SmartVille project introduced theatre combined with entrepreneurial mindset training at LAB

SmartVille international project partners visited LAB University of Applied Sciences on March 2024 (Ekman 2024a; LAB 2024; SmartVille 2024) and one of the tasks during the partners´ week visit to LAB was that Dortmund University team (Kerstin Guhlemann, Ann Christin and Christine Best) introduced entrepreneurial mindset training combined with theatre, which was held together with the SmartVille project team members and with a group of LAB students.  One of the project tasks is that partners evaluate how this method could be implemented to the curriculum of African partners entrepreneurship education.

[Alt text: two persons having a presentation. In the screen the text short excursion to a related approach, social art.]
Image 1. Christine Best and Kerstin Guhlemann presented the method at LAB campus in Lappeenranta. (Image: Terhi Tuominen)

Entrepreneurial mindset training used in the project helps participants to boost their creative, innovative thinking. In more detail, the Entrepreneurial Mindset (EM) training is a concept for empowering (young) unemployed people in form of a vademecum. The vademecum explains the ArtE approach, a combination of theatre and EM training, and defines EM training before giving concrete examples of how the approach can be implemented in pilot projects, what impact it can have and how to measure this impact.

With the help of the vademecum, young unemployed people can be empowered to “impersonate” the new entrepreneurial role, develop self-confidence, leadership, drive and motivation. ArtE – The Art of Employability was originally developed in an Erasmus+project that combined theatre with job and entrepreneurial mindset training to develop psycho-emotional and vocational skills among unemployed people, helping them improve their self-esteem and replace passivity with proactivity. (Baldeschi & Best 2024)

Theatre brings humor and self-confidence 

The introduced ArtE method at LAB campus included elements of theatre playing as trainers gave short notices which included guidelines of what each participant was expected to do. However, participants did not see what the guidelines of others were and there was some uncertainty of what the result of the theater play is. The utilized theatre play (“ArtE approach”) between participants led to a chain of reactions which boosted participants creative thinking and created a positive learning environment.

Humor, theatre and team interaction increases self-confidence, innovation, creativity and can enhance learning in teams and also at the individual-level. The ArtE approach is likely to create positive, psychologically safe environment which boosts creative thinking when participants feel confident and psychologically safe environment (see also Ekman 2024b) to present their ideas. The introduced ArtE approach also received good feedback from the SmartVille partners and LAB students.


Terhi Tuominen, D. Sc. (Econ. & Bus. Adm), works as a RDI expert in the SmartVille project and as a teacher in the VALIOT project at the LAB University of Applied Sciences, Lappeenranta, Finland.


Baldeschi, L. & Best, C. (Eds.) 2024. Social Art & The Entrepreneurial Mindset: A Vademecum. ArtE – The Art of Employability. Cited 20 Apr 2024. Available at

Ekman, M. 2024a. SmartVille project partners visited LAB. LAB Focus blog. Cited 20 Apr 2024. Available at

Ekman, M. 2024b. How to succeed in the implementation of team learning method. LAB Focus blog. Cited 24 Apr 2024. Available at

LAB. 2024. Developing sustainable and entrepreneurial villages through educational living labs in Namibia and Zambia. Project website. LAB University of Applied Sciences. Cited 20 Apr 2024. Available at

SmartVille. 2024. Project website. Cited 20 Apr 2024. Available at