Last week during the Mindtrek conference in Tampere, I had a quick chat with Will Cardwell the new Head of Aalto University Center of Entrepreneurship. I talked to him about how he sees the university being a part of the startup ecosystem and what kind of role should they be playing to further speed up the development. In short – it’s not easy, but there are ways to go about it.
The Aalto Centre of Entrepreneurship was setup to build the future of entrepreneurship in teaching and research. Furthermore, it is also the home to startup activities and might as well work with technology licensing in the future. Cardwell sees the future a lot brighter in Finland these days than say 10 years ago, when we had a previous entrepreneurship boom. A big part of this, according to him, is the youth activity taking place around the country in different entrepreneurship societies.
But what I really wanted to talk to Cardwell about, was the role of the universities in the big picture. As we all know, Stanford, MIT and others are a huge source of entrepreneurial activity and the basic question is – how do they do it? There’s no secret Kool-Aid in the curriculum, nor in the research in the end. According to Cardwell, the universities do best – when they prepare students to be more prepared for entrepreneurial activity as well as take part in developing the ecosystem.
Below is the complete six and a half minute interview with Will Cardwell.