Community Capacity Building: The Role of Design in Entrepreneurship
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Academic entrepreneurship refers to efforts undertaken by universities to promote commercialization, start-ups, technology transfer and university spin offs. A growing trend among tertiary students is to consider not only traditional ventures and new product initiatives but also expand to include social ventures that serve social needs. This paper builds upon the emerging interest and explores ways to connect academic entrepreneurship to external communities through design methods. We use design as a core component of all activities and observe how these activities foster ethnic entrepreneurship. The knowledge and application of design methods is transferred from product development to entrepreneurial capacity-building in the ethnic community. Ethnic entrepreneurship is a challenging process of identifying opportunities in a new market, and undertaking innovative projects. Small communities and minority groups often feel left out either because they come from a different background and culture, or because they are unfamiliar with approaches, and lack the necessary networks that are required to become entrepreneurs. This paper presents a pilot study in which we have addressed key entrepreneurial needs of a selected community, through a series of capacity-building workshops based on design methods.