and Production Engineering, DIGEP, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 7 July 2020

Issue publication date: 13 August 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Entrepreneurship Education (EE) is increasing throughout the world. In 2012, the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) financed Contamination Labs (CLabs), which are laboratories that are aimed at developing entrepreneurial mindsets in all university students. This study analyses the entrepreneurial learning process mechanisms adopted in these CLabs.

Design/methodology/approach

An ethnographic case study was performed in two Italian CLabs from October 2017 to December 2019.

Findings

Findings demonstrate that the CLabs in Italy are promising Entrepreneurship Education Centres which create programmes to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in students with different educational backgrounds and levels. Interdisciplinarity in the composition of the student teams, virtuous contamination of knowledge and experience between the students and the stakeholders from the entrepreneurial ecosystem are the key pillars to foster an entrepreneurial mindset in all the students.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of this work regard the need to expand the analysis to all the other CLabs created in Italian universities.

Practical implications

The findings provide indications that may be used to guide a university faculty in the design and management of Entrepreneurship Education Centres in collaboration with entrepreneurs, corporations, student clubs, incubators and representatives of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Moreover, the results point out a need to develop interdisciplinary entrepreneurial programmes.

Originality/value

The originality resides in the analysis of a novel type of Entrepreneurship Education Centre in Italian Universities created as the result of an ad-hoc Italian policy.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This research received the Contamination Lab’s project funding: Programma Nazionale per la Ricerca 2015-2020 – Avviso per la presentazione di progetti Contamination LAB di cui al D.D. Miur n. 3158 del 29/11/2016 – Progetto Contamination Lab prot. n. CL16CWFNBS – Linea 2 relativa ai C Lab sud‐isole – D.D. Miur n. 1513 del 15/06/2017- CUP di Progetto F82C17000610007.Acknowledgements: The authors are very grateful to the Editor in Chief Prof Paul Jones and to the anonymous reviewers for the valuable comments provided.Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Citation

Secundo, G., Mele, G., Sansone, G. and Paolucci, E. (2020), "Entrepreneurship Education Centres in universities: evidence and insights from Italian “Contamination Lab” cases", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 1311-1333. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-12-2019-0687

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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