Problem: The international school of entrepreneurship “Team Academy” considers lectures, classrooms that place students in fixed positions, extreme control, little practice and standardized testing as ineffective teaching methods. Conceived and founded in Finland in 1993, this business school practices free education, where the students participate in groups of entrepreneurs, classrooms are substituted by open offices, teachers are replaced by tutors and the students work in and manage real companies. The project soon spread to other countries and is currently operating in Holland, Spain, France, the UK, Hungary, Australia and Brazil.
Solutions: With the Team Academy method, the students create a company on the first day of class and spend the rest of their time in the university working to make the company a success. There are very few theoretical classes and lots of practical classes. There are no tests at all. All of the assessments are related to the performance of the company, which is administered by the team. One of the main points to be considered is customer satisfaction. The groups offer services is several areas, including marketing, event production, promotion and training.
In the Team Academy at the University of Mondragon in Spain for example, the students are encouraged to create a company in the first year and then, travel the world, using the money made by the business, to develop entrepreneurship projects. In the school, values such as honesty, transparency, respect and responsibility are part of daily life. One of the groups that graduated from the university, known as Global Futurizer, visited Brazil in 2012 to promote this innovative initiative in meetings with companies, professionals and students. The method of the school is also used in study programs for professionals who have already qualified.
Outcomes: Students learn through practice and become the owners of their own businesses and consequently, their life plans. This method can be found in several countries and has already won several prizes in Finland and Europe. In Finland, 91% of the graduates are already active in the job market six months after they graduate, while 37% are entrepreneurs six months after they finish college and 47% become entrepreneurs within two years of graduating.