Open Mind project
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Open Mind project

Open Mind is VUZF University of Finance Business and Entrepreneurship Erasmus+ project (in partnership with seven other institutions), which aims at promoting Social Entrepreneurship to female learners and students from non-business studies through an innovative gamified open online course.

Despite the positive impact that social enterprises have on the economy and society in general, currently the majority of entrepreneurship courses are offered in business and economic studies, so in fact most students have no possibility of taking part in entrepreneurial courses and programs. Eurostat and GEM data show that two-thirds of young people and women in European Union believe they do not have the knowledge or skills to start a business, which is one of the most significant barriers to business creation.

Investing in entrepreneurship education is one of the highest return investments Europe can make, the Entrepreneurship Action Plan 2020 stresses. This requires the transversal competences, required in social entrepreneurship to become mainstream – not only for students in business studies, but also for those in humanities, arts, sciences and technologies.

To address these challenges, 8 organizations from Bulgaria, Greece, Poland, Romania and UK will jointly develop and pilot an innovative gamified open online course in social entrepreneurship for women and students from non-business studies. The initiative involves: VUZF University of Finance, Business and Entrepreneurship (Project Coordinator), Business Foundation for Education, “D.A.Tsenov” Academy of Economics and the technological company 11235 Ltd from Bulgaria; Institute of Entrepreneurship Development in Greece, University of Lodz - Poland, University Titu Maioerescu – Romania and theUniversity of Sheffield, UK.

In the next couple of years the partnership will produce three main intellectual outputs:
1. Massive online open course (MOOC) “Introduction in Social Entrepreneurship” for women and students from diverse fields of study.
It will introduce students to the fundamentals of social entrepreneurship: identify opportunity, create a business model, prepare a business plan, attract investors, learn how to establish, effectively manage and communicate the activity of a social startup, etc. The course will also contain an E-book of 50 inspiring female social start-ups.

2. Innovative gamified online platform that will use game design elements to create a highly participative and inspiring learning environment, in which students will explore business concepts and develop key entrepreneurship skills and mindset, while dealing with real cases and challenges. The platform will operate in five  languages (EN, BG, GR, PL, RO) and will be maintained at least until 2020. 60 trainers will be trained to provide ongoing support to learners. At least 600 students will be enrolled in the course till the end of the project.

3. Impact assessment report will help outline the major outcomes of the project and attract strategic support for the initiative after the project lifetime. It will be presented during the final events in partner countries.

Gamification is one of the latest trends in the e-learning community that uses game mechanics and characteristics like goals, missions, rules, playfulness, elements of fun, feedback, reward and promotions, applies them to solve the real-world business problem and rewards target user behaviors. Studies show the positive impact digital games and gamification have on learning: they improve self-confidence, motivation and positive engagement with learning; support the development of problem solving and social skills.

Project No: 2016-1-BG01-KA203-023754 
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.  

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