The Role Of Universities In The Development Of Social Entrepreneurship

Abstract

The article is devoted to the problem of scientific substantiation of university functions in the development of social entrepreneurship. The authors present the results of the analysis of functions of the North Caucasus Federal University in the development of social entrepreneurship in the North Caucasus. Research interest in the development of social entrepreneurship is due to the implementation of a transformation program of the North Caucasus Federal University into a university center for innovative, technological and social development of Stavropol Territory and the North Caucasus Federal District. The current situation in the North Caucasus is characterized by social tension, severity of socio-economic problems which can be solved using the potential of social entrepreneurship whose development is the most important strategic direction in the implementation of the mission of the North Caucasus Federal University. The authors analyze new university models: University 3.0, University 4.0, Frontier University, and Flagship University. Particular attention is paid to the role of universities in the "knowledge triangle" as centers of regional innovation ecosystems. The article describes predictive, educational, research, expert and analytical, and coordination functions of the North Caucasian Federal University in the development of social entrepreneurship in the North Caucasus and managerial and pedagogical mechanisms for the implementation of these functions. The prospects for further research on the entrepreneurial environment at the university as an integrator of educational and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the region were outlined.

Keywords: University functions, social entrepreneurship, innovation system

Introduction

The creation of knowledge society and changes in the technological order cause structural changes and institutional transformations in all socio-economic spheres, including education.

The current stage in the development of university education causes a broad scientific discussion about the transformation of goals, functions and mission of universities (Douglass, 2016; Maksimova et al., 2020; Reznik & Kurdova, 2017; Shchelkunov, 2017).

The priority project "Universities as centers of the innovation creation space" is aimed at strengthening the role of universities in the regional social economic and innovative development. According to some researchers (Panikarova et al., 2020), universities play the most important role in determining directions of innovative development as a basic element of national innovation systems. Universities are to become the core of innovation ecosystems in the regions, which implies special efforts to develop innovative and entrepreneurial culture and social capital of universities (Korchagina, 2020).

Efimov and Lapteva, (2017) consider the "university frontier" as a special type of university leadership. The tasks and mission of these university are aimed at forming new paradigms of thinking and activity, creating new social practices. The creation of flagship universities in Russia is based on the concept of a “flagship university” (Douglass, 2016). University 3.0 is characterized by openness, expansion of social partnership with educational and scientific organizations, businesses and the non-profit sector (Barkov & Grishina, 2017). University 4.0, whose model is being developed, should become part of the national innovation ecosystem as a center for technology transfer and formation of a creative environment. The distinctive features of these universities include a well-developed resource base and its own innovation ecosystem, based on the network interaction with partners and modern innovative developments (Maksimova et al., 2020). Universities in modern conditions take on the functions of the center of the innovation ecosystem, including the function of creating network interactions and attracting capital (Rücker Schaeffer et al., 2018).

For universities, the following factors of regional innovative development are important:

  • flexible and creative thinking, the ability to generate and implement new breakthrough ideas, high innovative adaptability (Birch, 2017);
  • development of students' entrepreneurial competencies (Chepurenko et al., 2019);
  • broad support for entrepreneurial activities of youth and students (Golovko et al., 2018).

The "third mission" of modern universities involves the intensive development of social entrepreneurship. This experience has been accumulated by foreign universities. Young employees and students create successful social enterprises based on their universities, develop new forms of cooperation with existing social enterprises.

Social entrepreneurship as an inter-scientific phenomenon and a developing public initiative is a focus of scientific research (Borodina & Shetsak, 2017; Carnini Pulino et al., 2019; Chernysheva, 2017).

The development of social entrepreneurship in the North Caucasus is of particular relevance due to the specific characteristics of the region: a high unemployment rate compared to other regions; labor dequalification; an outflow of talented youth; a low level of education; lingering risks of social tension (Adjikova et al., 2019). The North Caucasus remains an outsider in terms of the level of entrepreneurship development (Abdulaeva, 2017; Dmitrieva et al., 2017)

Different countries with transition economies are characterized by special trajectories for the development of entrepreneurship (Chepurenko et al., 2019; Shirokova et al., 2017). In Russia, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), such activity is weaker than in other transition economies, which is illustrated by the 1.8 times lag behind the average value of the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) (Acs et al., 2018).

Problem Statement

Insufficient scientific substantiation of university functions in the development of social entrepreneurship as a factor of innovative transformations in the region.

Research Questions

What factors determine the transformation of university functions in modern conditions? What university functions have an impact on the development of social entrepreneurship in the region? What conditions are required to implement the identified functions?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify and characterize the main functions of the North Caucasus Federal University in the development of social entrepreneurship in the North Caucasus.

Research Methods

The methodological basis of the research is leading ideas of the system-activity, ecosystem, axiological and competence-based approaches used to study new functions of universities in the context of the emerging knowledge economy.

