Varaždin County organized a conference on entrepreneurial education

Varaždin County, Faculty of Organization and Informatics and Public Authority for Regional Development of Varaždin County organized international conference on education for entrepreneurship. The conference was held during European Week of Small and Medium Enterprises, inaugurated by the Local Initiatives for Employment in Varaždin County – LEPEZA VŽ. LEPEZA VŽ is the project funded by the European Union Cohesion Fund, with the purpose of promoting entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills as key asset in the process of employment.

The European Commission promotes entrepreneurship not only as founding and leading the company. It is seen as skills and abilities to manage its own life, both on personal and professional level. On global level, development of personal skills such as creativity, responsibility, problem solving, risk taking, team work as transversal skills is extremely important since world is rapidly changing.

Among other things, The New European Skills Program, emphasizes that the Commission will support exchange of best practice among Member States and stakeholders through mobility and cooperation. In particular, the emphasize will be on innovative pedagogical methods – support to flexible curricula, interdisciplinary approach to education and partnership between educational institutions as well as support to professional development aiming at improving innovative teaching techniques – digital tools and stimulating entrepreneurial thinking.

Each year, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the world’s leading research on entrepreneurship publishes global reports and individual country reports of overall entrepreneurial activities and environment. Croatia and Croatian regions lag behind the western and northern European regions.

Therefore, the purpose of this conference was to gather experts, education policy creators and heads of education institutions to engage into discussion about Croatian education system practiced in Varaždin County, but also to hear about Finnish experience, presented by Petra Sippola, PhD from Seinäjoki University. The University is situated in Finnish region South Ostrobotni, which is namely one of the most recognized and dynamic Finnish regions when it comes to entrepreneurship. This is largely due to the educational system in the region, which teaches children entrepreneurial skills from the kindergarten and offers innovative models and recommendations for improvement of entrepreneurial skills, problem-solving in education and society in general.

Apart from Ms Sippola, speakers at the conference were Sunčica Oberman Petrka, PhD, member of GEM Croatia Team; Dina Korent, professor at the Faculty of Organization and Informatics in Varaždin; Lidija Kozina, Head of Secondary School in Ivanec; Snježana Hranić, expert in elementary education and Filip Hercig, founder and business development manager of Mundus project.

The organization of the conference was supported by the project Together for Cohesion: Let’s rEUnite, managed by the Assembly of European Regions. Varaždin County is one of the partnering regions for the project, together with Italian Trentino, Romanian Alba and Timis, Spanish Catalonia and Hungarian Csongrad. The regions organize various events to promote Cohesion Policy and involve citizens in dialogue about its importance for the regional development.