Helping students prepare for the business world — EduBizz

About the project

Education to Business (EDUBIZZ) is a project designed to help students gain skills they will find useful in the business world. The project connects university students from Macedonia from different academic backgrounds and fields of study to work on projects that Macedonian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), “learning partners,” need to implement in the near future and could benefit from additional support. 

There are several objectives the project aims to achieve: 

  • Develop a tailor-made educational entrepreneurship program for supporting university students using practical work and non-formal learning methodologies;
  • Strengthen entrepreneurial and employment skills among university students through work on projects companies need;
  • Teach students how to communicate, collaborate and coordinate work with individuals who come from different academic backgrounds; 
  • Support the development of SMEs in the country;
  • Facilitate partnerships between the universities and the business sector;
  • Raise awareness in the public about the importance of entrepreneurial education through series of online and offline activities.

The project’s concept was developed by CIVITTA’s project manager, Stefan Ivanovski, and is implemented as a partnership between CIVITTA and a local civil society organization focused on youth leadership development, LEAD (Leadership for Education, Activism, and Development). The project is funded by the National Agency for European Educational Programmes for Mobility (ERASMUS+). 

About its implementation

The project will provide business consulting support to 4 SMEs. The beneficiary companies were chosen based on their expressed interest and perceived urgency for the need to be mentored by experienced consultants and a team of students. Each SME has an interdisciplinary team comprising four students, amounting to total of 16 university students that are part of this project. 

The students have three months to develop a solution (deliverable) that was agreed between the beneficiary companies, the mentors, and the students. The scope and the level of difficulty of work was adjusted for the level of the students while ensuring the students are adequately challenged, gain new and relevant skills while ensuring the beneficiary companies have value from the agreed deliverables.

The teams who successfully complete the challenge will be part of a 5-day study tour in Estonia where the students will learn what sets Estonia apart in Europe (and the world) as a European startup capital and a leading digitalized country. The students will meet with startups, consultants, government officials, and university students from Estonia to learn about the Estonian way of engaging with education, business, entrepreneurship, and digitalization. The tour will be organised after they submit the deliverables to the business beneficiaries. After the trip, the students will use share the newly formed insights and knowledge with the business beneficiaries as well as they can implement these into their personal career development. 


The roles of the project partners

CIVITTA’s role is focused on mentoring the students and businesses and transferring its business and consulting know-how. Besides the core responsibilities of mentorship and know-how transfer, CIVITTA was involved in the concept creation, study-tour planning and coordination, and training the students on how to plan, structure, and present their work to business clients. Students also learned how to create business plans, marketing and branding strategies, and product development plans. 

LEAD was responsible for identifying the students, coordinating, and delivering the training on action plan development, and co-creating the study tour in Estonia, and managing the overall project implementation. 

The role of the mentors is essential to the success of this project. The mentors need to challenge the students to deliver more than they initially thought was possible while ensuring they produce the agreed deliverables on time and sufficient quality. The successful completion of a challenging task will increase the students’ sense of accomplishment that will boost their self-confidence and confidence in the skills they acquired during the project. 

The future of the project — what's next?

The end goal for the project is to create a program which can be adopted and scaled by universities in the country and the region. 

"Projects like this are highly valuable for students, giving them opportunity to experience real-life collaboration with companies and doing work with impact. The most important aspect to make the project succeed and create value is the honest interest of the companies in working together with the students.”

—Kadri Adrat, Partner, CIVITTA Estonia

In the words of one of the CIVITTA mentors, Stefan Ivanovski, 

“I believe the project will be successful if: 1) a few students secure employment in one of the beneficiary companies or some students start their venture in the future using the skills and experience they have gained during the project; 2) the beneficiary companies feel they have gotten ahead in their business because of the work of the students and advice from the mentors; 3) the university builds this program into their curriculum as an elective course that brings together university students from across the country (and even Europe) to work together on projects); 4) more mentors and companies join the program.” 

—Stefan Ivanovski, Project Manager, CIVITTA North Macedonia

The program aims to motivate young people to learn about business and entrepreneurship that will help them in the career development and entrepreneurial initiatives (be they profit or social-good oriented).