[Translate to English:] Katharina Fellnhofer
Katharina Fellnhofer and her supervisor Kaisu Puumalainen © Vesa Laitinen/LUT

Thanks to my Erwin-Schrödinger Fellowship I have been working on my habilitation project “E-Ship-Stories” at the Lappeenranta University of Technology since 2015. – The objective is to make young people more interested in becoming entrepreneurs and to highlight entrepreneurship as an attractive career. In order to do that one needs innovative educational trajectories that impart entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and passion, aspects that have received little attention from researchers in the past.

Research oriented toward entrepreneurship

These considerations induced me to study the impact of existing entrepreneurial careers on future entrepreneurs in my research project at the School of Business and Management. One of the tenets I explore maintains that both success stories from entrepreneurial reality and failure stories work well as teaching methods. The following questions seek empirical answers. First: do inspiring stories about entrepreneurs change someone’s attitude to entrepreneurship for the better? Second: do descriptions by successful entrepreneurs about their successes or failures trigger identical results? And third: do entrepreneurial stories presented with a multimedia approach constitute a suitable tool for teaching?

Reaping the first fruits

So far, my investigations have indeed revealed significant impact which I have presented at scientific conferences in Italy (e.g. ICIE) and am going to present in Australia (ACERE). Furthermore, there are two publications in the pipeline at the Journal for International Business and Entrepreneurship Development. As a guest editor for this journal I am also preparing a special issue on my research focus. In 2017, I will visit the University of St. Gallen for further research with special focus on gender specific differences.

“The Erwin-Schrödinger fellowship is the best thing that could have happened to me!” Katharina Fellnhofer

Personal career boost

Without the Erwin-Schrödinger Fellowship awarded to me by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, I would probably not have dared to return to science after interrupting my research career for almost four years. – Or to put it another way: “The Erwin-Schrödinger fellowship is the best thing that could have happened to me!” A year has passed since I started my fellowship abroad, and the plethora of new impressions has enormously enriched my professional career. I am ideally placed to feed my experience as an entrepreneur into my research work in the context of the E-Ship-Project and make it available to a large audience. This experience is just as unique as being able to live and do research here in Lappeenranta.

Mind, body and soul

Every day sees me jogging along the deep blue waters of the Saimaa Lake, not only to exercise my body but also to calm my mind and recharge my batteries. The bright colours of the Finnish landscape are breathtaking and nourish my soul every day. On the downside, I will probably never be able to get used to the bitter cold and darkness that dominate the days as of November. In early 2016 we had to live through three weeks of minus 30°. This exceptional weather made me truly understand why saunas are of so much significance here in Finland.

Thank you!

The Schrödinger Fellowship has not only sparked my passion for entrepreneurial research, but has also enabled me to develop it further with great joy and enthusiasm. – This is a good opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks, or Kiitos! As they say in Finland.