Examples of previous and on-going projects
On this page, you can find examples of previous and on-going projects of the School of Business and Culture.
Longitudinal Research on Entrepreneurial Intentions
SeAMK has developed Entre Intention -measurement tool for measuring entrepreneurial intentions, antecedents of intentions and the development of entrepreneurial intentions. The tool was piloted in twelve Finnish HEIs, in six foreign HEIs and in three vocational schools. SeAMK has gathered longitudinal data from entrepreneurial intentions of higher education students over ten years. Research has been done on individual level development and on cross-sectional level.
Entre Intention -measurement tool is strongly based on Ajzen’s (1991) Theory of Planned Behavior. Intentions are explained by attitudes, perceived behavioral control and subjective norm. In addition, measurement tool has a part measuring entrepreneurship competence based on EntreComp Framework. Motivational aspects are also included. One important part of Entre Intention -measurement tool is pedagogical choices in entrepreneurship education. It enables evaluation of the impact of entrepreneurship education efforts in a long term.
Entre Intention -measurement tool offers possibilities to:
- Identify students with high entrepreneurial intentions and offer them special support
- Examine how entrepreneurship competences and attitudes develop during studies, and the impact of different factors and pedagogical methods
- Identify best practices of entrepreneurship education in HEIs
- Comparisons of HEIs, different study fields, different study years
- Individual level development from the beginning of the studies until graduation
- International comparisons
- Longitudinal research on the impact of different pedagogies in entrepreneurship education
Entre Intention -measurement tool has been acknowledged by The European Entrepreneurship Education NETwork. Read more here.
Dr. Sanna Joensuu-Salo, Principal Lecturer
+358 40 868 0144
Business transfer experiences and views of SMEs have been studied from buyers’ and successors’ and sellers’ and experts’ point of view. Advisory and educational services to support the business transfers have also been developed. National level business transfer barometers have been conducted in 2012, 2015 and 2018. They act as a base for awareness raising and policy making. SeAMK also led EU CIP funded project called ‘BTAR – Business Transfer Awareness Raising’, where situation analysis about business transfer awareness raising in Finland, France, Spain, Croatia and Sweden was conducted and report produced (see the report here.) Based on the situation analysis and expertise of the teams, an ideal model for business transfer awareness raising was developed. The final electronic guidebook for Business Transfer Awareness Raising can be found here
Dr. Anmari Viljamaa, Principal Lecturer
+358 40 830 2397
Sustainability Driven Entrepreneurship – Erasmus+ funded project 2019-2022
Funding: Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership
Time: 1.9.2019 – 31.8.2022
Partners: Sedu (coordinator, FI), Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (FI), Apro Formazione S.c.a.r.l (I), Department D’ensenyament-Generalitat de Catalunya (ES), Berufsbildende Schulen des Landkreises Nienburg/Weser (DE), Kurikan Luko (FI), Hogeschool Gent (BE), Stichting voor Christelijk beroepsonderwijs en volwassen educatie Friesland/Flevoland (NL).
Entrepreneurship education has been on the agenda of pedagogical development in all levels of education for years. Student companies have been one common form of entrepreneurship education. Nevertheless, it seems that sustainability is not so often included in student companies or other entrepreneurship initiatives applied at educational institutions. It would be important that those who are considering starting a business also understand the importance and potential of sustainability. Sustainability – from cultural, social, ecological and economical points of view – offers an opportunity to equip students with more positive expectations and images for the future. From ecological and economical point of view, resource saving in business is a necessity.
The core idea of the project matches the international and European need to reverse and lessen the effects of the climate change. The recent strikes with 1.3 million people on climate change is just one evidence that the younger generation is concerned about the future and the sustainability of the mother earth. Therefore, the consortium partners, monitored by external stakeholders, will develop the concept, the content, and pedagogical methods for the Sustainability-driven Entrepreneurship study unit. This will be done by gathering and analysing learning outcomes from local curriculums and developing new ones to match stakeholders’ needs for creating the concept for the study unit. Learning and teaching material will be produced including case examples from local companies highlighting their current sustainability-driven practices in partner countries.
Sustainability-driven Entrepreneurship -project aims to
- improve and increase entrepreneurial competence among students, teachers and trainers
- increase background knowledge on sustainability and sustainability-driven entrepreneurship
- produce learning and teaching material and related pedagogical methods to support the students when acquiring these skills and competences
- create and pilot a competition at local and European level, where multi-sectoral student teams solve challenges given by companies.
The project partnership consists of four vocational schools (VET), two higher education institutions (HEI), one high school, one enterprise and one regional ministry of education in seven countries (FI, IT, DE, NL, BE, UK and ES). Each partner has its own network for monitoring and dissemination purposes of the project. These networks will be involved in arranging local competitions and other project activities. In average, five staff members and 20-30 students from each partner will be involved.
The key target groups of the project are students, teachers, trainers and local small and medium sized companies. Partners will develop the concept, content and pedagogical methods for the Sustainability-driven Entrepreneurship study unit in close cooperation with local working life representatives. Surveys will be used for situation analysis and evaluating the impact of the training the trainers and the pilot.
The activities can be grouped in the following thematic areas:
- situation analysis survey
- development of learning and teaching material including compilation of best innovative practices in companies in seven countries; innovation with sustainable approach; and service design
- development of train-the-trainers material and building-up the capacity of trainers
- pilots including local competitions and European level final competition in implementing the sustainability-driven entrepreneurship study unit
- quality assurance by the local project group including key stakeholders and representatives of enterprises
- impact evaluation to verify the impacts of the implemented study unit among the students and teachers
- dissemination activities including website, social media campaigns, joint articles and publications, conference presentations and the multiplier event
- project management and coordination including transnational meetings.
The project will produce International Sustainability-driven entrepreneurship study unit (15 competence points/ECVET points) with a practical plan including learning outcomes as well as a handbook for trainers and the learning material. Local and international competitions will bring the learning close to practice. Students in multi-sectoral and international teams will strengthen the key competences/transversal skills, which should match the requirements of their future employees better.
The partner organizations will include the study unit in their current/future curricula to sustain the results after the project. National level education authorities will be sensitized on the results in order to present the sustainability-driven entrepreneurship unit as a vital option for educational institutions at all levels.
Dr. Petra Sippola, Lecturer
+358 40 680 7087
TKI Grow - Developing Co-operation of RDI Actors in the Ecosystem of Growth Entrepreneurship
Funding: European Regional Development Fund
Time: 1.3.2019 – 30.4.2021
Partners: Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (coordinator), University of Vaasa and University of Helsinki
In Southern Ostrobothnia a lot of attention has been paid to growth entrepreneurship in recent years. Many projects developing SME growth have been implemented, in which new suggestions and recommendations for further development of entrepreneurial ecosystem have been proposed. The objective of this project is to follow these recommendations and utilize results from previous projects. There is a need for new, regional innovation clusters for improving the ecosystem of growth entrepreneurship. This project is carried out in co-operation with Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, University of Vaasa and the Ruralia Institute (University of Helsinki). All of these universities have long experience of research and development projects related to growth entrepreneurship.
The main aim of this project is to develop RDI actors’ co-operation and strengthen their profiles in the ecosystem of growth entrepreneurship in the area of Southern Ostrobothnia. The specific objectives of the project are to
- classify companies in Southern Ostrobothnia in different growth entrepreneurship categories, based on the model of growth entrepreneurship, and identify firms in these different categories.
- identify and strengthen the profiles of different RDI actors in the ecosystem of growth entrepreneurship and find interfaces for co-operation of RDI actors, and develop a co-operation model in fostering growth entrepreneurship.
- identify the services of RDI actors from the point of view of the needs of SMEs in different categories of growth entrepreneurship.
- pilot these services in SMEs in different categories of growth entrepreneurship.
The long-term objective is to develop a regional innovation cluster, which is based on the strengths and profiles of different RDI actors. This in turn has a positive impact on the ecosystem of growth entrepreneurship in the area. This strengthens the impact of RDI actions, increases the value of higher education institutes in the ecosystem of growth entrepreneurship, and enhances the possibilities for growth in SMEs.
The expected results of the projects are:
- a model for categorizing and identifying growth firms;
- a co-operation model for RDI actors in supporting the ecosystem of growth entrepreneurship in the area;
- identified profiles of RDI actors answering the needs of companies in different categories in growth entrepreneurship, and final publication reporting all the results of the project.
