The HP Catalyst Initiative helps technical students develop their entrepreneurship skills.

BUSINESS CRADLE FOR TECHNICAL STUDENTS

In Russia, students pursuing technical subjects often don’t have the opportunity to gain practical business knowledge. The Saratov State Technical University (SSTU) is addressing this issue by creating online courses designed to help students develop entrepreneurship skills and ultimately start their own businesses.

Part of HP Catalyst Initiative’s STEM-preneur consortium, the Business Cradle for Technical Students project includes basic courses in e-commerce, project management, marketing, financial management, human resources, and computer technology.

“At least ten business teams will go on to start small companies.”
— Dr. Olga Dolinina, Dean, International Faculty of Applied Information Technologies, Saratov State Technical University

Students working toward their bachelor’s and master’s degrees will work together to generate new business ideas and launch small companies. Web portals—made possible with HP technology—are helping the young entrepreneurs collaborate, learn online, and maintain social networks.

Dr. Olga Dolinina, Dean, International Faculty of Applied Information Technologies, leads her SSTU team in this pioneering project. In the first stage of the project, the team created the course curriculum and teaching material. Teachers will now focus on cultivating practical entrepreneurship skills in their students. “We’ll be helping students to develop their business concepts and plans. And we’ll form at least ten business teams which will go on to start small companies,” says Dolinina.

The SSTU team has also established dynamic local partnerships that will play a crucial role in the project’s success. “We have agreements with several companies who have volunteered to mentor and work with our students in the Business Cradle.”

The HP Catalyst Initiative grant has provided SSTU with a range of technology, including laptops and mobile devices. “We’re providing special courses in the use of mobile technologies and we’ll teach students how to use technology in their businesses,” says Dolinina. “This includes the use of various web technologies to build web-oriented applications.”

The Business Cradle project will also feature HP Virtual Rooms, an online environment for meetings, brainstorming, team collaboration, and training. “HP Virtual Rooms will allow us to combine lectures in the classroom with education through webinars,” she says. “It’s an invaluable tool.”

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