LATEST #ENTED NEWS FROM OUR EEUK MEMBERS

Written by Lynn O'Byrne

Surrey: Green Tech Jam

University of Surrey has launched an innovative new module in the School of Computer Sciences and Electronic Engineering, which flips the focus of software engineering to incorporate social impact from the outset. “Green Tech Jam” hits the intersection of technology and sustainability, equipping students to create web apps that tackle socio-environmental challenges across a range of sectors.

Led by Senior Lecturer Stella Kazamia, it is supported by the University’s cross-faculty Hackathon team including Student Enterprise Manager Kat Mack and Associate Dean International, Shelini Surendran, prize-funded by the Engineers In Business Fellowship. Contact us for more about making curricular hackathons work.


RGU: Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence

Robert Gordon University welcomes Diana Gormley, a former design engineer and award-winning founder, as its new Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence. Diana brings over 12 years of industry experience in design and technical engineering. Her entrepreneurial journey includes founding an award-winning children’s clothing company, Always Fun Clothing, recognised for ethical maternity and children’s wear. Diana will work with the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group and support them to foster an entrepreneurial spirit among RGU’s staff and students, with an initial focus on STEM subjects, leveraging her expertise gained through her engineering design experience and her entrepreneurial talent.


Bangor: Mentee Testimonial, Dr Beth Edwards, Bangor University

Being relatively new to the Enterprise Education world, the mentoring has been crucial in supporting me to develop my own identity within the landscape. Through empowering and supportive conversations, I feel more confident in myself within my daily work and contributing to wider events. It’s enabled me to seek opportunities, e.g, sharing my work, that previously I’d have not done. The scheme’s organisation has been helpful, including the matching process. Having access to a mentor with such expertise and knowledge has inspired me and encouraged me to seek additional opportunities to collaborate, share, and showcase work in the future”.


Envestors: Innovator Business Founder Visa Information Sessions

Would you like to provide a briefing session to your students on the new IBF visa scheme? Envestors, endorsing body for the IBF Visa, can partner with you to run information sessions to help your students understand if the scheme is right for them and how to apply. Please note they will not be able to comment on specific applications. If you would like Envestors to run a session at your University, please reach out to Michael North at michael.north@envestors.co.uk


Stirling: Ecosystem Fund

“The University of Stirling is delighted to have received funding from Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise through their Ecosystem Fund, to support delivery of a pilot project of enterprise skills training for Young People (those aged 18-30) across the Forth Valley region. The two-phase project aims to enhance accessibility to start-up support for equity-deserving individuals and widen participation in entrepreneurial activity by not only inspiring, encouraging and showcasing relatable founder role models but by providing practical support via a 7 week pre-accelerator training programme. For more information, please contact the University of Stirling’s Enterprise team at enterprise@stir.ac.uk


York: Mentorship Scheme

The University of York’s Biorenewables Development Centre has launched a new mentorship scheme to support people working on or towards circular and bio-based business. This piece of work is an expansion of a pilot project earlier in the year, and will develop into wider support including an investment readiness programme. The activity is part of the BioYorkshire initiative, which seeks to create the first carbon negative region of the UK.


Northumbria: Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

I am very pleased to share that our spinout project Solar2Water technology has been honored with the prestigious Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Excellence and Innovation Award 2023-Social Impact Award!  This award is very special, it is not only about innovation and technology development, but also its social impact which shows testament to our unwavering commitment to making a positive difference in the world. This recognition fuels our commitment to produce sustainable water for all (UNSDG6). Ceremony was help on Nov 15th at Glassgow Science Center, photos are attached. All winners list is available here:https://innovationawards.theiet.org/the-awards/winners/.


Strathclyde: Bi-annual Strathclyde Inspire100
2023 ended on a high note with significant investment for Strathclyde led companies. In November, six companies pitched their businesses to an audience of entrepreneurs, investors and experts to compete for a share of £27,500 prize funding in the bi-annual Strathclyde Inspire100 event. Funding was made up with £10,000 from the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards and £7,500 from Santander. On the night, Strathclyde alumnus Sir Tom Hunter granted an extra £10,000, distributing funds among two additional companies. The Scottish Edge Finals also took place in November, where four businesses with high-growth potential linked to Strathclyde received a combined £45,000 funding. Read more here and here.


 

Latest #EntEd news from our EEUK members

Written by Lynn O'Byrne

Birmingham: Exciting Updates from UoB Elevate Program!

