Entrepreneurship is a common module of study in almost all universities nowadays. Social Entrepreneurship is unique because it uses techniques to develop, fund and implement solutions to social and/or environmental issues. The OUSL completed the first short course on Social Entrepreneurship (SE) on 24th June 2017. It is a significant milestone that this concept of social entrepreneurship is being integrated into the university curriculum. The Director of the Industry Liaison Center (ILC), Dr. Madurapperuma, who is a firm believer of Entrepreneurship, encourages students to become job creators instead of job seekers. He stated that the university would not expect immediate results on the SE course but there will be a significant impact in time to come. The OUSL took the initiative and partnered with Social Enterprise Lanka to introduce this timely and relevant subject to its students. The most significant achievement of this course is that students from various disciplines joined the class to form multi-disciplinary startups. Also, they broadened their knowledge on this concept which is being used globally to tackle many social and environmental challenges. The resource person Mr. Eranda Ginige argues that social enterprises are the most successful businesses ventures in the near future according to his own ‘Theory of Social Enterprise.’
During the 12-week program, students received practical insight into using entrepreneurship as a tool to solve social and environmental issues. During this time students came up with creative and fresh business ideas and developed them over the weeks and are now ready to pitch their ideas to a panel of impact investors. The engagement and feedback received by students have been tremendous. We believe that some of them will move on to converting their business ideas into actual businesses, or even start different types of social enterprises, in their relevant communities.
The OUSL will be known as the pioneering institute for piloting this course and making it a part of tertiary education curriculum in all of Sri Lanka. The second phase of the SE course will be launched in two months.
The OUSL completed the first short course that employs story-telling techniques to develop effective presentation skills. On the last day of the course, a confident group of participants made some captivating presentations. Their topics varied from complex to simple, but all were nothing short of interesting.
The course was designed to allow practice time for all participants during almost all the lessons, and covered topics such as story structure, breath and voice control, gesture and posture, audience analysis, question handling and structured thinking.
“It is good to see how far the students have come after 7 lessons. I noticed how some students struggled to make a simple self-introduction on April 29th, at the first class. Some were stammering and some speechless. The same students can now structure an interesting story or talk, use gestures and facial expressions in delivering the story and handle the audience well,” Mr. Sujeewa Jayawardana, the ILC Manager said. He further added, “It is amazing. Good Teachers know how to use the potential of students to achieve the best.”
Students were very pleased with the learning outcomes. They admired the presentation by Mr. Nalina Wijesundara, on structured thinking using the Pyramid Principle, introduced by Barbara Minto as a great tool to use in communications, be it a report, presentation or public speech.
The resource person, Ms. Jinashri Wijesundara said that her target students were not those who already excel in presentation skills but those who considered their presentation skills were below average. She would change the course structure in the classes, taking feedback from the recently concluded batch, to suit the OUSL students’ requirements better.