To solve the research problems, the methods of comparative analysis of scientific literature on the development of university education, social entrepreneurship, regional ecosystems were applied.

Findings

The North Caucasian Federal University (NCFU) was created as a unique core of the scientific, educational and innovative sector of the economy of the North Caucasian Federal District, providing training of qualified personnel to solve the problems of priority areas of the socio-economic development of the region.

The program for the transformation of NCFU into a university center for innovative, technological and social development of Stavropol Territory and the North Caucasus Federal District provides for a set of organizational, managerial, scientific and methodological measures to support social entrepreneurship in the region.

The studies performed and the analysis of empirical data made it possible to identify the functions of the North Caucasus Federal University in the development of social entrepreneurship in the North Caucasus. The data are presented in Table 1.

Table 1 - Generalized characteristics of the functions of the North Caucasus Federal University in the development of social entrepreneurship in the North Caucasus
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In order to successfully develop social entrepreneurship in the North Caucasus, research has been carried out to develop and test modern approaches to training a new generation of social entrepreneurs based on the integration of formal and non-formal education (Shapovalov et al., 2019). This makes it possible to move from separate isolated educational activities to the ecosystem of social and entrepreneurial education as an integral set of structural and functional components, the relationship between which is determined by the goals of formation and renewal of competencies of social entrepreneurship subjects based on the values ​​of their horizontal network interaction in an open educational environment (Igropulo et al., 2019).

The complex nature of implementation of the prognostic, educational, research, expert and analytical, and coordination functions of the North Caucasus Federal University in the development of social entrepreneurship

  • strengthens the positive influence of the North Caucasus Federal University on the innovative development of the social sphere of the region;
  • involves social entrepreneurship in the ethnocultural regional context as a factor in preventing social tension in the face of global challenges, involves young people in innovative social and educational practices;
  • provides testing of new approaches to the development of strategic partnership of the university with social partners, based on the values ​​of social service and transformation.

Participation in entrepreneurship education programs correlates with overall entrepreneurial activities and the economic impact of new firms (Shirokova et al., 2017). According to the researchers, the entrepreneurial intentions of students develop under the influence of both individual characteristics and circumstances and the conditions of the external environment, associated with the entrepreneurial environment of the university, the development of profiled competencies of teachers, and the involvement of the entrepreneurial community in mentoring student projects (Zobnina et al., 2019).

Education in entrepreneurship, including social entrepreneurship, is considered as one of the key drivers of youth entrepreneurship, new jobs, and reduced unemployment (Naumov & Konstantinova, 2019; Pluzhnik et al., 2018).

Researchers argue that modern universities are separated from entrepreneurship (Klyuev & Yashin, 2016).

The weak involvement of young people in entrepreneurial activities is due to the lack of an orientation towards the development of entrepreneurial competencies. Students do not consider entrepreneurship as a career opportunity. An entrepreneurial culture does not stigmatize failure and stimulates the development of projects. Its lack undermines the determination to act and creates a fear of failure (Chepurenko et al., 2019; Zobnina et al., 2019).

Researchers pay special attention to the context of learning social entrepreneurship, which implies the compulsory creation of a new business as a result of learning (Dukhon et al., 2018).

At the same time, development of entrepreneurial competencies and entrepreneurial thinking does not lose its significance (Chepurenko et al., 2019).

Performance of the identified functions of the university in the development of social entrepreneurship meets the ideas of the concept of "knowledge triangle", which establishes the interaction between three areas – education, academic research and business innovation (Unger, Polt, 2017).

Qualitative changes in the dynamics of interaction between these spheres predetermine further scientific research of new approaches to the development of university innovation and entrepreneurial infrastructure, taking into account ethno-regional characteristics.

Conclusion

A theoretical analysis of prognostic, educational, research, expert and analytical, and coordination functions of the North Caucasus Federal University in the development of social entrepreneurship in the North Caucasus allows us to formulate the following conclusions:

1. Successful fulfillment of the social mission contributes to the systemic development of the regional socio-entrepreneurial community based on the values ​​of public good, taking into account dynamic social changes in a wide regional and global context.

2. Intensification of the integration of the North Caucasian Federal University into the regional economy and social sphere allows the development of entrepreneurial culture as a condition for the implementation of social programs and innovative projects in the North Caucasus, increasing the attractiveness and competitiveness of the region.

3. Further research on the entrepreneurial environment which should be created at the university as an integrator of educational and entrepreneurial ecosystems is required.

Acknowledgments

The research was funded by the Russian Fund for Fundamental Research, project 19-013-00551 "Ethno-cultural determinants of development of the ecosystem of socially oriented entrepreneurial education in the North Caucasus in the context of global and regional challenges".

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Igropulo, I. F., Shapovalov, V. K., & Аrutyunyan, M. M. (2021). The Role Of Universities In The Development Of Social Entrepreneurship. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 651-658). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.89