In November, UoB Elevate Incubator launched its 3rd Cohort of 24 startups, spanning socially conscious enterprises to tech innovators. The event connected alumni, partners, experts, and emerging entrepreneurs, fostering collaborations. The program provides tools, resources, and mentorship to aspiring entrepreneurs, aiming to cultivate a community shaping the future of successful businesses. As we continue to build our ecosystem if you are interested in learning more, then please get in touch via benterprising@contacts.bham.ac.uk


Essex: Student Enterprise

Student enterprise is an increasingly necessary/popular offer at UK universities. More and more students are considering entrepreneurship as an alternative post-graduation route and UK HEI’s need to keep up with demand to compete in an increasingly competitive market. But as more universities create teams to offer this kind of support, it’s often held back from being truly effective based on which department/section it’s based in. Andy Mew, Head of Start-Up Support at the University of Essex, has looked at some of the advantages and disadvantages teams face and how to use these to help them in their respective institute. Read more here.


Falmouth: NEEUK Award Prize Funds enable continued entrepreneurial activity at Falmouth University

50 students attended a business startup evening recently at Falmouth University to hear about the startup support options, including startup 1-2-1s, “Be your own boss” sessions and the MSc Entrepreneurship & Innovation Management course.

The evening was part-funded by the prize fund awarded by the National Enterprise Educators UK to the MSc team as Entrepreneurship Catalysts.

The photo shows international MSc students serving the food they prepared for the event, so testing their “Hurry Curry” business concept, which received great feedback, so helping the development of their business plan.


Derby: Game-based entrepreneurial education

The University of Derby recently hosted a session featuring the latest version of The StartUp Game, created by OneTech. This educational board game offered staff and students an engaging way to understand the startup journey.  Players embark on a quest to build a unicorn company, having identified a problem to solve. The challenge intensifies as other founders (players) pursue the same problem. The game creatively simulates building a team and product, capturing the market, raising investment, and equity retention. This session provided a practical insight into the competitive nature of startup development, and how early decisions can have long-term consequences.


 

Suffolk: Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Eco-system Showcase

Following the success of the Winter Express Start-Up Bootcamp for UOS students and the local community, we ended term with a celebratory showcase event that praised and promoted the local enterprise and entrepreneurship eco-system in Suffolk. Bringing together new and established businesses from current students, alumni and local influencers, this event was a buzz of positivity, opportunity and community energy highlighting the thriving world of enterprise in Ipswich. Raising the profile of extra-curricular support for students curious about enterprise the success of this event has already lead to increased interest and participation base for the 2024 enterprise and entrepreneurship programmes. Enterprise and Entrepreneurship | University of Suffolk (uos.ac.uk)


Kyiv National Economic Uni: “Ideafest”

On December 08, 2023 student business idea competition “Ideafest” was held at the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Kyiv National Economic University named after Vadym Hetman.  The first place was awarded to “SportUp’ project, aimed at helping students to do sports online with the help of video lessons with a trainer.  The second place was awarded to the project “SaveLife”, focused on providing military personnel with a device for tracking their vital medical indicators. The third place was awarded to the project “VRMandry”, aimed at developing virtual tours into the history of Ukraine and its culture with the help of VR technologies.


Nottingham : YES23 Showcase at the Royal Society

We invite enterprise educators to find out more about YES by joining us at the YES23 Showcase being held at The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5AG on Wednesday 31 January 2024 from 2pm to 7pm. Your Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES) is an innovative global competition developed to raise awareness among master’s and PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, research fellows and technicians about how ideas can be commercialised. Join us to find out more about getting involved in YES24 and to meet the remarkable talent that is brimming amongst our community. Express your interest by emailing admin@yescompetitions.co.uk.

Pundit Predictions: How Artificial Intelligence can change Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education in 2024.

Written by Dr Cherisse Hoyte

Happy New Year! At the start of each New Year, we may make resolutions or goals that we would like to focus on. Some of these are more a wish list of do-good habits than a conscientious effort for change and improvement. To kick off the New Year, I thought we could start off on the right foot and reflect on how entrepreneurship education might change and improve for 2024.

What is trending at the moment is artificial intelligence and how this can be embedded into teaching, learning and assessment in an appropriate and ethical manner. Our students were already enquiring last semester as to whether they are allowed to use AI-generated images in their infographic coursework assessment for our first year entrepreneurial thinking module. We foresee much more inquiries and even bold attempts to push the boundaries in using generative AI tools like ChatGPT. In truth, while there has been a great deal of hype about ChatGPT, this is just one example of one type of AI tool. Besides large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, there are translation tools and AI detection software.

