Study Abroad with a Purpose
The JCU Institute for Entrepreneurship has been developed in support of John Cabot University's vision that our graduates "should be engaged citizens and should be prepared to be responsible leaders within their chosen vocations and communities, committed to solutions that are creative, compassionate, and just."
As such, the Institute is built on three main pillars:
- creating a culture that appreciates the importance of an entrepreneurial mindset
- the academics that go with it, including courses, the Certificate and the Minor (uniquely tailored to each student's background, interests, and objectives)
- specific tools for the 'serious entrepreneur', such as Mentoring, free co-working space, free legal advice, etc.
The guiding principle is to build community, and the Institute's activities are designed to be inclusive of all academic disciplines; the Institute is also mindful of entrepreneurship as a tool for social change, and it encourages non-profit and social entrepreneurship.
We see our visiting students as a key part of building an international community that understands collaboration and social responsibility. At John Cabot, entrepreneurially minded students will find multiple ways to enrich their semester abroad with unique experiences that will both expand their horizons and enable them to contribute with their own unique skills.
The university has created a chapter of ENACTUS, an international, student-driven nonprofit organization that uses entrepreneurship to create social change. In its first year of existence, the JCU Enactus team won the national competition presenting "Our Common Thread", a project that will aid people in need of the Trastevere community in Rome to pursue a job in tailoring through the refurbishing of second-hand clothes, leveraging the 75kg of clothing per year that visiting students leave behind. They are also working on a new idea, "Project Terminus" , which aims to create touristic services and experiences for socially conscious people who wish to visit Rome. Through partnerships and alliances with local companies and entrepreneurs, Project Terminus will design socially, environmentally, culturally and economically sustainable activities that benefit the tourist, the business owners, and the city of Rome. These will be ongoing projects in which the experience of visiting students could create significant value, especially if they already have an ENACTUS chapter at home.
The Certificate in Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is a state of mind that enables us to identify opportunity and to
marshal the resources needed to go from idea to implementation. This applies to any
human endeavor, transcending the specific objective of creating. One of the main goals
of the Institute is to bring this message to all our students, regardless of their
To this purpose, we have created the Certificate in Entrepreneurship, which provides students with a taste of the entrepreneurial world early on in their careers. To earn the Certificate students will have to satisfactorily complete the following:
- One entrepreneurial course
- Attend 3 entrepreneurship events, workshops or visits organized by IFE
- Write a 3- to 5-page reflection paper
JCU hosts one Startup Weekend a year, an opportunity to generate ideas and turn them into action in 54 exciting hours. This year we will focus on the Art, Beauty and Culture (ABC) sector, and participants will work with other technologists, artists, entrepreneurs, designers, mobile developers and product experts to build real solutions to the art world's most pressing problems, using technology and business models from other industries to innovate and disrupt the arts world.
The Institute works closely with the JCU Career Services Center to develop internships in an entrepreneurial context. These internships can be in different functional areas, from finance to marketing, in businesses that range from consumer products to recycling. Students applying to these internships should expect a highly unstructured environment, with evolving responsibilities. Regardless of the specific functions advertised, the very nature of a small business or startup will mean that the student will be exposed to all aspects of the organization.
With some advance preparation, it is possible for visiting students to benefit from such internships, even for credit. While knowledge of Italian could be a plus, many of our startups are looking for marketing, communications and web content skills to help them internationalize.
Italy Starts is a peer-to-peer entrepreneurship mentoring program where university students who have a bit of business and pitching background guide high school students through the process of designing and presenting a business model; in our Summer I 2018 pilot test, 24 university students are coaching over 50 Italian high-schools students, in weekly meetings over a 5-week period. By encouraging and supporting younger students, mentors will develop valuable life skills, advancing their leadership, problem-solving, networking and general communications skills.
Depending on the courses selected, students will be further exposed to entrepreneurial activities, such as:
Learn Do Share, a program whereby companies come into the classroom with a problem and students work as consultants to solve it; the projects span from social media campaign to market research, internationalization, graphic identity, web design... we have not tried it yet but we could consider creating a cross-university team, for something like an internationalization plan for a startup.
The Elevator Pitch Competition, which at John Cabot takes the form of a one-minute, no visuals presentation in front of a jury. This is the most brutal form of pitch, students who master this can face anything! Intimidating as it might seem, the Elevator Pitch is an opportunity for students to become better speakers in a world that requires a high level of persuasive abilities. This competition is embedded in several courses as part of the overall assessment, to guarantee appropriate training; students can choose to pitch a business idea, advocate for a nonprofit or a social venture, or make a 'personal pitch' to persuade an employer that they are the best fit for the job.
JCU also promotes faculty-led programs in the summer sessions, which can be specifically tailored for an entrepreneurial slant.