Reinventing Higher Education - Towards Regional Ecosystem of Entrepreneurial Education in Jyväskylä

Leena Liimatainen
JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Administration

Heikki Malinen
JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Administration

Pasi Raiskinmäki
JAMK University of Applied Sciences, School of Technology

Satu Aksovaara, Pauliina Silvennoinen
JAMK University of Applied Sciences, School of Professional Teacher Education

The drivers of change—changes in learning, digitalization, the growing role of entrepreneurship, new business models and internationalization—will transform the higher education sector during the next 10-15 years (Ernst & Young 2012). The Fourth Industrial Revolution has already changed the working life and strengthened the role of entrepreneurship and innovation. There is a need for new 21st century skills development, work-related pedagogical approaches and learning environments in the field of higher education. (Charlesworth 2018; Nykänen &Tynjälä 2012; European Comission 2016) The aim of this presentation is to describe how JAMK University of Applied Sciences responds to these changes.


Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciencies (JAMK) will renew its way of working, thus creating a new kind of institute of higher education in Finland. This change is called “Reinventing Higher Education”. The starting point is to provide the highest possible quality with prospective economic margins. The new university is an international community, which is digital, virtual, versatile, and entrepreneurial and facilitates lifelong learning. It operates in close collaboration with the industry, regional R&D&I ecosystems and is supported by cooperation with the City of Jyväskylä and EduFutura Jyväskylä consortium, consisting of the University of Jyväskylä, the Jyväskylä municipal education consortium and JAMK. (JAMK Strategy 2016-2020)


As the impact of the “Reinventing Higher Education” change strategy, JAMK has established and enhanced regional, national and international entrepreneurial innovation and learning networks and platforms. Regional platform has been built with industry, EduFutura partners and Jyväskylä Business Factory (City of Jyväskylä) in order to support R&D&I, commercialisation of research and innovation, professional and entrepreneurial skill development and lifelong learning. JAMK is leading the national eAMK- project network of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences, which is jointly creating a shared digital course offering and working-life oriented ecosystems of learning (eAMK project). JAMK is also strengthening co-working with European research and innovation networks fir example in the fields of scaling businesses, sustainable digi & game ecosystem and the global cross-disciplinary Demola network.

One example of new entrepreneurial innovation and learning platforms in JAMK is the Future Factory. It is an entrepreneurial learning and innovation model where interdisciplinary student teams solve genuine problems or challenges related to real cases in working life, industry or R&D&I projects. JAMK Future Factory’s learning enhances students’ innovation and entrepreneurship skills as well as subject-specific and generic competences. For teachers, it offers an opportunity to develop their pedagogical competences through coaching and facilitating work-related, multidisciplinary learning and innovation projects. It also strengthens the teachers’ competences to coach 21st century skills through experience and co-creation. The model supports students’ employment and strengthens the competitiveness of the industry, educational organizations and regional development.

Conclusion and Future Potential

Since 2011, JAMK has expanded the entrepreneurial education covering all the fields of education and increased the number of innovations within the university and with the industry under the Generator concept. JAMK’s current strategy presents us with a new challenge to create a new kind of Ecosystem of Entrepreneurial Education with our regional, national and international partners. Regional ecosystem of entrepreneurial education in Jyväskylä will offer entrepreneurial learning paths, which are student-centred, competence-based and offered jointly by the EduFutura organisations and Jyväskylä Business Factory. The EduFutura organisations will together offer the core competence of entrepreneurship and innovation, and Jyväskylä Business Factory will offer the business incubator services and provide start-up support for new businesses. In the next stages of development, we need to share good practices more actively between networks and ecosystems, support wider global engagement and keep up strengthening entrepreneurial mindsets of our staff and students.