In terms of teaching, learning and assessment, AI tools that transform content, paraphrase content or correct grammar/spelling such as Grammarly, Quilbot and Google Translate, have been used by students for quite some time now especially among international students. For 2024, might we consider how these tools might change and improve enterprise and entrepreneurship education? For example, we know that the word “entrepreneurship” is a very western concept and many of our international students find it challenging to relate to this concept and see themselves as entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs. AI translation software can be encouraged in this instance to help students with their reading, writing and comprehension. We may even find that there is a more holistic and systemic concept that is palatable to a wider group of students. ChatGPT suggests “entrepreneurialism” as it “might be used to denote a broader cultural or societal ethos that is supportive of entrepreneurial endeavours, implying a quality or an ideology that embodies the spirit, attitude, or ethos of being entrepreneurial

As educators, we are all too familiar with the AI detection tools such as, Turnitin. Some other examples are Copyleaks and GPTZero. You will also be aware that none of these tools presently provide the depth of accuracy or reliability we need to confirm academic misconduct by our students. So for 2024, might we consider how we can make our assessments more authentic? We are after all enterprise educators, and our students should not be writing 2000-word business plans. At my university, we have significantly reduced written essays and reports from our enterprise and entrepreneurship curricula and replaced these with digital storyboards, 6-minute group pitching, vlogs and consultancy projects. I challenge you to do the same.

Ultimately, we circle back to LLMs like ChatGPT and similar generative AI content creation tools, including Midjourney, Bard, Minerva, and Perplexity.ai, to mention a few. It is within our gift as enterprise educators to lead the way in how these tools can be used. I firmly believe that we should seek to understand more about these tools and incorporate them into our teaching, learning and assessments rather than present these tools as an enigma or forbidden fruit. For instance, tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney are proving to be quite useful for our digital storyboarding assessments as students can generate images using their own prompts to empathise with consumer/market needs. It provides a sense of inclusivity for those who are not good at drawing or sourcing images and the assignment becomes more about the story-telling, insights into the consumer and market research rather than artistic drawing.

Integrating AI in enterprise education will come with its risks, but the opportunities for personalised learning, real-world relevance and enhanced collaboration that can foster innovation and critical thinking is one that we cannot afford to miss out on. The future is AI.

Views expressed are my own and not that of my university.

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) https://chat.openai.com/chat

Metrics and Measures

Written by Alison Price

Metrics remain a source of EEUK Member frustrations (stemming from sector wide inconsistency of reporting due to lack of clear guidance and lack of auditing) and their recognition of the importance of metrics, tracking and data as critical, underpinning all of the wide range of roles that EEUK represents, and the work that they do.

The EEUK membership are informed by data, highly reliant on metrics and frustrated by their variable importance (in terms of sector-wide accuracy, impact, credibility, as well as institutional reward/return) and their own limited ability to report upon “what is important” – which is not just “business starts” – but culture change, learning, skill development and confidence, within a self-supporting eco-system.  Within HE, a well thought out/considered decision “not to start” is as much a success for an individual or team as a “countable” ‘start-up’ and this positive impact, for individual, others, and culture, is not recognised in any significant way (skills development; confidence building or employability metrics or advancement).  As the development of eco-systems and pipelines, that build the local community as well as the student population, remain uncounted and EEUK members remain frustrated that the spotlight of “counts” distorts activity, creating a conveyor belt mentality that fails to recognise the true value of the experience.

However, the EEUK membership welcome the statistics that demonstrate the impact of the work done, the change made and the celebrate the achievements of staff and students within the local community, the economy and beyond. Our members record, capture and count their engagement, involvement and interactions with employers, community groups, students, staff, and SMEs and want the complexity of this work to be captured. They appreciate that for every successful start-up, there is a pipeline of future (or even mid-life) entrepreneurs, side-hustlers and innovators entering the work force. We know that each “practice-pitch” builds high levels presentation/interview confidence, and that each team challenge creates opportunities for leadership, resilience and emotional intelligence that create examples for applications and interviewers.  Attribution of these elements is extremely difficult, but that does not make it less important or impactful. This is the story that UK metrics needs to tell.

