A Team Academy is a learning community created with the specific aim of giving young adults the skills, knowledge and personal qualities required to run their own businesses while at the same time getting a university degree.
Team Academy (Tiimiakatemia) was born in 1993 in a small town in central Finland at a time of crippling unemployment and the collapse of traditional industries. The brainchild of a maverick marketing lecturer with a passion for making a difference, it has earned its founder Johannes Partanen the Finnish equivalent of a knighthood and attracted interest from educators across the world.
A Team Academy looks nothing like a traditional academic institution. At its heart is a three year bachelor’s degree programme but there are no classrooms, no lectures, no exams. Within the first two weeks of enrolling on the programme, teams of 20 students are formed and given the task of developing real businesses which will generate income. Working on a variety of projects – anything from organising events to running retail outlets – the students learn finance, marketing, leadership and strategy.
Nor does this concept of the highly networked, collaborative entrepreneur fit the ‘Apprentice’ mould. In Team Academy, young people are expected to develop the capacity to work with others and use the creative power of the team to build value for customers.