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Youth Academy

Examples on how to to build collaboration between schools and businesses

While most people agree that there should be more collaboration between schools and businesses, these good intentions still face plenty of obstacles. This innovation provides schools with examples of successful business partnerships they can model.

Finland 100


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Finland 100

Web presence






March 2017
Through the report and examples we have tried to discover new and innovative ways to build collaboration between schools and businesses or communities. Our goal is also to transform the society’s attitude so that collaboration between schools and businesses becomes more normalized and appealing.

About the innovation

What is it all about?

Why is entrepreneurship education important, especially today? The labor market is shifting to more project-oriented and fractured jobs and an entrepreneurial mindset is becoming imperative even in the traditional working life.

Entrepreneurship education at school aims to produce learners of all ages who are self-sufficient, independent, goal-oriented and team-players. The innovation also creates the foundation for entrepreneurial culture to flourish. In collaborations between schools and businesses, the role of the school or institute is to provide education and guidance as well as transversal and impartial information and skills.

It is important that people begin to view collaboration between businesses and schools as an opportunity instead of an inconvenience. This does not exclude critical thinking but encourages openness and curiosity. The reformed Finnish national core curriculum contains some insight on how to build collaboration between schools and businesses.

One key is improving the school culture. Another factor is teacher participation as well as planning the actions of the educational institute and the curriculum. These aspects determine the quality and quantity of the entrepreneurship education provided. A teacher who can participate will use more variety in their teaching contents and methods than a colleague who has not participated in the planning process. Schools should encourage teachers to take part in the planning process of working life collaboration.

Teacher participation in entrepreneurship education training and orientation has proved to be the greatest factor for starting business collaboration. Another key is active communication. The businesses should contact the schools often. You can also apply a broad resource approach: Could new methods gained from joint productions and sharing, bringing pensioners and parents into school activities or breaking strict regulations introduce new perspectives to the collaboration?

One of the objectives for the reformed national core curriculum for basic education is to transform the methods for teaching and learning. This also transforms teachers' duties. Teachers can allow students to take an active role in the collaboration if it's planned studiously and carefully. This, in turn, allows teachers to take a step back and focus on encouraging and guiding.

Successful entrepreneurship education also requires active leadership and support. The principal's background and education color the school's entrepreneurship education, as well. Research has found that principals play an important part as educational leaders and they also serve as an example and gatekeepers to resources and partners. Principals require support to achieve all this. The big question is: How is entrepreneurship education lead in Finland or individual schools? Schools should invest in entrepreneurship education management and supporting principals to yield fruitful business collaboration.

Youth Academy researched collaboration between schools and businesses during the school year 2016–2017. They collected suitable examples from the project which are presented in the eight steps below. The report and examples aimed to produce new and innovative ways of collaboration between schools and businesses or communities. Another goal was to transform the society’s attitude so that collaboration between schools and businesses becomes more normalized and appealing.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability


The project aims to discover and share new and innovative methods to build collaboration between schools and businesses or communities.


Creating students who are excited to learn, curious, dynamic and ambitious.


Phenomenon and project-based learning as well as different multidisciplinary modules allow (and often require) schools and their surrounding society to work well together. The cases provided can be scaled to any school, no matter the size, if the settings are otherwise sufficient.

Implementation steps

Look into the case examples below, pick one and give it a try!
You can start by reading through the cases below. Think of what your school's level in business collaboration is at the moment.

  1. For beginners: cases 2–5

  2. For intermediate cooperators: cases 6–8 (also 2–5)

  3. For experienced cooperators: case 9 (also 3–8)

2. CASE: Teacher-Entrepreneur Date
A networking event for school staff and local entrepreneurs or business networks.

How: You can organize the teacher-entrepreneur date after school or simply alongside another function. The content and length can be tailored to your situation.

For: Teachers, principals, other school staff as well as entrepreneurs and other significant members of the community.

Why: Because the date can be just a short networking event, it provides a low-threshold start to a collaboration between schools and businesses. It can also establish closer collaboration. Entrepreneur dates increase schools' contact with the business world as well as teachers' business and working life knowledge.

3. CASE: Connecting with Experts at
The Economic Information Office (TAT) provides a useful free online platform.

The service allows junior high school and upper secondary education teachers as well as guidance counsellors to teleconference in experts of different fields.

How: The teleconference can be a 15 minute in-depth look at the lesson topic from a working life perspective. They can be used in guidance counsellor lessons to introduce a profession or career. They can also be a separate greeting for a theme day. The teacher and expert agree on the duration, topic and application of the teleconference.

For: Junior high school and high school teachers, guidance counsellors, entrepreneurs and other business representatives.

