Start Your Business and Unleash Your Creativity: New Online Course by ITMO University

Olga Tikhomirova, an associate professor at ITMO’s Faculty of Technological Management and Innovations, has developed an online course “Entrepreneurship in Creative Industries” (in Russian) aimed at helping creative industry representatives to launch their own business and encourage entrepreneurs to use creative solutions in their work. The course kicked off on October 15, but you can still enroll. In this interview, Olga Tikhomirova told ITMO.NEWS about the course and explained why it is important not only for its students but for the creative economy in general.

About the course

About a year ago, I developed an on-site course for entrepreneurs and creative industry workers, which served as a basis for this new online course I’m launching now. This course is for everyone willing to start their own business. The thing is, oftentimes, people who are engaged in creative activities or innovative products development, have no idea about how to start making money out of their projects. As a result, even being really good, their products fail to sell, just because they don’t know how to bring them to the market. After completing this course, you’ll have a basic understanding of how a product is created and ideas are generated, as well as learn about how to best bring your product to the market and work with your target audience.

The course also includes a theoretical unit on business administration, during which students learn about hiring employees, the existing forms of payment, and other things every entrepreneur must know, as it’s almost impossible to launch your own business without these basic skills.

This course is equally suitable for entrepreneurs and creative industry workers. For those already engaged in entrepreneurship and innovations, this is an opportunity to learn more about the arts and creative sector, while creative professionals will fill in the gaps in their knowledge of entrepreneurship.

After the course

Upon completion, creative professionals will acquire both theoretical knowledge and some practical skills. For example, they will learn about how to start their own business and where to seek help; they’ll learn to work with intellectual property and interact with other entrepreneurs. Knowing all these things will make them feel much more confident.

Exams

To complete the course successfully, you have to pass three exams and score a certain number of points. The course lasts for ten weeks and consists of two units each ending with a test. Apart from that, there’ll be an overall exam at the end of the course which checks the knowledge and the progress made. At the end of each week, you’ll be offered several questions to answer. If you fail to answer them, you’ll get detailed explanations.

Olga Tikhomirova
Olga Tikhomirova

Why is this course important for the creative economy?

In Russia, there are practically no courses that would teach creative industry workers entrepreneurial skills. There are quite a few universities that teach entrepreneurship in creative industries. ITMO University is now among them.

When developing this course, I used my own experience of communicating with craftspeople. Two years ago, I participated in a project aimed at supporting traditional crafts which were in decline. To achieve this goal, we launched a special project featuring a series of lectures and workshops on entrepreneurial skills for artisans.

There are other similar courses, but they, first and foremost, focus on supporting and restoring traditional culture rather than teaching creative professionals to navigate in the market. That’s why there were so many craftspeople who enrolled in our program. They can sell their products to museums but it’s hardly enough to get by.

Credit: shutterstock.com
Credit: shutterstock.com

Until recently, creative minds had no one to turn to for help to become more successful in the market. Their art is their heart and soul, but they often struggle financially. The only solution is to start making money out of their hobby and that’s where entrepreneurial skills may come in handy. After having met so many great people willing to create something beautiful and useful, I decided to help them and develop this course which I hope will serve as a link between the market, entrepreneurship, and creative professionals.

Why is it important to develop a creative economy?

A creative economy is based on people’s use of their creative imagination to increase an idea’s value. It’s impossible to create a good product without using innovations and creativity.

Another problem has to do with the digital economy. Because of digitalization, more and more people become unemployed, so it would be good to have a class of self-employed people who could make a living by creating something with their hands.   

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