WiTECH – Entrepreneurship for Women in Technology

WiTECH (Entrepreneurship for Women in Tech), a European education project fully funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, is designed to encourage women to stay in the ICT sector and to empower them to reach their full potential through the creation of businesses in this sector

Not only is there a growing gap across Europe between the demand and supply for ICT specialists, but women are overwhelmingly under-represented in this sector. Furthermore, women who do choose ICT face a higher risk of dropping out because of unfavourable working conditions and lack of career progress.

Funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ initiative, the WiTECH project is led by Politecnico di Milano (specifically, by the School of Management and by the Department of Electronic, Informatics, and Bioengineering, DEIB).
Besides Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI), the WiTECH consortium includes two other technological universities (Lappeenrannan–Lahden teknillinen yliopisto, LUT, and Technological University Dublin, TUM), three tech start-up hubs (PoliHub, The Startup Shortcut, and Digital Hub Development Agency), as well as a business school (L’Institut de préparation à l’administration générale IPAG) from four European countries.

The team consists of professors and experts in highly relevant technical, educational, economic, and managerial fields from POLIMI. These include Massimo G. Colombo (Full Professor in Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Finance at SoM), Cristina Rossi-Lamastra (Full Professor of Business and Industrial Economics at SoM, with additional expertise in gender issues in business contexts), Mara Tanelli (Full Professor of Automatic Controls at DEIB), Nicoletta Trentinaglia (Senior Project Manager of e-learning, e-collaboration and learning innovation projects).
The project leaders from other partners are: Adnane Maalaoui (Director of Entrepreneurship Programmes – IPAG), Jussi Kasurinen  (Associate Professor and Head of Software Engineering Programmes – LUT), Barry Feeney  (Head of Department of Computing – TUD), Julia Witting-Mäklin (Director of Operations – The Shortcut).
The project also involves young scholars such as Silvia Stroe (Junior Researcher in Entrepreneurship at SoM) and Jie Li (PhD Student in Entrepreneurship at SoM).

Currently, the WiTECH project is putting together a blended learning course, which builds the skills and confidence that women with STEM qualifications need to create their own innovative businesses in ICT fields.
The heart of WITECH is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), which is conceived as a self-sustaining tool to encourage professors to innovate their teaching practices. It targets Master’s students in STEM subjects, by being freely available online, it is also intended to spark interest in ICT among high school girls to encourage them to choose this field of studies.
The course will be promoted widely across Europe, after the development and testing of its contents during 2022.

This blended learning course consists of three modules:

Module 1:  Entrepreneurship and management.
Notions of entrepreneurship (including social entrepreneurship), how to become an executive of the 21st century (new working culture, corporate-social responsibility, diversity in the workplace, etc.)

Module 2: Technology entrepreneurship.
The notions of entrepreneurship applied to the specific challenges of starting a business in technology sectors.

Module 3: Training at a tech startup or a tech hub.
Understanding the context of tech startups or tech hubs in the framework of technology entrepreneurial ecosystems.

WiTECH started in Oct 2019, and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.  All the course content is now ready and the MOOC format is being produced. The website has just been launched: https://witech.training/.
The Linkedin page of the project is: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/wi-tech/.

We welcome you to join us!

DRIVE – Developing Research and Innovation capacities in Albania and Kosovo


Margherita Pero, Associate Professor of Business Processes Reengineering, School of Management, Politecnico di Milano


Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices is one of the key actions of the Erasmus+ Programme, which makes it possible for organisations from different participating countries to work together, to develop, share and transfer best practices and innovative approaches in the fields of education, training and youth work.

In this context, transnational capacity-building projects are a unique opportunity to address the challenges of higher education institutions and systems, to increase cooperation within the EU, to promote people-to-people interactions, intercultural awareness, and understanding.
And this is possible even despite the current pandemic and health concerns.

This is the first goal we can consider as being achieved by the Erasmus+ DRIVE project, which is a partner of the School of Management.
Launched in February 2020, just before the pandemic spread in Europe, Developing Research and InnoVation capacitiEs in Albania and Kosovo (hereinafter DRIVE) is an Erasmus+ project with the objective of developing the research and innovation capacities of Higher Education Institutions in Albania and Kosovo, by enhancing their institutional capabilities, staff skills and networking.

The consortium is composed of three universities from Albania (POLIS University, Polytecnich University of Tirana, European University of Tirana), and three universities from Kosovo (University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina, University of Gjakova “Fehmi Agani”, Universum College), the Hamburg University of Technology (Germany), the University of Aalborg (Denmark), and Politecnico di Milano, with the School of Management.

Within the consortium, the School of Management will contribute to:

  • Enhancing the skills of students (graduate level and beyond) to conduct independent research by improving the capacity of teachers and mentors,
  • Enhancing the research capacities of academic and managerial staff through study visits and tailored training,
  • Strengthening institutional level managerial capacities for research activities and innovation by setting or strengthening dedicated research and innovation support structures (RISS), and
  • Promoting research excellence and innovation by developing interdisciplinary networks and industrial collaborations among local and international stakeholders.

The partner Higher Education Institutions in Albania and Kosovo would be able to improve their research and innovation capacities and foster links and collaborations among the actors in the innovation ecosystem (institutions and organizations) by the time DRIVE comes to an end.

To achieve this aim, five training workshops are planned, and will be hosted by the European partners throughout the project’s lifespan. A wide set of activities will be organized during these workshops, including training sessions, brainstorming, discussions, study visits, establishment of new structures and development of guidelines and roadmaps.

The series of workshops are designed to target different audiences that require capacity building actions on the following themes:

  • new methods of training and mentoring (for teachers)
  • developing guidelines for new methods of training and mentoring application (for mentors)
  • ethics in research, on how to publish in high-quality journals, how to build a research project and how to manage a research project (for researchers)

Finally, partner universities will be trained on establishing or empowering dedicated research and innovation support structures (RISS), research networks, and developing a virtual platform for managing such a network.

From 22nd to 24th September 2020, the School of Management successfully designed and chaired the training week on “creating the framework for improving study programmes to enhance the research skills of students”. Although due to the current health concerns not all partners could join the sessions physically, we were able to develop and virtually chair the programs related to sharing and discussion on teaching methodologies, leveraging on blended online sessions and face to face group discussions.

Three sessions were arranged in this workshop:

  • sharing experiences on the well-developed innovative teaching methodologies by EU partners,
  • brainstorming innovative teaching methodologies applicable at partners in Albania and Kosovo, and
  • developing a roadmap for the adoption of innovative teaching methodologies.

The results of this intensive week show that the main barriers to be overcome in order to fully benefit from the innovative teaching methodology are cultural, skills-related, institutional and technological.
Therefore, the roadmap that will be developed based on this workshop will include actions at all levels: from a single course and a single teacher, to a study plan level and an institutional one.

The participants, both physically present and online, were strongly engaged in the discussions on the future of teaching in their countries, showing that the topic is relevant and, despite the emergency situation, that people are willing to take on these new challenges. Although we—School of Management professors—were connected online, we could feel the enthusiasm of the participants in sharing their thoughts and experience of teaching with innovative methods.
This enthusiasm gives us the energy to continue with our project, to move from words to deeds.