Why: A professional network supports guidance counsellors' work, but also teachers who want to bring in entrepreneurship and working life connections into their teaching. The website's search function makes finding a professional to your specific needs easy. Teleconferencing enables fast and efficient visits even with long distances.

Contact: and www.expertnä

4. CASE: YES mentors
YES mentors are entrepreneurs and working life representatives who volunteer at schools.

The mentors provide schools with knowledge about entrepreneurship and the labor market. They are role models for the students as employees and professionals.

How: You can search for a mentor in your area or volunteer as a YES mentor through the expert portal. The web portal allows easy access to experts from different fields and partner with them. This collaboration is free of charge and mentors volunteer their time.

For: Businesses, teachers, youth businesses

Why: A low-threshold method to cooperate with businesses. Improves schools' link to working life and provides the mentors with versatile ways to participate in school activities.


5. CASE: “Amazing Business Race” theme week
During the Amazing Business Race theme week, the students tour local businesses and get to know the local commerce and industry.

How: The students discover what the companies do and more about their field through pitstop s with practical tasks and questions. The questions are designed together with the companies. At the end of the week, the winners will be awarded and students and companies will give feedback.

For: Schools (especially 9th graders), businesses and other locals.

Why:Increases collaboration between schools and businesses, improves student entrepreneurship and business knowledge. Getting to know local businesses. Students learn teamwork skills, self-steering, manners and problem solving skills.

Contact: YES-verkosto (the YES network), founders Tuula Kekki and Maritta Riikonen Järvenpää

6. CASE: SciFest
Joensuu Science Society ry holds an annual science festival where students get to learn about different lines of business and sciences.

How: The festival cooperates with universities' research groups, vocational colleges' different sectors, businesses and organizations to create action-based learning environments and workshops.

For: Students and their teachers. SciFest is mainly aimed at 10–15-year-olds but the programming includes activities for all ages.

Why: Getting students excited about different fields of science and technology. Learning outside school; discovering new fields and disciplines; attending new and innovative workshops and participating in multidisciplinary learning.

Contact: Joensuu Science Society ry

7. CASE: E-school by Elisa
Elisa has founded e-schools where children can discover the wonders of the digital world and learn the basics of programming.

How: You can sign up your class for Elisa e-school. It is available all across Finland. The children are eager to participate as they learn about programming, digitalization and the Internet of Things. E-schools also teach the teacher and encourage them. It can support the whole school in taking the first steps towards digitalization. You only need a positive attitude to get started, the e-school provides the rest: the equipment, programs and instruction. You can also attend e-school at Elisa by contacting Some of these sessions are open even for parents!

For: Grades 4–6

Contact: Oyj, Corporate Responsibility Director Minna Kröger
tel. 050 572 7620

8. CASE: Tieto + The Viikki Teacher Training School learning ICT skills
Tieto and The Viikki Teacher Training School, University of Helsinki formed a partnership where Tieto loaned Google Chromebooks to 6th graders.

The project focused on the digitalization of learning environments and aimed to discover new development opportunities based on needs.

How: Students learned life management skills, research skills and how to process information through the computers' various applications. The students also used them for different types of written assignments, alone and in small groups. The students also considered the visual side in their presentations and included their own nature photos, for example. The icing on the cake was a visit to Tieto in the spring.

For: Schools motivated to cooperate with businesses, everyone promoting ICT and digitalization.

Why: The class and teacher were happy with the Chromebooks and their software. The teacher also reported that their own ICT skills improved through the project and the whole class is planning further learning challenges together. The students were excited to learn about ICT professionals' job, ICT as a tool and the significance of services as well as their potential to build an information society.

Contact:Teacher The Viikki Teacher Training School, University of Helsinki,
Ulla Ilomäki-Keisala

9. CASE: Ready4Bisnes (Salo)
An event for young people to encourage the entrepreneur in them with ideas and opportunities that come from networking.

The event included presentations on entrepreneurship, both in the classical sense and more modern fields. The latter included vlogging on YouTube, popular especially among younger generations. These presentations on YouTubers included information on how to create a career and an image on social media and how to monetize this. The event is a part of a joint project by the YES Network, Junior Achievement (JA) Finland and The Finnish 4H organization founded by Yksityisyrittäjäin Säätiö (Foundation for Entrepreneurs).

How: The one-day event was held at the local shopping mall. It was important that young people were included in the planning and implementation process. First year students of visual merchandising at Salo Region Vocational College took on the challenge as a part of their studies. Local “real” entrepreneurs were invited to spar with the young JA and 4H entrepreneurs and attend an entrepreneur panel. The highlight of the day was the YouTube stars' stories about entrepreneurship. These lectures were open for everyone

For:JA and 4H entrepreneurs and other 13–28-year-olds interested in entrepreneurship. Some programming was open for everyone.

Contact: Salo 4H Chapter

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