The starting point of InnoBarentsLab (IBL) was to create an environment for students in a form of a physical and virtual entity where to experience entrepreneurship and to develop innovativeness, as well as to connect practical real-life experience with the university studies.
As a method IBL reflects a blend of various existing models and practices of entrepreneurship development, such as Living Labs, business incubators, business hubs, while creating an approach most suitable for given circumstances.
The target group of the IBL are mostly students of Lapland University of Applied Sciences, while keeping doors open to everyone. Main challenge especially concerns international students and a possibility for them to integrate into working life in the Arctic as well as to interact with local communities.
Our location is just on the Polar Circle – Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi city. If you are an outsider, the first thing that comes to your mind – is there a life out there in far North? Yes, there is, but to make it more dynamic and vibrant we need to employ different methods and hopefully IBL will contribute to entrepreneurship development in this area.
The core philosophy behind the IBL is entrepreneurial learning through an action. Therefore in IBL we are taking on board everything that is about enterprising in the High North, Barents region: innovating, solving problems, experimenting, learning by doing and failing, but also succeeding. We follow Sunil Goose, who said “Business success is a result of lessons learnt from past failures”. It is difficult or almost impossible to learn what hurdles come on the way when just sitting in the class room. Gaining new experiences through those failures will help entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs or simply employees in the companies to envisage potential problems and to be able to find and implement solution for existing problems.
We do not hesitate to put our mistakes or failures on the table. We share and learn from them together. Every next step seems to be more easy and every new task is accomplished with more success. It is almost impossible to measure, but is evident that we grow here professionally all together. There are superstar performers and here they gain more confidence about who they are and their talents. Many times they do not know that they have those talents, and then they have a chance to discover them in IBL. There are less skilled, less confident ones, and probably these people learn even more. Own cultural, educational and personal background can prevent many of young people from an assumption they have some talents. Given the chance to test their abilities, they can be surprised many times themselves. Writing exams in classes, they will never get the same discoveries.
We are living in the age of action, learned knowledge without transferring it into skill is no longer an asset. He or she learns here practical tools, but also we want him or her to have the knowledge, always for the starting it is good to have knowledge. Therefore while acting and doing, we are reading, watching, observing, enriching and sharing the knowledge. It is hoped that when leaving IBL the participants have increased sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, self-empowerment, self-esteem, business and cultural competencies.