Friesland College

The Entrepreneurial Wheel
Rationale and general information

Friesland College is a Regional Training Centre (ROC) for secondary vocational education (VET) and adult education. At Friesland College education begins in practice. Our best practice is   the ‘College Company' in wich student have to work one year on their own business.  The aim is to give students the practical opportunity  to develop aspects of entrepreneurial skills  and  to introduce them to entrepreneurship. The method is that students work from the principle of  ' learning by doing ';  with a  direct interaction between theoretical and practical knowledge; a question arises from the practice and the theory can be applied directly.


Our vision on entrepreneurial skills is reflected in " The Entrepreneurial Wheel ' consisting of four phases   with a focus on product and ambition:

-          I. Observing yourself and the world around  you. The result s are ideas  for products and services !

-          II. Materializing the ideas ( to draw, to describe , to make a prototype etc. ) The result of this phase is the basic product  or (draft ) service !

-          III. Asking and listening;  peer and customer  feedback.The result is an improved product . Market research is a means to draw up the final product

-          IV. Organizing. This is the final stage putting the product  into the market.

Based on this vision, we designed the educational route on a practical way as follows :

A program of two days during 40 weeks. Two teachers are full-time disposible and several other teachers and guests to take care of  lessons and workshops. Students from different educational programmes  work together on the first  assignment :

1. Observation: Who am I , what qualities do I have, who are you and what qualities do you have ? What problems do you have in daily live , what developments do you see in society ?  What ideas do you have for product to solve  these problems or needs? Through these brainstorm  sessions and on the basis of interests, qualities and the choice of products, several Companies  are  formed, each consistent of 5 or 6 students.        

2. Materializing: In the Company the ideas for products are made ​​concrete; real!.  The students have to contact  manufacturers and/or suppliers.  They  have to take the initiative and describe the services , prototyping , calculate cost prices.  It is a phase in which students actively need to communicate. They have to work together, discuss, communicate, make choices and learn how to compromise.And if they do not fulfill the appointments or don’t meet the agreements, others suffer from it.  In this phase they become also  an entrepreneur as a mentor and consultant.

3. Asking and listening: The Compagny duties  and responsibilities are divided based on qualities ; leadership , finance , personnel , marketing, acquisition .. In this phase a small market  fieldresearch  is initiated by asking and listening to potential customers  in order to gather information on the final product and services tailored to the needs of the market. They also use the results of their desk-research..

4. Organizing: The final product and service are ready now. There is a name for the company, marketing  and public relations can be designed and  the cost can be calculated. In short , there is a written business plan and the company is organized. The plan is approved by an accountant , after which shares are sold to cover  the initial  expenses.  And the costs are in addition to the cost of products and services as rent, coffee, copying and wages. The plan will be presented at the shareholders meeting. Of course they have to work hard to sell their products and earn there money. At the end of the year , the company will be liquidated.  The students are accountable for this as well and they will present their process, the results and outcomes to the shareholders

Read the full case study here...

Success factors

-          A  clear definition of entrepreneurship.

-          A clear  vision of education and teaching about intra- and  entrepreneurship !

-          Using  the ‘SCRUM’ method for a clear communication and structure in behalve of  working together towards results..

-          Working with the Canvas Business Model.

-          Working with the ‘Sprint-method’ that is based on using sources.

-          Flexible enterprising teachers.

-          A location outside the school strengthens the intrapreneurial attitude .

-          Groups with various qualities and educational directions.

-          Working with shareholders and stakeholders such as the ‘Chamber of Commerce’, ’The Young Entrepreneurs Foundation’, accountants  and entrepreneurs.

-          The summative components of each program are included in the program and will be completed within the College Company.

-          Several presentations internally and externally on markets and competitions.

-          Students build a bridge between education and business by their own.

-          Students are called to their responsabilities by  fellow students which increases their  self -confidence and social awareness.  Reflection on own actions and feedback by peers works very well.

-          Important skills  as  leadership , communication  and cooperation are trained in real life situations.

-          Due to various competitions they enter into the public and the media, allowing their self-confidence and knowledge of the world to grow.

The scope  of their studies  and their profession is expanded and broadened.

  • Students making  the change from an awaiting and restrained attitude to students taking initiatives,  choosing, discussing, experiencing, deciding and communicating , all made possible through this student centered and demand- driven educational approach in combination with the real life business world.
  • How students cope with setbacks and problems and encourage each other to overcome and solve them.
  • The very practice-driven dynamic learning situation in which the summative results ( core business ) are validated and approved.
  • Two winners of the regional competition for VET and Higher VET Education.
  • The nomination of two of our Company Colleges for the election of the best student company of Friesland , which  was broadcasted on the Frysian Television.
  • The winner of the Best Student Company of Friesland 2014!
  • On the beautiful turnover some of the students made with their Company.
Margje Visser,