At this point we have concluded our visits to two of our collaborators during the tour, Drivhuset and The Academic Society. Being the driving forces among student entrepreneurshio in their particular domain, read about their work and how they contribute to student entrepreneurship in a region that alone is housing 60 000 students.
While many would associate the student phase with exam anxiety or excessive use of caffeine, it would be easy to assume that entrepreneurship would play a small part in the life of students. In Lund and Malmö however, the entrepreneurial spirit is more present than you'd think; given you know where to look for it. Together the two cities is home to around 60 000 students and therefore houses a string of actors whose main mission is to support students in different endeavours. Drivhuset in Malmö help students develop their business ideas and are housed directly in the Niagara building of Malmö University. They host everything from breakfeasts (one we got to thoroughly enjoy when we set up our landing site there, see picture) to workshops and a summer accelerator for those who choose to enter their network. Similarily, Venturelab helps students at Lund University develop their business ideas and hands out a stipend through Leapfrogs for the entrepreneurs who pitch in their idea and want to devote themselves to it during the summer.
Another central student hub in Lund is the Academic Society, a student association in Lund founded in 1830. Together with the rest of the organisations in Studentlund they amount to around 20 000 student members. The society's main mission is to unite students, teachers, and officials at the university which they do through culture driven activities by students, i.e with the (in)famous "spex" associations, committees that works with diverse activities such as poetry, costumes etc and of course their partner associations. Since most activities are based on a voluntary approach they seem to have found the driving forces forces that really engage students to create and develop concepts by their own volition, something that is much akin to a unique set of entrepreneurial characteristics.
"One of the toughest challenges for entrepreneurs who also are students, is how to turn an idea into reality when you don’t have any money to fund your new idea. Since you’re a student, you will have to make it on a minimal budget while you are studying fulltime and bring your a-game.", says Nathalie Taurianen, communications officer at the society.
A big part of their work to enable students to further their creative ambitions is their Project Fund:
"During the spring of 2011, the Academic Society started a fund with the hope of encouraging creative projects and ideas that would broaden the range of Lund’s student life and make Lund an even more eventful place than it already is. The Project Fund has supported a variety of activities such as an entrepreneur contest, a festival with student organizations performing, a snowboard festival in Lundagård to the realisation of new student organisations in Lund".
She continues: "At the Academic Society we believe that it is from experience that students entrepreneurial skills develop. This is one of the reasons why we think that it is important to provide resources for new ideas and to help continue the innovation of students in Lund."
As such, I believe the value of collaboration with our aforementioned partners for the Creative Tour has been in sharing these prospects for the students; by providing the right networks to find resources and also facilitate the meetings for entrepreneurial students to not only develop their ideas, but navigating them to the right avenues to take them one step further. Lund and Malmö is as much the potential of its people as it is its physical conditions for technical or business innovation. And at the moment it's sitting on the potential force of 60 000 at the least, ready to dive in to create smarter societies at a moments notice.