Fostering Entrepreneurship – An International Summer School at the German Jordanian University in Amman Jordan with German Academic Experts and Local Entrepreneurs

Nils Daehne
Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Dresden

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René Thamm
Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Dresden

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The summer school "Fostering Entrepreneurship" in Jordan was meant to highlight interdisciplinary economic contents and experiences of business start-ups and in particular the possibilities of knowledge and technology transfer at German universities. In addition, an exchange between the disciplines should stimulate discussion and generate innovative ideas through the combination of knowledge and techniques. One of the key points should be to expand the view of foreign students with regard to new opportunities to implement selected application and research ideas of foreign students and PhD students in cooperation with German universities, scientific institutions or practical partners. The summer school should also focus on giving students and participants the opportunity to come into direct contact with local business founders and important government decision-makers. Furthermore, it was an objective to impart the current status in the application-oriented field of research of the entrepreneurship through lectures and application examples. Whereby the learned knowledge should be directly applied and reflected. In particular, the use of the TOPSIM simulation game should enable students and doctoral candidates to question their own actions and to realize and discuss their side and remote effects. Another aspect of the collaboration should be the development of mutual understanding in the field of business foundation. This should be reinforced by an actively stimulated exchange of lecturers and local experts to discuss questions on theories as well as open questions. Above and beyond this, it should also contribute to strengthening relations between universities and industry. The issue of intercultural exchange with the Islamic world should play an overriding role at the same time. In addition, the partial use of materials and content from the module "Practice of Starting a Business" as well as content from current research projects should provide an insight into the teaching and research practice of the Dresden University of Applied Sciences.Achieving our goals should strengthened the position of both the Dresden University of Applied Sciences and the German university landscape in general. Furthermore, through our presence in Jordan, we wanted to give highly qualified Jordanian students, PhD students, professors and university staff the opportunity to actively participate in the internationalisation of German universities in cooperation with German university staff.

Strategy and activities: The course of the project was characterised by various steps taken by the Dresden University of Applied Sciences and the German Jordan University. Once the planning phase had been completed by both universities, the requirements profiles of the participants were defined jointly. After the participants had been selected by the German Jordan University, the six-day summer school in Amman, Jordan, began in September 2019.
The content of the programme was selected on the basis of the economic situation in Jordan and Germany. This is because the development of new economic sectors is of crucial importance due to the low economic power and the high dependence on foreign countries. At the same time, Jordan is one of the most important receiving countries for refugees from Syria and, like Germany, is therefore faced with the task of integrating refugees into the economic systems. Against this background, the following four main parts were selected for the summer school:
1 - Social exchange activities, such as discussion rounds, get together or joint dinners, were designed to promote social and intercultural exchange among participants, lecturers, university staff, local industry representatives and other stakeholders. As an example, the students and university representatives from both universities had the opportunity to exchange experiences with local company founders on the topics of the foundation and conditions in Jordan during a joint dinner.
Another highlight of the framing program was the dialogue with authorities of the Jordanian government who are responsible for enacting laws to promote entrepreneurship. In this way, the students and participants became aware of the importance of the connection between higher education, entrepreneurship and the legal situation.
2 - Presentations, lectures and keynote speeches should serve the active and direct transfer of knowledge towards the participants of the summer school. In this format, current teaching contents, practical examples, research results and technical expertise were communicated. Throughout the entire time, students were asked to reflect on their group work in terms of complexity, dynamics and emotions.
3 - Workshop activities should give participants the opportunity to apply and understand the newly learned facts and content in teams. Therefore, during the first days teams were formed and business models were designed. The business models were then presented and discussed to the lecturers and local founders from Jordan. The previous work of the participants in workshops was meant to be the basis for the planned digital management simulation game TOPSIM.
4 - Simulation game, the participants were given the opportunity to apply what they had learned and to better assess the consequences of their own decisions through simulated results. Particularly the discussion about deviations from expectations, self-efficacy and developing side and remote effects aimed at improving the sustainability of future business models or founder generations.
The Entrepreneurship Simulation game TOPSIM - Startup simulates a business foundation using the example of a manufacturer of surfboards. From the business idea up to the market entry all steps of the enterprise establishment are treated. About the simulation process during summer school: First, the teams were supposed to integrate their, in the workshop developed, ideas and business plans into the game. This was followed by the founding phase and the pitch of the business model on the simulated market. The playing rounds took place over four periods. Afterwards the winners were determined by the game results. Finally, the joint reflection on the results took place.