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Manizales Más Scholars Receive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Teaching Excellence Award

Professors Viviana Molina Osorio from Universidad Autónoma de Manizales and Maria Paulina Vásquez Varela from Universidad de Manizales have received a Certificate of Special Merit of the 3rd Innovation and Entrepreneurship Teaching Excellence Awards presented during the 12th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Paris last month.

Professors Maria Paulina Vásquez Varela and Viviana Molina Osorio

Their award winning case history – “Ruta del Emprendimiento”, A Joint Effort to Have Strong Entrepreneurs – is a proposal designed to inspire students to become innovators or entrepreneurs, said Osorio.

Ruta del Emprendimiento is one of the academic programs of Manizales Más entrepreneurship ecosystem in Colombia.  “We started to develop the idea while Paulina and I were affiliates at Babson in 2014,” she said.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Teaching Excellence Awards are designed to showcase new ideas and new approaches for teaching innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education institutions and in the organizational environment. This year the conference received 30 initial submissions; 15 competitors were invited to submit full case histories;  10 were invited to present as finalists in Paris. The certificate of special merit was awarded for the first time this year.  All the finalist stories were published in the book: “Innovation & Entrepreneurship Teaching Excellence awards 2017”.

About Ruta del Emprendimiento

Manizales, a small city in the middle of the Colombian coffee region, is becoming a globally recognized, successful example of how to build an entrepreneurship ecosystem. This is due in large part to a five-year-old program, “Manizales Más,” which unites universities, the Chamber of Commerce, government, LUKER Foundation and other support institutions, to promote business creation and growth in the city.

As partner of the ecosystem development, the local five-university network known as “Sistema Universitario de Manizales” (SUMA), has developed a six-course common entrepreneurial curriculum available to the 35,000 undergraduate students enrolled in SUMA universities[1].

The goals of “Ruta del Emprendimiento” are to strengthen students’ academic and practical understanding of the entrepreneurial process as well as provide them with opportunities to practice entrepreneurial skills. The programs were designed to serve students who are interested in entrepreneurship without consideration for the original bachelor’s degree they are pursuing; it is a chance to create collaboration in an interdisciplinary classroom with a cohort that shares the same interest in Entrepreneurship.

This proposal was designed and led in 2014 by Professors Osorio and  Varela. The Ruta program includes six courses:

  • Entrepreneurship,
  • Finance,
  • Marketing and Sales,
  • Intellectual Property,
  • Social Entrepreneurship and
  • Managing Growing Business.

The courses were designed to give the students a full spectrum view into what it means to be an entrepreneur the 21st century. These courses are included in the undergraduate curriculum as elective courses, and they are offered to students through the SUMA Mobility Program, which allows students to take the courses that they prefer in any SUMA university throughout the city.

The implementation process of “Ruta del Emprendimiento” has not being easy since it has involved coordination of varying administrative and academic procedures in five different universities. However, it has led to a new level of academic cooperation and collaboration in entrepreneurship principles and curriculum, and has also led to the adoption of best entrepreneurial practices, said Osorio.

Ruta del Emprendimiento started in the second semester of 2016 with 85 students – in second semester 2017 it enrolls 298 students.

[1] SUMA Network Universities are: Universidad Autónoma de Manizales, Universidad de Manizales, Universidad Católica de Manizales, Universidad de Caldas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad Católica Luis Amigó