The 2009 ISBE conference included a number of good practice examples in relation to entrepreneurship education, as summarised below.
BA (Hons) in Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Management
In their paper, Lloyd-Reason et al. reported on the BA (Hons) in Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Management developed by the Centre for International Business (CIB) within the Ashcroft International Business School (AIBS), Anglia Ruskin University. The programme provides theoretical insights into enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurial management alongside practical skills and abilities. Through a highly innovative and radical approach to curriculum design and delivery, the programme aims to capture the passion and imagination of students.
Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR)
The ‘entrepreneur in residence’ (EIR) network represents a central pillar in the BA programme discussed above, building a sustainable set of relationships to enable the course to operate within a wider context.
The adoption of an EIR is raised by a number of authors as one way in which the perceived gulf between entrepreneurship teaching and the business world can be bridged to good effect. George’s paper describes the highly successful implementation of an EIR post at IEED and how the entrepreneur’s presence has challenged internal thinking. George suggests that in view of the success of the EIR position described in this case, and in light of the ever-increasing need for HEIs to demonstrate the impact of their work, a more widespread uptake of this model would produce considerable widespread effect. In short, how great would it be if every UK university faculty had an entrepreneur in residence?
The LIVE Project
Chang’s study looks at the LIVE project and its impact on the learning of its participants. The LIVE project extends the limited experiential learning from case studies and computer based simulation and connects students to businesses in their communities. It allows team teaching between the academics, business executives and entrepreneurs, allowing for more student engagement. By introducing ambiguity as an element of the entrepreneurial environment, it provides the opportunity to develop the skills required for an individual embarking on an entrepreneurial career. The project allows the open-ended environment that fosters the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills and forces students to step outside their normal educational processes. This is advocated by Gibb’s (1987:43) learning by doing in the entrepreneur’s real world approach.
The SPEED Programme
Another example of a successful “hands on” approach to learning presented at the conference was the SPEED (Student Placements in Entrepreneurship Education) programme, where a consortium of 14 universities led by Wolverhampton University, supported over 750 student entrepreneurs between 2006 and 2008. The aim was to test whether Government-derived funds to support business start up for SMEs could be more effectively channelled through HEIs towards students rather than through other schemes. With a common ethos and approach to delivering the programme, each institution managed the details of its particular delivery, thus tailoring it to suit its particular students and institutional structures. The programme aimed to support students who could demonstrate that they had a business idea, a basic plan for making it happen, and some personal attributes that suggested they would benefit from the experience of creating a new business. While successful business start-ups were hoped for (and, indeed, realised), the programme was more targeted towards the educational value of participation, rather than whether success or failure of the venture ensued.
The 25k Enterprise Awards Scheme
McGowan and Cooper’s paper presented research that investigated the role and impact of the £25K Enterprise Awards Scheme (EAS), promoted by the Northern Ireland Science Park, (NISP), and managed within the two universities in Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship (NICENT). A key aim of the EAS was to encourage student engagement in entrepreneurial behaviour. The profile of respondents was heavily skewed towards those from SET disciplines, most of whom had little or no background in business planning and venture development. Thus, investigation focused on the extent to which participation enhanced understanding in these areas. Around two-thirds (65%) of teams received some form of funding following the competition. Two-thirds (64%) of respondents felt that reaching the EAS final helped build their profile and credibility amongst practitioners. A quarter (24%) of respondents continued to work with their opportunities, either directly or indirectly. Of those who had done nothing tangible three quarters felt more interested in starting a venture based around their proposition as a result of experience gained through the EAS.
The SPEED Programme - Enquiry Based Learning as an Extreme Sport by Dan Corlett, Janette Munro and Roger Cook
Entrepreneurship Education: Embedding Practitioner Experience by Lester Lloyd-Reason, Roger Mumby-Croft and Leigh Sear
What is (the point of) an entrepreneur in residence? A description of the Lancaster University experience, plus some worldwide comparisons by Magnus J. A. George, Ian Gordon and Eleanor Hamilton
Facilitating technology entrepreneurship through experiential learning: the role of university-based, business plan competitions by Pauric McGowan and Sarah Cooper
Impact of ‘Oral pitching’ on Entrepreneurial Learning and Influencing Potential Investors by Jane Chang and Suranjita Mukherjee