Entrepreneurial leadership and strategy, a key element, to promote opportunities for youth entrepreneurship


This week the EU-Africa business forum took place, where MSM’s Dr. Huub Mudde was invited as a speaker in the workshop “Fostering Higher Education-Business cooperation: promoting opportunities for youth entrepreneurship”. The forum is the main event preceding the European Union - African Union summit and provides the EU and African private sectors with a platform to identify and consolidate joint opportunities for sustainable investment and jobs.

The workshop “Fostering Higher Education-Business cooperation” addressed youth entrepreneurship through Higher education and business cooperation. Over a 100 participants attended the session where the floor was given to African and European higher education actors, researchers and enterprises to discuss the challenges and way forward of cooperation between the higher education and business sector.

Dr. Huub Mudde, Assistant Professor and Senior Consultant at MSM took part in the panel to share his knowledge and insights as an expert in the field of entrepreneurial universities in emerging economies and leading multiple institutional capacity building projects. On the question, what are the key elements that are needed to build successful partnerships between education, research and business to support youth entrepreneurship? Dr. Mudde shared that a strategic approach carried by an actively committed leadership is key.

“Too often this is dependent on individuals, who could do great things but, in the end, it is about institutionalization to achieve real change and sustainability”, he shared.

Through his many years of experience working with universities, ministries and vocational education institutions, Dr. Mudde his research has found that the involvement of high-level management really matters on this topic.

“When a university president is actively involved in supporting creative students who want to realize a business idea, it was found that the students can more easily find their way within the bureaucracy of the university. Through this active leadership, students are found to perform better and faculty are able to be more innovative, creative and client oriented”, he added.

To the question “what is the main achievement of your project you are most proud of?”, Dr. Mudde shared the example of the Bright Future in Agriculture project in Ethiopia. In this project, academia and the practitioners in the field of the dairy sector collaborated to strengthen the curriculum. Instead of having a solely academic program, the teachers were trained by the practitioners to experience what working in the field is like. These traineeships were very positively reviewed and the knowledge the teachers took from this experience is valuable input to transfer to the students and include in the curriculum. Through this university – business collaboration, the curriculum has been strengthened and students are being better equipped to enter the labor market. 

Furthermore, the panel discussed opportunities and challenges of Higher education and business cooperation at the benefit of all organizations involved and of young people entering the labour market. Concrete ways to support universities in becoming more innovative and entrepreneurial and businesses in getting access to universities know-how and innovations were shared.

As a take-home message, Dr. Mudde once more emphasized the importance of combining entrepreneurial leadership and strategy to build successful university and business partnerships that strengthen the opportunities for youth entrepreneurship.