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Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship Alumni Network

A force at the cornerstone of our outreach

At the Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship, our alumni network stands as a testament to our vision for extending our influence far beyond the university.

Our graduates are accomplished entrepreneurs and industry leaders who continue to engage deeply with the Centre's daily operations long after their graduation. They actively contribute by sharing their expertise and resources, mentoring the next generation of talent, and creating valuable connections within both the industry and the university ecosystem. This cycle of engagement enriches the Centre with real-world insights and opportunities, sustaining a thriving entrepreneurial environment where both current students and alumni can flourish.

Alumni interactions with the Centre

Graduates of our Master's programme engage with us in various roles.

Guest lectures 

Our programmes and courses benefit from the invaluable insights of alumni entrepreneurs who return as guest lecturers. They share their entrepreneurial journeys with current students, detailing their initial steps, challenges faced, successes, and how the knowledge gained from the Centre was instrumental in their business ventures.

Jury members in the Dragon

Several alumni are involved as jury members during the Dragons at the University, which is a business idea competition for students from the Master’s programme in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. They play a critical role in evaluating the viability of business concepts, the quality of contestants’ pitches, and assisting in selecting the teams that move forward to the semi-finals.

Mentoring current Students 

Alumni also serve as mentors to our current students, leveraging their own experiences through the same journey. These alumni volunteers dedicate their time and expertise to guide students in developing their entrepreneurial careers. By sharing practical knowledge, industry connections, and networks, they help students prioritise effectively, sidestep common pitfalls, offer valuable feedback, and provide both emotional and moral support. These relationships can significantly influence the success of our aspiring entrepreneurs by granting them access to resources, networks, and insights that are otherwise difficult to come by.

Charles van de Kerkhof, an alumnus of the Class of 2020, wears multiple hats as the founder of Fjällgås AB, a dedicated mentor, and a project manager at SLU Holding AB. In this video, he discusses his role as a mentor in our Master's programme and its benefits.

As faculty members

While most of our alumni build their career in the entrepreneurship and industry, some also transition to academia. A number of graduates from our Master’s programme have continued with us as PhD students and subsequently joined as lecturers and associate professors. Their contributions are manifold; they enrich our Master’s programme through teaching, serve on advisory boards for student entrepreneurial projects, and supervise Master's theses. 

Meet our Alumni Associate Professor, Ziad El-Awad   

Ziad El-Awad studied the Master's programme in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2013–2014 at the Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship. A year later, he returned to the Centre to pursue his PhD studies. During his PhD, he developed a theoretical model that enhances our understanding of entrepreneurial learning as a process by which personalised streams of experience become routinized and embedded in venture-wide behaviors. Having earned his doctoral degree, Ziad stayed with us for his postdoctoral research, where he investigated the role and impact of entrepreneurship graduates in entrepreneurial university-based ecosystems and how entrepreneurship graduates engage in enterprising and innovative activities in and around the university. Currently, Ziad is an associate professor at the Centre, and he teaches different courses as well as conducts research on various topics, including entrepreneurial learning, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and circular entrepreneurship. Ziad's story illustrates the journey of some of our program alumni who continue to serve as faculty members.

Ziad El-Awad, an alumnus of the Master's programme in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from 2013 to 2014, currently works as an associate professor at the Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship.