To stay number one in entrepreneurship education takes innovation, says Heidi Neck, Jeffry A. Timmons Professor of Entrepreneurship. To that end, in January 2016 the College launched the Babson Collaborative for Entrepreneurship Education, a global membership organization that brings together educational institutions focused on bettering the world through entrepreneurship.
The brainchild of Neck, the Collaborative was created to expand the College’s already growing global reach, and to share knowledge with and learn from other like-minded institutions. “Babson’s role in the Collaborative is not that our way is the only way,” says Neck, faculty director of the Babson Collaborative. “We want to build something based on action and engagement, which is the essence of entrepreneurship at Babson.”
As a result, Collaborative members work to earn points, and they must maintain a certain number of points to remain participants. Points can be earned through a variety of actions, including developing faculty, creating and sharing teaching materials, engaging students in entrepreneurship activities, and networking with other Collaborative members. “We want to see a clear interest in and commitment to entrepreneurship education,” says Tom Simon, managing director for the Collaborative.
To join, interested institutions go through an application process and, if accepted, pay an annual membership fee. They also have to attend the Price-Babson Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators and the Collaborative’s annual Global Summit, which will take place this March along with the Babson Connect: Worldwide 2017 global entrepreneurship conference in Bangkok.
According to Simon, members have been excited about the new organization and are reaching out to other institutions, encouraging them to join. The Collaborative already has 20 members, including schools in Chile, China, India, and Finland.
“We have brought together entrepreneurship educators from around the world to share ideas, create new programming, and connect individuals who otherwise would never have met,” says Neck. She hopes the organization will help institutions and individuals become comfortable with trying new ideas, creating innovative approaches for entrepreneurship education, and learning from fellow entrepreneurship educators around the world.
“We’re working with universities that want to develop robust entrepreneurship education ecosystems, and it’s crazy to think of how many students are going to be touched by the Collaborative,” says Neck. “Our global reach is extensive, and, by collaborating, we’re going to change the world.”—Alexa D’Agostino