A study of growth companies in Southern Ostrobothnia (Sorama et al. 2015) presented a model in which growth companies were positioned by growth motivation and actual growth. This model can be used to identify the companies involved in the ecosystem.
Companies can be profiled into five categories:
- Nice growth, reasonable growth companies
- High growth, fast growth companies
- Companies with high motivation but limited talent, market or resources
- Companies with good talent, market or resources but little motivation
- Companies with low motivation and abilities, including markets and resources are weak.
The pilot companies are selected from various growth companies, taking into account both the growth target and the actual growth. The selection of the Pilot companies is based on research data and future pilots will focus on the first three growth categories:
- Nice growth, moderate growth companies (2 pilots)
- High growth companies (2 pilots)
- Companies with high motivation but limited capabilities, markets or resources (2 pilots)
In the Pilot-phase, it is important that research, education and innovation actors in the region work together to define their own services from the perspective of the needs of growth companies. The project is related to the construction of a regional services from the perspective of growth entrepreneurship (growth services) and provides accurate information on RDI services suitable for different types of growth companies
Dr. Marko Matalamäki, Project Manager
+358 40 8300322
OKM Profit – More Start-Ups and Growth through Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence
Funding: Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland
Time: 1.10.2018 – 31.12.2021
Partners: Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
The project will identify the synergy between SeAMK’s profile area of Growth Entrepreneurship and SAMK’s profile area of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence together with the combined profile areas (Digital Manufacturing and Industrial Internet + Enterprise Accelerator™). The project will establish a joint RDI platform for connecting the digitalisation and AI expertise into a startup and scale-up ecosystem, converting digital potential into business growth for new and existing companies. By combining the strengths of SeAMK and SAMK in growth entrepreneurship and digitalisation/AI, critical mass in expertise is achieved and impact to innovation ecosystem multiplied.
SeAMK has a long experience of supporting and researching growth entrepreneurship. SAMK has similarly acknowledged expertise in its profile area of automation, robotics and AI. Additionally, SeAMK possesses expertise in digital manufacturing and industrial internet, supported by laboratories enabling simulations of production and value creation processes, and SAMK of boosting student entrepreneurship in SAMK enterprise Accelerator™. These capabilities provide a strong basis for building capabilities needed for the next level of digitalisation. Combined, SeAMK and SAMK can build their profile areas into a knowledge creation and application space that has a strong contribution to innovation systems in their regions as well as nationally andinternationally. In the face of the digital transformation, sharing is needed to multiply the impacts of expertise and to leverage digital potential into business growth. Research verifies that in both regions, there is a need for boosting digitalisation and companies’ growth. The aims of the project address three challenges that concern South Ostrobothnia and Satakunta regions as well as the whole society: more than 6000 new experts are needed in automation, robotics and AI within the next 4 years; over 16000 companies will need ownership transfer over the next ten years; and finally, over 90% of new jobs are created by the SME sector, underlining the need to support SME growth with accessible technology transfer.
As a result, the quality and impact of RDI in the profile areas will increase and successful integration of digitalisation and AI competence with growth entrepreneurship and start-ups competence will be implemented. SeAMK and SAMK will upgrade capabilities and permanently improve expert base, have stronger and deeper international networks and increase the volume of RDI projects and publications in focus areas. New learning modules for students will be designed and the number of students participating in projects in the focus areas will increase. The strengthened synergy advantages and division of work between SeAMK and SAMK will provide best expertise brought to benefit of innovation ecosystems in the two regions. Regular co-operation and co-creation pathways will be established and mutual learning enabled. SeAMK and SAMK will strengthen their positions in regional innovation ecosystems. In addition to skilled workforce for the regions, the impact will be the increasing number of business start-ups and business growth. The results will be utilized in the development of innovation ecosystems in both regions.
Dr. Sanna Joensuu-Salo, Project Manager
+358 40 868 0144
OKM Profit - BETES
Business transfers are essential to the vitality and performance of national economies. Higher education institutions play an important role in developing and maintaining efficient business transfer ecosystems. The project will strengthen and clarify the profile of SeAMK as the leading HEI in business transfers nationally and internationally.
During the project, SeAMK will:
- widen and develop international networks and cooperation through joint research applications, research projects and articles
- build capability of experts through research exchange
- conduct international benchmarking on business transfer promotion practices
- conduct research including comparing successions in family and non-family businesses, examining the family, management and ownership systems in small and medium-sized manufacturing companies in longitudinal perspective, and identifying best practices in supporting business transfers as a growth strategy
- provide science-base policy recommendations for business transfer ecosystems at national and European level.
Dr. Anmari Viljamaa, Principal Lecturer
+358 40 830 2397
Female Entrepreneurs – How to reach business growth through ownership transfers
Funding: European Social Funding
Time: 1.12.2018 – 31.12.2020
SeAMK encourages and supports female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in South Ostrobothnia. This relates to the implementation of external growth strategy for SMEs. The external growth strategy includes both acquisitions and selling the business to a third party. In order to keep the business in a good condition until the selling point, internal development actions are needed. Therefore, SeAMK organizes trainings and lectures about business strategy, marketing and finance. Thus, the aim is not only to support and encourage female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses through selling or buying a (part of) business but also to prepare aging female entrepreneurs to sell their companies. It is important to keep the company appealing to the potential buyer when the entrepreneur is approaching retirement age.
The primary objectives of the project are to:
- enhance the ability of female entrepreneurs to implement external growth strategies
- give guidelines for female entrepreneurs to maintain and develop their company’s performance for the potential sale
- help and support the preparedness of female entrepreneurs to sell the company, including well-being at work and psychological support for the business transfer
- connect aging female entrepreneurs and successors
During the project, female entrepreneurs are offered trainings and workshops in the following themes:
- Acquisitions and selling the business: what are the phases of the business transfer process, where to get outside support for selling/buying a business, how to evaluate the value of the company, where to get finance and what issues are relevant in forming the contract, psychological themes in giving up a business
- Development of business operations: what is a business strategy and how to formulate it; how to create appealing marketing strategy and usage of social media; how to make a budget, follow and report company’s finances and what are the key indicators to follow
- Well-being at work: what is resilience and how to enhance one’s own resilience and self-efficacy, how to get inspired and innovative, how to take care of one’s own well-being
The project provides at least three trainings of selling a business, three trainings of buying a business and four trainings about development of business operations (including well-being). Most of the trainings videos are provided in the project’s websites (in Finnish) afterwards. Additionally, female entrepreneurs are welcomed to workshops where the themes are discussed with a help of tools presented in the trainings. These occasions give entrepreneurs an opportunity to connect the learnings to their own business in practice. Finally, during the two years project time, 2018-2020, two events are arranged where potential sellers and buyers can meet each other.
The target for the project was to reach 50 micro and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). By February 2020, 58 female entrepreneurs have participated in the project and its events. The database of female entrepreneurs exceeds over 100. The project’s facebook account has over 130 followers. Association of Female Entrepreneurs in Seinäjoki and Into Seinäjoki (city’s development organization) are close collaborators of SeAMK in implementing the project.
Training materials (in Finnish only) developed during the course of the project can be found here. These materials provide an opportunity for self-based learning for all interested parties.
Brochure in English: Tips for implementing change of ownership
Sanna Joensuu-Salo, Principal Lecturer
StartUp2 EYE – Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Project 2018-2019
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a cross-border exchange programme, which gives new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in other Participating Countries. The exchange of experience takes place during a stay with the experienced entrepreneur, which helps the new entrepreneur acquire the skills needed to run a small firm. The host benefits from fresh perspectives on his/her business and gets the opportunities to cooperate with foreign partners and/or learn about new markets. The exchange period varies from one month to six months.
Who can participate?
- New entrepreneurs, firmly planning to set up their own business or have already started one within the last three years
- Experienced entrepreneurs who own or manage a Small or Medium-Sized Enterprise in one of the Participating Countries
Results and Impacts of StartUp2
In StartUp2 there were total of 17 exchanges through SeAMK during the two-year project. From which majority were new entrepreneurs who already had a business or with intention of starting their own business in the next two years. Promotion of the project reached many stakeholders throughout Finland from Helsinki to Lapland. EYE program was promoted to entrepreneurs and students interested in entrepreneurship through social media, newspapers articles, email and face-to-face encounters in several events. The awareness of the program was significantly increased during the project. The EYE program is ongoing and Finnish Intermediary Organizations (IO) can be found on the website.
More detailed information about the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme can be found here.
Jenny Janhunen, Lecturer
+358 40 830 0437