The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Development of Sustainable Entrepreneurship Competencies in Higher Education: A Self-Assessment Tool for Students

Madeleine Larsson, Linköping University, Sweden (Sweden)

Anne Seela, 2University of Oldenburg, Germany (Germany)

Olof Hjelm, Linköping University, Sweden (Sweden)


Sustainable entrepreneurship and innovative green business models support society in moving towards a more sustainable future. Within higher education in Sweden, we have observed a trend of an increasing number of modules focusing on sustainable entrepreneurship. Becoming a sustainable entrepreneur does not only require new knowledge but also new skills, and changes in norms and attitudes [1]. Still most of the offered modules focus on learning about entrepreneurship and not on how to become an entrepreneur. As part of the ScaleUp4Sustainability project (funded by the Erasmus+/Knowledge Alliance Programme of the European Union) we have studied the development of sustainable entrepreneurship competencies of students in two modules, both aiming to develop students’ entrepreneurial skills in a context of challenge-based learning in student-business collaborations: Eco-Venturing at the University of Oldenburg and Environmentally Driven Business Development at Linköping University. We adopted the competence framework for sustainable entrepreneurship by Ploum et al. [1] and provided a questionnaire for students to answer before and after the modules to assess their development. The questionnaire includes questions providing background (general information, motivation, experiences and entrepreneurial intentions) and a self-assessment of the following competencies: Diversity Competence, Foresighted Thinking Competence, Normative Competence, Interpersonal Competence, Systems Thinking Competence and Strategic Action Competence, and for each competency a set of performance criteria where to be assessed by the students. For the period of 2019-2022 a total of 136 and 93 students provided answers at the beginning and end of the modules respectively. For both modules skills development was observed for all or most of the competencies evaluated. The largest development was observed for Strategic Action and System Thinking Competencies, whereas minor development was observed for Interpersonal and Normative competencies. In conclusion, this assessment tool can be used successfully to assess development of students’ sustainable entrepreneurship competencies as well as for learning about their prior knowledge. Therefore, it can be useful for both teachers and students. In the paper we will further discuss the observed development in relation to the aim of modules as well as the challenges we experienced regarding the usability of the tool, both from and student and teacher perspective. We will develop a more user-friendly version of the assessment tool and we aim to further incorporate it in modules to stimulate student reflection and increase their engagement in the Sustainable entrepreneurship competencies

KeywordsSustainable entrepreneurship competencies, Student self-assessment, Challenge-based Learning, Student-Business Collaboration 


[1] Ploum, L., Blok, V., Lans, T. and Omta, O. (2018) Toward a Validated Competence Framework for Sustainable Entrepreneurship. Organisation & Environment 31(2):113-132.



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