It is also acknowledged that elements that are counted create a spotlight of “over importance” on them, and knowing this should demand robust reporting, accountability, and clear guidance to support that.  With no direct funding attached to metrics, there are no consequences to poor reporting, whether over or under, other than to those working in the sector and EEUK wishes to support the work of its membership through accurate, robust and comprehensive sector wider data.

As members, let us know your views so we can amplify your concerns.

Photo: Charles Deluvio – Unsplash

 

EEUK President’s New Year Thoughts

Written by Dave Bolton

Dear Members and Friends of EEUK

As we stand on the threshold of a new year, I extend my best wishes to each one of you and your organisations. May the coming year bring us all success, growth, and prosperity for our institutions and for EEUK.

As your President, I am privileged to lead a community of dedicated individuals, and I look forward to navigating the challenges and seizing the opportunities that the future holds. Let us make sure we continue to work together, fostering innovation, collaboration, and excellence.

One element that always inspires me is the focus on perspective that the New Year brings. I’m sure 2024 will bring us renewed energy and determination to achieve our collective goals. Here’s to a year of accomplishments, milestones, and shared success. (And of course, the first IEEC outside of mainland UK, Belfast here we come!!)

I do, however, find myself pondering what the coming year might bring in terms of growth for enterprise education as a discipline across all levels of learning. These are obviously my opinions, however, broader trends observed in recent years have pointed towards a number of innovative strides in the discipline.

  1. Digital Transformation in Education: The integration of technology into education is likely to continue, with a focus on digital platforms, online courses, and interactive learning tools. Enterprise educators may adopt innovative technologies to enhance the learning experience for students.
  2. Adaptation to Remote and Hybrid Learning: The experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to a more permanent adoption of remote and hybrid learning models. Enterprise educators may continue to explore ways to effectively deliver content in both traditional and virtual formats.
  3. Focus on Practical Skills: There might be an increased emphasis on practical skills and real-world applications in enterprise education. Employability and preparing students for the workforce may become central themes, with a focus on experiential learning, internships, and industry collaborations.
  4. Global Perspectives: With the increasing interconnectedness of the global economy, enterprise educators may place a stronger emphasis on providing students with a global perspective. This could involve international collaborations, cross-cultural learning experiences, and a focus on global business trends.
  5. Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The importance of fostering an entrepreneurial mindset and cultivating innovation skills may continue to grow. Enterprise education programs may incorporate more elements related to startup incubation, design thinking, and creativity.
  6. Soft Skills Development: In addition to technical skills, there may be an increased recognition of the importance of soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Enterprise educators may design programs that holistically develop students for success in a professional environment.
  7. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: There might be a heightened focus on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in enterprise education. Efforts to create inclusive learning environments that reflect the diversity of the business world may become more pronounced.
  8. Lifelong Learning: The concept of lifelong learning is likely to gain more prominence. Enterprise educators may explore ways to offer continuous learning opportunities for professionals throughout their careers.
  9. The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in enterprise education is becoming increasingly prevalent. While AI offers numerous benefits to enterprise education, it’s essential to address ethical considerations, data privacy, and ensure that human oversight remains integral to the educational process. Additionally, ongoing research and development will likely bring about new and innovative applications of AI in the field of enterprise education.

I am excited to see what the next 12 months brings for us and once again I am proud to lead the organisation, YOUR organisation for another year. I wish you and your families a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous  New Year!

David Bolton

Associate Professor Swansea School of Management

President – Enterprise Educators UK

AGCAS and EEUK launch the first Fast-Track to Enterprise for Careers Professionals

Written by Helen Hook

Careers Services are being required more and more to provide enterprise and entrepreneurship support to students.  To support Careers Professionals to do this effectively AGCAS (The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service) and EEUK launched a bespoke training event for Careers Professionals to share good practice from across the sector.

We welcomed Careers Advisors, Employability Leads, Entrepreneurship Co-ordinators, and Heads of Service to collectively learn and discuss:

  • Useful frameworks and toolkits which could be used.
  • Insights and approaches when supporting student start-ups.
  • Embedding Enterprise Education into the curriculum.

“I felt that the AGCAS training was great to have such a mix of professionals and how they work with students, how their institutions worked in terms of enterprise delivery and also to just get a sense I am not the only one who feels a little out of my depths with the topic at times” (University of Chester)

 

Latest #EntEd news from our EEUK members

Written by Lynn O'Byrne


Liverpool: Leadership Innovation Award
Alison Pountney, Entrepreneurship & Start-up Consultant at The University of Liverpool has received a Leadership Innovation Award at the Liverpool Chamber Innovation in Business Awards. The award celebrates the achievements of those who have modernised and innovated to the advantage of their business, team, and wider community. The annual awards celebrate local businesses and individuals who have driven their organisation forward throughout the year. Also on the night, recent University of Liverpool graduate Noura Qusairy was crowned Young Person of the Year, in recognition of her work in establishing Yamama, a new sustainable and ethical Bar, Kitchen and Café in the Baltic Triangle with a focus on supporting refugees.


Southampton: Sustainable Enterprise Challenge
Southampton Business School has been delivering a sustainable enterprise challenge to almost 200 Year 9 pupils across the city. The challenge, called Make Your Place, focuses on working with young people to help them explore local training, employment and business opportunities through developing products, services, and activities to make their place healthier, safer, and more sustainable. The programme, led by Enterprise Fellow, Sian Campbell, has just received over £25k of Higher Education Innovation Funding from the newly launched Sustainability and Resilience Institute to develop the program further, working with college and university students, and in other towns and cities. For further information please get in touch with Sian at s.e.campbell@soton.ac.uk.


ARU: ‘Entrepreneurs on the Move at Anglia Ruskin University
Throughout the autumn, ARU will be hosting the Entrepreneurs on the Move networking events organised by Connected Cambridge. This is a fantastic opportunity for local entrepreneurs to engage with ARU students and graduates and to share their expertise and entrepreneurial journeys. So far, we heard from two amazing women: Ruth Everard and Claire Martinsen. Ruth runs Dragonmobility, a social enterprise that provides innovative engineering solutions to enhance mobility and accessibility for individuals and Claire is the founder of Breckland Orchard, a company that provides a wide range of carbonated soft drinks that use spring water as a base.’


Oxford Brookes: Digital Entrepreneurship
Oxford Brookes colleagues (Paul Jackson, Samia Kamal, and Philip Clegg) presented a session at IEEC as a follow on from their EEUK hosted Event at Brookes in February 2023 on Digital Entrepreneurship. The IEEC session, “Unpacking Digital Entrepreneurship: Establishing definitions, support needs, and preparing for businesses of the future,” encouraged participants to consider, “what specific areas of interest there may be for Enterprise Educators in this space”, and, “how might we better support digital and data-driven start-ups?” Feedback from that session is shared here, and a Community of Practice is proposed, with the opportunity to express interest via this link.

Download the pres


The Weave:Essex Business Accelerator

The Weave is hosting the seventh iteration of the Essex Business Accelerator, a seven-week entrepreneurial education program that helps entrepreneurs communicate effectively with their audience. The program has supported over seventy micro businesses and concludes with a pitching event where experts provide feedback. This is the final iteration of the program, and many businesses have joined The Weave community for ongoing support. The University of Essex has commissioned The Weave to deliver the iTeams program in 2024, bringing together students, entrepreneurs, and mentors to solve real-world problems. Other universities can now benefit from this program by contactingjames@wearetheweave.co.uk.


QMUL: Female Founders Retreat

In 2023, the Enterprise Team of Queen Mary received a small grant to create a pilot Female Founders Retreat to build a supportive network for women entrepreneurs paving the way for greater equality within their chosen career path. Focusing on collaboration, knowledge sharing and wellbeing through business and somatic sessions, the retreat centred on scaling sustainably and avoiding burnout. Since, the network developed from 8 to 40 members, embedded in a learning programme with bi-monthly meetups, speaker events, and more to grow the community. The retreat’s achievements showcase the huge potential for supporting Queen Mary’s women entrepreneurs.


Falmouth: Anthropy
Students from Cornwall Business School, Falmouth University studying Business Management, Sustainable Festival Management, and Creative Events Management recently collaborated with industry partner ‘Anthropy’ on a high profile 3-day event held at the Eden Project, Cornwall.  Anthropy is an annual gathering that aims to bring together diverse leaders to spark innovation and foster fresh thinking to inspire a better Britain. The event included a sustainable fashion show in partnership with waste reduction charity WRAP that showcased the potential for greater circularity and the use of deadstock fabric. Leah Shrimpton, a student, said, “My time working at Anthropy helped grow my passion to become a manager.”

Just for starts?

Written by Alison Price

EEUK was invited to join the work underpinning OECD EECOLE (Entrepreneurship Education Collaboration an Engagement) to assess the role of civic universities in England and Wales.  Looking at the UK’s Civic University Network to explore innovation as a “place-responsive” concept, this work looks at the societal impact of institutions as HEIs engage in their local eco-system/communities.

This OECD work supports the work of a new initiative NCIA to generate and mobilise intelligence of what works, for whom and in what contexts; catalyse and share civic innovations; and provide universities with the framework and tools to deliver meaningful, measurable civic strategies and activities.

EEUK will be supporting and sharing the OECD work and updating you on the civic university themes as their work unfolds.

In addition, EEUK is flagging up a national consultation – ESRC’s Work, Education and Skills (WES) team are undertaking a long-range horizon-scanning exercise – which you may want to engage with at an institutional level.  This work is exploring two key research areas (below) and seeking evidence gaps from your perspective.

  • Work priority areas: a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable labour force and market
  • Education priority areas: societal impacts on education provision, educational inequalities, special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision and skills for life.

EEUK continues to work to support international students and, you, as you guide them through their visa options, and also wanted to flag a series of ebooks from SeedLegals that can help you with spin outs, funding options, and their latest guide to launching and scaling start-ups and spin-outs.

Making sense of enterprise education?

Written by Steve Aicheler

Hidden on page 24 of the Entrecomp framework is a learning outcome which says “I can combine my understanding of different contexts to transfer knowledge, ideas and solutions across different areas.” It’s part of the Creativity competence, level 6 of being curious and open. So with that in mind I’d like to tell you a story of how I hope we, as Enterprise Educators can demonstrate this competence.

Like all good stories I need a cast of characters, so let me introduce Martin Lackéus – well known to many of you and our keynote speaker at IEEC. My second character is Nick Gibb who was until recently Education Minister in the UK government. Finally, David Snowden, a keen mountain walker, although that fact is probably not relevant.

At IEEC Martin challenged us as Enterprise Educators to take the Red Pill, to peel the scales from our eyes and to peer, curiously, under the hood of our practice to understand both what we are trying to achieve, and what is or isn’t working. As in the 1999 film The Matrix, reality may not be a pleasant experience – but is it better to live in reality or to continue to fool ourselves that we have reached the sunlit uplands of ‘perfect’ Enterprise Education?

Now let me take you to two other interests of mine, life after all does exist outside of EE (no, really it does!) To de-stress I try to run on a regular basis, although on this particular occasion I decided to engage with another interest – that of politics. If, like most, you despair at the shallow, soundbite politics of the moment then the “Political Thinking” podcast on BBC sounds does offer a more nuanced, non-aggressive deep dive into understanding the motivation and approaches of politicians. On this particular run I chose to listen to an interview with Nick Gibb an education minister who I feel would not immediately fall in love with the approaches often used in EE practice.

The conversation, led by Nick Robinson took the listener through why Nick Gibb feels that his approach to education is valid. On one of his keynote policies, that of synthetic phonics Nick tells us of his evidence led approach – both in the introduction of phonics, in its roll out and in his ongoing resistance to those who feel other approaches may be more effective. One argument used is that phonics reduces the number of sounds to be memorised from 1000’s to only 40+. This feels like a logical argument to me, a reduction in the need to memorise 1000’s of basic words, coupled with an evidence base that the approach is effective.

This contrasts to another of Nick Gibb’s key policies, the ‘knowledge curriculum’. From the evidence of this podcast alone, this policy seems much more based on personal experience, anecdote and the unevidenced opinion of ‘experts’. Counter to the phonics approach, this requires the memorisation of many facts.

Listening to this interview I couldn’t help but to make a connection to Martin’s presentation and his call to build the evidence that Enterprise Education is developing real value and is not merely a construct that is giving us the illusion of satisfaction – are the approaches we are taking in EE evidence led like phonics, or based on gut feel and personal experience like the ‘knowledge curriculum’, and how can we tell the difference?

This is where I need to introduce my final character, because in reality, Enterprise Education is more complex and more chaotic than teaching young children how to read*. The Cynefin Framework, from the Welsh, Cynefin – a sence of place,  developed by the mountain walking David Snowden is a decision making framework designed to help leaders to make better decisions. It does this through a process of sense-making. Perhaps too often in EE we find ourselves in a state of disorder, leading to difficulty in developing effective solutions, or believing that the answers must be simple, we attempt to categorise what we are doing as obvious and search for ‘best practice’. While this may work for teaching children to read using phonics, in EE this is leading to what Martin has referred to as the McDonaldisation of EE, a set of practices which don’t respond to where we, or our learners are.

