With Sara Pates (University of Sheffield and EEUK Director) as a key speaker, it was always clear that EEUK members would be well represented at the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) for Entrepreneurship as it explored one of its three key priorities, Enterprise Education, under the title “University as an Engine for Growth”.
Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP (Shadow Digital Minister) chairs the APPG, and opened with a call for a surge in entrepreneurship within UK universities.
Together with Lord Bilimoria (graduate entrepreneur and long-time supporter of this agenda) it was recognised that there was much to celebrate over the last 20 years in terms of entrepreneurial activity and cultural change within universities. The discussion then explored practical issues for improving activity, such as opportunities to expand Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurship Visas, as well as wider ideas that recognised the potential of the university as an anchor institution within our communities and the entrepreneurial landscape.
It was particularly pleasing to have a broad range of EEUK members represented in the discussions, with EEUK Board Members Jerry Allen (UCL) Philip Clegg (Huddersfield) and myself as well as EEUK Head of Policy Alison Price all echoing Sara’s point that neither the individual successes nor the problems in the sector are unique to one institution.
Collectively by asking Government to support our members’ work by securing long-term commitment and support from HE leadership, we sought to address the fragile environment in which many EEUK members work (short term contracts and instability of internal structures).
Metrics (such as the new KEF – see Policy Blog) were welcomed with the caveat that counting tangible outputs often fails to capture the transformational work undertaken with students which can build the wider pipeline of future entrepreneurial graduates for “UK Plc”.
By understanding and supporting the dynamic that can place the university within the heart of an entrepreneurial eco-system, universities can be an “engine for growth”.
What can I do?
The APPG will be making an official call for evidence to explore this further. EEUK will be coordinating a response and, as Head of Policy Alison Price is keen to prepare by collating your evidence now, please can you provide the following to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Title: Outline your point about university entrepreneurship (the good or the bad!)
- Your Evidence: specify your particular evidence by providing any official stats, reports or research (and append more details if available but keep your first point clear and short for inclusion in the report)
- Dates /years that this relates to
- Your contact details
Or if you have any wider points to make, then just drop Alison a line.