One of Regione Lazio's objectives is to develop professional growth and create new businesses in this area of Italy. One of its companies heads an initiative aimed at stimulating creativity and interest in entrepreneurship amongst students.
An essential aspect of its activity is a program which may be translated as entrepreneurs at school desks. It aims to promote entrepreneurship in schools completely free of charge. The program is targeted at students between the ages of 14 and 16 in years 9, 10 and 11 of secondary schools in the Lazio region.
“When we started collaborating on this project, it had already had a successful track record of 7 years, during which it had achieved high levels of penetration and uptake among participating high schools” comments Chiara Golia, project manager at Opinno Italia. “Our added value has mainly consisted of providing innovative methodologies and content for activities that aim to capture and maintain teenagers' attention and involvement, something which is so difficult to achieve.”
Every year, young students are challenged to develop their ability to design, present and prototype solutions to challenges related to digital, ecological and social change. Participating schools offer their students this theoretical and practical entrepreneurship course, which includes their teachers' support.
Based on the experiences we had in the last edition; the current 2022-2023 course program is the result of a co-creation process. At Opinno, our goal has been to make the course even more attractive to participants, by intervening in both its content and its methodology.
To catch and retain the participating students' attention, we introduced a flipped classroom system, which included activities based on the concept of learning-by-doing. The classes are hybrid to optimize focus, and include visual thinking tools and elements of gamification.
The project road map is divided into 2 phases. The first one covers the training process in 6 modules, from the conception of an idea to creating a corresponding business model.
As well as introducing students to the world of startups and entrepreneurship skills, Opinno teaches them to analyze a problem and define their target audience using the so-called startupper school canvas. This is a similar tool to the business model canvas of the professional world which allows them to develop a business model for their idea, analyzing their potential market and competitors.
The first phase ends with a workshop on presenting each of their ideas to the public, and practical training on 3D printing, laser cutting, software and gaming in the Fab Lab.
To complement these classes, we have worked on providing students with content through a digital platform. This way, at the end of each module they can self-evaluate and have access to interviews with young startuppers, as well as videos and articles on entrepreneurship.
The final phase consists of a regional competition in which each school presents their teams of students' ideas and projects in 2 categories: “Present your idea”, for projects related to innovative solutions and services; and “Prototype your idea”, for projects that require a prototype.
Opinno's goal is to create real and measurable impact through innovation. We don't always have the opportunity to work with the next generation of entrepreneurs, so we are particularly pleased with the work we have done on this project.