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Immersive Entrepreneurship Education: comparing and contrasting different approaches

From 05/05/16 10:00 until 05/05/16 16:00
Posted by Lynn O'Byrne
Categories: EEUK Event
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**Get a flavour of this event from the Storify - click here to view**.

Slides can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.


This one day event enabled delegates to:

  • Hear about a range of immersive entrepreneurship education programmes including Venture Creation Programmes, Team Academy and a new variation from Edinburgh Napier University
  • Compare and contrast different approaches and consider what might work well for them
  • Meet and hear from students who are participating in the programmes
  • Network with other enterprise and entrepreneurship educators

Background and summary

It is widely accepted that one of the most effective ways of learning how to do something is to actually have a go at doing it. For many years entrepreneurship has been taught within the curriculum in universities and colleges. In parallel, students have often been encouraged to start a business with extra-curricular support. However, a step change was needed to enable students to practice entrepreneurship as part of their curriculum programme rather than as an optional extra.

The change came about with the introduction of Venture Creation Programmes (VCPs) where students are immersed in entrepreneurship by starting and running a real venture as an essential component of their curricular programme. The first VCP was introduced at North Carolina State University in 1995 and, in 2006, the University of Buckingham introduced the first VCP in the UK. More can be read about VCPs here.

Also in the mid-1990s, Team Academy (TA), another immersive model was introduced in Finland. TA has been adopted by 5 universities in the UK, including UWE which currently has more than 100 undergraduates on the programme.  In this model there are no classrooms, lecturers and few academic ‘subjects’.  All learning is self-directed and working for customers is the engine that drives the process of seeking out knowledge.  Each participant joins a team and the task of the team is to find customers and deliver work that meets customer expectations, and make profit. There is more about TA here.

Edinburgh Napier University has explored the TA approach and is developing a further refinement. There will be a two year 'foundation' and then a two year TA 'top up' which will include direct entrants from colleges and recruits from across the university during their second year. The rationale is that it will facilitate collaborative knowledge based businesses from the students’ first two years of learning, followed by nurturing of the concepts through the TA philosophy over the second two years.

Speakers and contributors:

  • Dr Joan Lockyer, Coventry University
  • Simon Hill, Coventry University
  • Nigel Adams, University of Buckingham
  • Dr Kelly Smith and Peter Shaw, University of Huddersfield
  • Students from various VCPs
  • Dr Susan Laing, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Dr Carol Jarvis and Team Entrepreneurs from the University of West of England
  • Professor John Thompson, University of Huddersfield 

The slides from this events can be downloaded below.

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