DOIT is lucky to have the support of many organisations, initiatives and individuals from around Europe and beyond who themselves are doing inspiring work in the areas covered by our project, such as innovative education, (early) entrepreneurial learning, social innovation and entrepreneurship, and others.
Below you can find our first DOIT Heroes, Advocates and MEP Ambassadors. We will be adding many more soon!
(Would you like to join them – and us? Find out how you can get involved and become part of our friendly and awesome DOIT family!)
DOIT MEP Ambassadors
Nikolay A. Dentchev is Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium. He holds the Solvay Business School Chair of Social Entrepreneurship at VUB, with founding partners Close the Gap, Kuwer Belgium and Euroclear. In addition, Nikolay has more than 12 years of experience in support of student entrepreneurs to develop their business. Currently, Nikolay's research interests are related to social entrepreneurship, sustainable business models, the role of governments in CSR, and the implementation of CSR strategies. Nikolay has (co-)authored more than 30 peer reviewed publications and occasionally serves as a guest editor. He serves on the executive board of the International Association of Business and Society and on the board of co-founders of the New Business Models conference.
John di Stefano is a passionate entrepreneur who loves the freedom to create his own future. In 2014, he formed the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium with the aim of providing a dynamic platform for entrepreneurs to grow, learn and practise, and serves as Senior Business Coach. He is involved in many student organisations and has extensive experience of offering entrepreneurial mentoring to teenagers and youth from around the world. When he is not generating new ideas and working on his own projects, he helps companies and individuals of all ages to get 'unstuck' and explore new sources of opportunity. His mission is changing people's lives for the better by supporting them in creating a life through which they can help others.
"Nothing is impossible! With determination, effort and hard work you get where you want: only in the dictionary successful comes before sweat!" Valeria Cagnina is Co-Founder and Mentor at OFpassiON S.n.c. At 11 she built her first autonomous robot by herself, following the videos on YouTube at that time only in English, at 13 she was named Digital Champion, at 14 she was a speaker at TEDx Milano Women and at 15 she spent summer at MIT in Boston as Senior Tester of the Duckietown project. There she discovers that learning can be fun and at 16 she opens her school which follows the 10 rules she created. In 2018 she was named one of the 50 Italian InspiringFifty. In 2019 she was inserted by Forbes in the 100 Under 30 that will change the future. Today, together with Francesco Baldassarre, her business partner, she has an educational robotics company and teaches children, teenagers and adults in a fun and creative way.
Rozina Spinnoy is a Design Strategist and Social Entrepreneur running her own NGO and SMEs working across Europe and beyond. Wearing several hats and using her innovation and design management skills across a variety of sectors from Education, Equality, Inclusion, Women's issues, Mental Health, Urban Place-making and Civic Participation. An active volunteer and Board member for community organizations, including youth sports and neuro-diversity. Championing the value of inclusive education and 'designing' inclusive communities with BIDs Belgium and Belgium Design Council. Along with the entrepreneurial and digital inclusion project Analogue to Digital, with STEAM and social impact amongst other projects. Actively networking, with attending and participating in many of the European and global conferences across various sectors and fields from design to the urbanization of our cities.
Caroline Keep teaches physics at Penketh High School, Warrington and is Director of Spark Penketh, a school makerspace dedicated to embedding digital skills across the curriculum. Through the first digital creative pathway of its kind in the UK, she has taught hundreds of students Industry 4.0 skills, in 2018 won the TES New Teacher of the Year award for her STEAM/digital learning work and was named one of the top 100 most influential champions for change in the BIMA100 in 2019. Caroline also co-founded Liverpool Makefest, a festival promoting STEAM and maker education for young people. Now in its fifth year, the festival attracts 6,000+ visitors annually, and Caroline has co-authored the framework to roll out Makefests nationally. Caroline believes passionately in providing diverse, rich learning environments in which the creativity of students as "makers" can flourish.
Prof. Johannes Lindner is Head of the Department of Entrepreneurship Education and the Center for Entrepreneurship Education and Value-based Business Education at University Teacher College Vienna/Krems, also teaching at the Schumpeter College, the University of Vienna and the Kitzbühel Summeruniversity. He is Founder and Head of Entrepreneurship Education Center of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (EESI) and the Initiative for Teaching Entrepreneurship (IFTE) along with other initiatives and Lead Expert of e.g. the YouthStart Entrepreneurial Challenges program, with extensive experience in early and youth social entrepreneurship education. He was previously also a member of the Thematic Working Group on Entrepreneurship Education and Transversal Skills at the European Commission's DG Education, among others. He became the first Austrian winner of the Ashoka Fellow Award.
The initiative Startups à l'Ecole ("Startups at School") aims at connecting schools with young innovative startups with the help of mediators (incubators, fablabs...). Students actively collaborate with the innovators through flexible projects and work on creating prototypes or other tangible outcomes. The program was launched by the entrepreneurship incubator Agoranov in Paris in 2015. Since then, more than 1500 pupils and students have benefited from the approach.
