Poltava University of Economics and Trade join the Creative Spark British Council project: a business support program for the education system

Creative Spark is a five-year initiative that supports international university and institutional partnerships for developing entrepreneurial skills and the creative economy in seven countries (supported by the United Kingdom): Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia.

To support higher education reform and reduce the unemployment rate in the seven Creative Spark countries, we turn to the UK experience in business education.

On September 2-4, 2019, the Creative Spark Oxford Conference (Oxford, United Kingdom) was held and all program partners were invited. The conference was attended by Director of the Institute of Projects and Innovation Inna Pakhomova and Associate Professor of Marketing Alexander Ustyan, who is the developer and coordinator of the project.

The conference, organized by the British Council, was based on Queens College and Wadham College, which are part of the University of Oxford.

The event program consisted of two working days and networking. The purpose of the event is informal communication, the acquisition of new partnerships for cooperation, which will ensure the sustainability of the project and lasting impact.

The first day of the conference was dedicated to the discussion:

the results of the first year projects and the planning of the second year project activities;

presentations of the Big Idea Challenge startup competition from London Metropolitan University. Viewing the results of the Video Pitch competition – national teams and meeting with the Champions who were also invited to the conference;

the challenges and opportunities of the program for universities and participants;

conclusions from the expert group on the results of the first year of the program, the impact of the project and recommendations for further action to national teams.

The program of the conference provided for three discussions:

Learning and developing entrepreneurial skills at Creative Spark. During the discussion, the experience of implementing the first year program in Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia was presented and the existing models of entrepreneurship education for young entrepreneurs were identified, as well as approaches to the development of women’s entrepreneurship.

Launching online English language programs that showcased English-language best practices in Creative Spark and provided suggestions for new second-year teaching approaches.

Young UK Entrepreneurs: A Benchmark for Starting a Business. Four young entrepreneurs’ stories about starting and developing businesses in the UK are presented.

Lord McDonald’s (Principal of Wadham College) official reception and the Creative Spark Big Idea Challenge awards ceremony were scheduled for the evening of the first day.

This is an international video-pitch contest, featuring students from the British Creative Spark Council’s Universities and young entrepreneurs. This program supports the creation of partnerships between Ukrainian and British universities that implement joint entrepreneurship education programs. The Big Idea Challenge Video Pitch Competition encourages young people from participating countries to develop an innovative startup and share it with the world.

Three categories of competition give all ideas an equal chance – it doesn’t matter if you are thinking of a big business, an amazing creative project or just trying to make the world a better place. The competition provided for the determination of the winner of the general competition and the winners by categories: digital technologies; social influence; creativity. Two teams from Ukraine have won internationally, winning three nominations!

The winner of the social projects category and the winner of the online voting is the Tamara Ustenko’s Designer Products from Recycled Textile Waste Project, nominated by the Kyiv National University of Technology and Design. For the win, the project team received a mentoring package from British experts and £ 2,000 to develop the idea and the opportunity to represent Ukraine at the international finals of the Big Idea Challenge in the UK.

The international champion and winner of the technological projects category is the PiPillow pillow, designed by Alexander Shimanko, Andrey Zhidenko and Sergey Dmytrenko. This gadget helps to improve the quality of sleep. The project is nominated by Tech StartUp School. The project team received £ 3,000 to continue their development and internship at London Metropolitan University.

The second day is dedicated to the work of national teams on project implementation. The program included three workshops:

National Policy Development – How the program can be implemented into national policy.

Sustainable development and partnership building – how you can ensure the work and long-term impact of the project.

Program Innovations – both innovations and ideas can be implemented nationally.

National teams presented the findings, which were commented by British experts.

The British Council’s Creative Spark project provides an opportunity to develop the creative industries in Ukraine, to learn from the experience of British universities, to expand partnerships to pursue joint projects.