• SMART Staff


Nowadays it is important for many universities to adopt the concept of development using the model University 3.0 and 4.0, which means that during their study time, students may not only gain deep knowledge in the field of their chosen specialty, but also acquire entrepreneur skills. In this case, special entrepreneur ecosystem forms at the university, which may become the support for development of youth business initiatives and the creation of students’ start-ups. The activation of youth entrepreneurship in modern times is a long-term source of economic growth and social and economic development of the country not only from the perspective of increasing of employment of the youth, but also from the point of improving the quality of training of specialists and their competitiveness on labor market.

Thus BTEU consistently implements and adopts basic ideas of the University 3.0 and 4.0 concepts. For these reasons a number of activities and projects are being carried out at the University, such as inclusion of academic disciplines aimed at studying the issues of innovation and entrepreneurship, and the formation of knowledge, competencies and skills necessary for doing business in the curricula; opening and functioning of the SMART-caffe within Erasmus+ SMART project; holding of the International championship “Youth and Entrepreneurship”; meetings of students with entrepreneurs and representatives of business community etc.

It was conceived to open a network of youth entrepreneurship support centers SMART Caffes within implementation of Erasmus+ SMART project. These centers are conceived as open centers where students, recent graduates who have initial ideas or creativity but have not enough skills and / or resources to implement them, are invited. SMART-caffe will help them to get appropriate training, and support from mentors for successful development of their ideas. It will also improve the educational experience and prepare future graduates for their active role in the domestic labour market.

September 01, 2020 an official opening of the SMART-caffe took place at the University. SMART cafe is a physical and virtual space, a platform for effective support of students, researchers and external users in receiving assistance from mentors, business representatives and university staff. The SMART project allowed introducing not only innovative approaches for teaching, but also improving the skills of academic staff, and developing students' entrepreneurial skills. Implementation of this project allowed for the establishment of cooperation between public and private sectors and contributed to development of small and medium-sized businesses.

In December 2019 Belarusian Trade and Economic University of Consumer Cooperatives hosted the MiP-BTEU championship as part of SMART project, where nine students’ projects were presented. Their viability was assessed by the specially invited jury. The jury consisted of business representatives (entrepreneurs, business coaches, bank top managers) and academicians. Participation in such events gives students and young entrepreneurs an opportunity to find like-minded people, business coaches, investors who will help to turn the idea into a successful business project.

During the project implementation academic staff of the university was trained by leading specialists from European partner universities. Later on this made it possible to conduct a series of trainings on entrepreneurial competencies for students within the framework of the SMART-caffe.

Here is what a student of the University Daniel Matusov says about the SMART- caffe: “I completed training in entrepreneurial competencies as part of the work of the SMART-caffe in 2021. The training program included 4 modules on various topics. During the training, we learned how to create our own business projects and launch startups, learned the principles of developing our business, and how to manage our time and work in a team.

As a result of participation in trainings under the guidance of experienced mentors from representatives of the academic and business communities, I was able not only to develop a start-up project “SMART weekends”, but also to implement it successfully in practice. My project is aimed at raising cultural level and general outlook, expanding knowledge about historical and cultural values ​​of Gomel region, developing agro-ecotourism, popularizing Belarusian culture, strengthening interaction of students and lecturers with practitioners, business representatives, as well as building and deepening personal social capital.

May 22, 2021 with the support of the University’s administration and the Department of World and National Economy, a “SMART weekend” was organized in Vetka (Gomel district), in which more than 10 people took part including the Rector of the University, professor Sviatlana Lebedzeva, lecturers, and students, as well as entrepreneurs and practitioners”.

Thus, we can make a conclusion that the implementation of the Erasmus+ SMART project and functioning of the SMART-caffe at BTEU plays an important role not only in teaching students, but also in popularizing entrepreneurial activity among young people, creating an entrepreneurial environment, as well as systematically involving talented young people in entrepreneurial activity.

Aksana Smirnova,

Head of International Relations Department,

Institutional Project Manager

Belarusian Trade and Economics University

of Consumer Cooperatives (Gomel, Belarus)

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