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Abdullah Konak and Sadan Kulturel-Konak teach entrepreneurship in Hong Kong

Dr. Kulturel-Konak and Dr. Abdullah Konak stand with a representative from the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Dr. Sadan Kulturel-Konak and Dr. Abdullah Konak were honored for their participation in the Entrepreneurship Education Training Program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Penn State Berks faculty members Dr. Abdullah Konak and Dr. Sadan Kulturel-Konak are currently teaching an Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship course at the Systems Engineering and Engineering Management Department in the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), which runs from July 3–August 5, 2013.

Dr. Abdullah Konak is a professor of Information Sciences and Technology and Dr. Sadan Kulturel-Konak is a professor of Management Information Systems and Coordinator of the college’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. The two faculty members are married and have collaborated on several research projects.

As a result of their experience in teaching courses in entrepreneurship at Penn State Berks, Kulturel-Konak and Konak were invited to teach the course in the International Summer School run by the Chinese University of Hong Kong-Office of Summer Programs.

The course provides a basic understanding of technology and high-growth entrepreneurship. The focus is on technology innovation coupled with business planning and development, with a special emphasis on evaluating future markets shaped by new technologies. This curriculum combines mentor-guided team projects, in-depth case studies, and research on the entrepreneurial process.

Twenty-eight students from ten countries are enrolled; only one is from Hong Kong. The others are from France, the Netherlands, Denmark, England, Mexico, the United States, China, South Korea, and Singapore. In addition to the multicultural nature of the group, it is also multidisciplinary with students majoring in 15 different fields. According to Konak and Kulturel-Konak, the multicultural and multidisciplinary nature of the class are a great match for studying entrepreneurship; students work in teams and are very innovative as they have different strengths and perspectives to offer.

“Seeing various perspectives from students to problems has been an educational experience for me as well,” states Konak.

In addition to teaching the course together, both Konak and Kulturel-Konak participated in the Entrepreneurship Education Training Program on July 16, 2013, organized by the Entrepreneurship Center in the CUHK to educate academic and administrative staff that are teaching or supporting entrepreneurship education programs.

The theme of the Entrepreneurship Education Training Program was “Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, and Family Entrepreneurship.” The program was held in collaboration with Northeast Normal University, the recruiting body for qualified participants from universities in the Jilin Province of China, home to approximately eighteen universities. There were 29 participants in the program who will be expected to go back to their universities and start their own entrepreneurship and innovation programs.

Kulturel-Konak’s presentation discussed how the entrepreneurship program and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic development (CEED) started and what kinds of activities are held in Penn State Berks. Meanwhile, Konak explained how he uses a problem-based approach in his Technology Entrepreneurship course. Each presentation was simultaneously translated to Mandarin. After their presentations, Kulturel-Konak and Konak interacted with program attendees and answered questions.

“As a real-life application of an entrepreneurial project, I introduced the electronic waste in Kenya–Creative Minds project that Penn State Berks students were engaged in and the support we received from our granting organization, National Collegiate Investors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA),” states Kulturel-Konak. “Participants of the Entrepreneurship Education Training Program found this very appealing and asked many questions.”

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