Solvay Business School (VUB), in cooperation with three funding partners – Close The Gap, BNP Paribas Fortis and Euroclear – created the Chair for Social Entrepreneurship to bring together both academia and business, become a center of excellence for social entrepreneurship and support social entrepreneurs in their ambition to develop entrepreneurial and innovative approaches for resolving the sustainability issues of our society.
Offene Netzwerkstatt Innviertel is a growing young association providing meeting and sharing spaces and open workshop learning opportunities through e.g. a Fab Lab and wood and metalwork workshops. The makerspaces are open for both school children and adults to develop their own ideas within various topics, with support from expert staff. An important focus is on the cooperation with kindergartens and schools in the form of an extended classroom as well as on sustainability and upcycling.
Our vision at the Entrepreneur Academy is connecting the world of entrepreneurship with the social aspect of life. Empowering people who want to create a real positive impact in the world to become real change makers is our mission. At the Entrepreneur Academy we aim to make a difference in the world. We work with amazing people of all ages, gifted, with passion and love for life and all it has to offer. Our core motto is: Learn - Practice - Improve – and have fun doing so.
Our aims are the integration of all teaching subjects and implementation of Entrepreneurship Education as a teaching principle according to the intentions of the curricula, an Austria-wide cooperation with multipliers in all federal states, establishment and operation of an information and coordination centre at the Schumpeter Commercial Academy and raising awareness of the topic and opportunities. We offer development of workshop concepts, helpful tools for personal development, cooperation and exchange of experience, certification of schools as entrepreneurship schools and networking.
Our goal is to make young people the creators of the future through Entrepreneurship Education. We promote their entrepreneurial attitude through various events: the Entrepreneurship Summit Vienna, the Trash Value Festival and many more. With initiatives such as Start Your Project or the Changemaker Programme, we offer young people a platform and support them with workshops and mentors in implementing their own ideas. For teachers, we organise numerous training courses. Our work, developed since the company was founded in 2000, resulted in the Youth Start Entrepreneurial Challenges Programme, which was scientifically researched as part of the largest European field trial for entrepreneurship education.
In the project, the Ministries of Education from Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal and Slovenia worked together from 2015 to 2018. The aim was to develop an innovative, flexible, transferable and scalable entrepreneurship programme and to research its impact. The programme addresses through various challenges a series of key competences in a holistic learning approach: empathetic interaction, goal orientation, initiative, creative brainstorming and self-confident implementation of projects, and it can be used for different age groups in different subjects and school types.
The UKids project aims to establish entrepreneurship (esp. social entrepreneurship) education as a permanent element in teacher training, in the form of teaching and learning courses for the primary level and projects at partner primary schools in the various participating countries. Promoting entrepreneurial skills and competences will be implemented through initial teacher/trainer education and continuous professional development. The programme will teach children to understand themselves as part of the society and encourage them to assume responsibility for minor social challenges, modelled on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
DaVinciLab's vision is to empower young learners aged 6–16 to develop the most of their potential. We are based in Vienna, Austria, and offer a playful learning environment, tools, and lesson plans to schools and families in the area of Coding& Robotics Lab, Media Lab and Design Lab.
OfpassiON: "Where Robotics meets Passion!" We use Robotics, which is our Passion, to help others discover, cultivate and pursue their own. So Robotics becomes a means and not an end: this allows us to develop in people not only technical skills (hard skills) but also, and above all, transversal skills (soft skills)!
EntreCompEdu strengthens teacher competences for entrepreneurial learning by providing teachers with an easy-to-understand skills framework and engaging blended professional development course. We build creative and entrepreneurial mindsets in educators based on EntreComp, the EU's Entrepreneurship Competence Framework, outlining the skills that teachers can use to facilitate entrepreneurial learning in their classrooms. The 10 partners in this Erasmus+ project will also develop a database with practical examples for educators to use.
Analogue to Digital: Designing Inclusive Education with STEAM & Social Impact. Our mission is to design inclusive Education with a variety of dynamic projects, such as Inclusive STEAM workshops, YouthPreneurs (linking Youth to Entrepreneurs, Innovators, Professionals and Creatives to develop entrepreneurial skills) and Teaching the Educators. Re-designing a new way of Education by linking creativity and digital play. Digital inclusion for neuro-diverse and neurotypical children and youth. Designed by Rozina Spinnoy and her son Harris, who is on the Autism Spectrum. By BIDs Belgium and Belgium Design Council.
Spark Penketh is the UK’s first makerspace within a state school, at Penketh High School, weaving maker education into the curriculum so that the creativity of the student as an innovator can flourish, and providing pupils with the opportunity to develop their ideas also outside the classroom with industry leaders and experts. The Spark Upskill Programme is a whole-school initiative that addresses the current shortage of skills for the emergent job market. In addition to in-school initiatives, they have launched a community programme called ‘Sparked by Penketh’ outreaching to primary schools, libraries and museums.
Liverpool MakeFest is a free non-profit one-day maker and STEAM festival, the biggest digital creative making festival in the UK, ran by volunteers and co-founded by Denise Jones, Caroline Keep and Dr Mark Feltham at the Liverpool Central Library. It has been running since 2015 and is now being rolled out nationally through libraries, having included hundreds of makers, students, teachers, librarians and young people each year to promote STEAM and creative digital making. To celebrate its fifth birthday in June 2019, they will attempt a world record, along with Create Education, Ultimaker and anyone wishing to join, to produce the largest collaborative 3D print in the world (the files to download and join in are on the website).
The 'Fachnetzwerk Schülerfirmen' (an educational experts' network) is the coordinating body for regional sub-chapters of coaches working with young entrepreneurs in schools. It is funded by the Heinz Nixdorf Stiftung. We offer consultation and support for around 580 entrepreneurial school projects from all school types in five states in Germany which use 'Schülerfirmen' as a learning space for entrepreneurial education. Currently we are in a 3-year pilot phase focusing on the digitalisation of 36 existing Schülerfirmen projects in order to develop best practices and develop the Schülerfirmen concept.
Valentin Theodor Mayerhofer, IFTE
Since 2014, Valentin Theodor Mayerhofer has been a member of the executive board of the NGO IFTE – Initiative for Teaching Entrepreneurship and became the Chief Operating Officer in 2018. The goal of the initiative is to make young people the designers of the future through Entrepreneurship Education. This is why the team is committed to helping young people to learn to participate actively in society from early on. Valentin received his Bachelor’s degree in international management and etrepreneurship at the University of Liechtenstein in 2018. His Bachelor thesis on the topic of opportunity recognition and previous knowledge was awarded as the most innovative thesis.
Francesco Baldassarre, OFpassiON
"Computer science allows you to create a world. If you're really good, you can be a God. On a small scale." Francesco Baldassarre is Co–Founder and Mentor at OFpassiON S.n.c. Born in 1992, he graduated in computer science and has always been passionate about computer science and philosophy. In his free time he loves hurting himself by totally immersing in very ambitious computer projects that he shares with other disreputable individuals. If there were one, it would surely be the link between philosophy and computer science. Between an essay by Nietzsche and an implementation of the blockchain, in a totally unconscious way, he decided to make a change in his life by founding an educational robotics company with Valeria Cagnina. Today our goal is to change the educational concept.
Antoaneta Pophlebarova, BalkanKids Foundation, The Dolphins PTPI
Antoaneta Pophlebarova is a never-ending enthusiast to motivate young people to embrace diversity, the power of creativity and social activism and develop social entrepreneurship skills from a very young age. English teacher by profession and youth worker by inspiration, she founded three active enterprises that have been a transformative source in her community in Bulgaria for more than two decades now: Vista Language School, BalkanKids Foundation youth NGO and The Dolphins – PTPI volunteer non-formal group (part of People to People International).
Denise Jones, Liverpool Libraries, Liverpool MakeFest
Denise Jones has worked for Liverpool Libraries and Information Services for 33 years, currently as Development Manager for inclusive cultural and learning partnership programmes across the city and a sector leader with regards to Making and Creative Technology programmes in public libraries. She is a Co-founder of Liverpool MakeFest, the biggest digital creative making festival in the UK, at the award-winning Liverpool Central Library. Denise also directed Liverpool Libraries' Maker Difference project which enabled hundreds of disadvantaged children and young people to engage with creative activities and learn valuable skills. The project built on the success of Liverpool MakeFest and Liverpool Code Club.
We are also proud of our DOers from around the world, who have made their own personal pledges inspired by our project's values: some of them will, for example, "try to develop and encourage the repurposing and through innovation the development of everyday things to develop a collective and creative environment"; "use recycled material and create robots and creative possibilities with the commitment to help the environment, my city and the world, sharing what I have done to inspire other students"; or simply "inspire around and share ideas".
We are also very grateful for the invaluable support of professionals from across Europe who have lent their experience, expertise, ideas and encouragement to DOIT as members of our Advisory Board:
DOIT Advisory Board Members
- ALMEIDA Raquel Maria, ISQ, Portugal
- BONFANTI Serena, Apid Imprenditorialitá Donna, Italy
- BARAKAT Shima, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
- DE REESE Lidia, FSM – Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Multimedia-Diensteanbieter e.V., Germany
- EBNER Martin, Graz University of Technology, Austria
- ERTELT Jürgen, Fachstelle für Internationale Jugendarbeit der Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V. (iJAB), Germany
- LÜTOLF Gregor, PHBern, Switzerland
- McCALLUM Elin, Bantani Education and Research, Belgium
- NARR Kristin, Leipzig, Germany
- WUNDERLICH Mathias, Freie Aktive Schule Wülfrath, Germany