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Teaching sustainable entrepreneurship to engineering students: the case of Delft University of Technology

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Sustainability, enhancement of personal skills, social aspects of technology, management and entrepreneurship are of increasing concern for engineers and therefore for engineering education. In 1996 at Delft University of Technology this led to the introduction of a subject on sustainable entrepreneurship and technology in the course programmes of Chemical Engineering and Materials Sciences Engineering. This subject combines lectures, project work in which a business plan is written, sustainability and presentation training. This paper shows that it has been possible to combine entrepreneurship, sustainability and project education successfully in a subject for undergraduate engineering students and describes background, assumptions, outline, results and recent adjustments of this subject. It includes a discussion on how to integrate sustainability and entrepreneurship in terms of triple P (People, Profit, Planet) and how to incorporate it pragmatically in the key elements of a business plan: (1) business idea, mission and strategy; (2) context, stakeholder and market analysis; (3) marketing; (4) production; (5) organisation and management; (6) finance and reporting. Attention is paid to results regarding the business plan, spin-off like start-ups and also to the learning results of both students and lecturers. It ends drawing some lessons derived from the subject's results and the learning experiences of both students and lecturers.

Keywords: Engineering education; Project education; Skills; Sustainable entrepreneurship

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03043790600566979

Affiliations: 1: Kluyver Institute of Biotechnology, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 67, NL-2628, BC, Delft, The Netherlands 2: Technology Dynamics & Sustainable Development Group, Faculty of Technology, Policy, Management, Delft University of Technology, Jaffalaan 5, NL-2628, BX, Delft, The Netherlands 3: Contract Management Office, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, Lorentzweg 1, NL-2628, CJ, Delft, The Netherlands 4: SMC bv, Postbox 59, NL-2270, AB, Voorburg, The Netherlands 5: Institute for Technology & Communication, Faculty of Technology, Policy, Management, Delft University of Technology, Jaffalaan 5, NL-2628, BX, Delft, The Netherlands

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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