Different elements of EE may fit in one of the three remaining Cynefin domains, situations which are chaotic, complex or complicated. How we support an individual student to progress with an idea may often be chaotic, the development of Entrepreneurial Competencies within a program constrained by PSRB requirements is complicated – but can be guided by ‘good practice’ whereas the development of accelerator programs or extracurricular work would be complex, governed by rules of thumb, but allowing for emergent or adaptive practice.

So before we are able to provide the evidence that Martin has challenged us to produce we must first understand the domain in which the different elements of our work may sit and therefore the type of practice which may best help us to achieve the outcomes we desire and a true understanding of what is actually working.

We need to look to other fields, such as decision making and combine this understanding within our context. We must also understand the factors which lead to those decision makers like Nick Gibb who are able to influence policy to choose to follow the evidence or to choose to follow their instinct. We must remain curious and we must encourage and find time for proper conversations with colleagues from other fields to enable us to truly respond to Martin’s challenge.

*Other than limited experience in reading with my own children I cannot claim to have first hand knowledge of teaching children to read, so it may well actually be complicated and chaotic.

I’d like to thank Mark Neild for reviving my interest in Cynefin, a concept I came across a number of years ago – I knew it was relevant but hadn’t quite connected the dots.

Latest #EntEd news from our EEUK members

Written by Lynn O'Byrne

Surrey: Global Graduate Award in Entrepreneurship
A first of its kind for the University of Surrey, the Global Graduate Award in Entrepreneurship offering co-curricular credits for students’ practical entrepreneurial endeavours has launched this month. In the first 5 days of registration the course was oversubscribed by 5 times its original capacity, receiving an extraordinary uptake of 217 students for the hands-on programme. The team behind the GGA including Student Enterprise, academics from the Business School and other Faculties are scaling up the programme due to its popularity and in doing so aim to create a substantial pipeline of innovation and achieve a significant impact on student experience. More info here.


Strathclyde: Social Enterprise World Forum 2023

As part of the Social Enterprise World Forum 2023 in Amsterdam, Strathclyde Business School hosted a workshop on “Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Rural Areas” on October 10, 2023. This session in partnership with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, and VU Amsterdam, featured global academic and policy experts on rural entrepreneurship ecosystems including Niels Bosma, Sreevas Sahasranamam, and Ira Chatterjee, alongside global practitioners from this space. Read more here. 


Aston: EPIC Young Entrepreneur Awards 2023

Two startup businesses run by Team Academy Aston Business Enterprise Development students won prizes in an awards scheme to celebrate young entrepreneurs.The EPIC Young Entrepreneur Awards 2023 celebrate and recognise the achievements of young people to become a startup business. ArtByZakia, a company focused on creating personalised and handmade gifts, won the Inclusion Champion Award. Its founder is Zakia Ashraf, a BSc Business Enterprise Development graduate 2020-2023. Brainy Bar, which produces energy bars that are hand-made from natural ingredients, won the Fresh Taste Award. Current BSc Business Enterprise Development student, Dominik Kulcsar, is operations manager. Read more here.


Bristol: Student Design Awards
Our Student Design Awards are marking one hundred years since their launch.
Challenges for 2023-24 are live and range from: how can we use AI to tackle the impacts of climate change and how might we improve cultures of care?


Westminster: WeNetwork Alumna Designs Dress Worn by British PM’s Wife at G20 Summit
Manimekala Fuller, alumna of the University of Westminster, recently gained widespread recognition when her designed lavender marbled dress was worn by Akshata Murty, the wife of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, at the G20 summit in Delhi. Manimekala’s remarkable journey into entrepreneurship was profoundly shaped by the Westminster Enterprise Network and the Elevate program, where she gained essential business skills. She said: “Through the Incubator, I learnt about the basics of how to ideate, launch and run a business, which helped me hugely as I didn’t have any entrepreneurship or business experience previously.” Manimekala’s success highlights how WeNetwork empowers aspiring entrepreneurs. Find out more.


Durham University Alumni Angel Network
At Durham we have just launched our Durham University Alumni Angel Network. The opportunity – many of our alums expressing an interest in investing in Durham student & graduate founder led businesses and many of our founders’ requiring sources of external funding. The solution – the alumni angel network. Following months of planning, consulting, assembling the roster of qualified members and curating deal flow we have held our first two events. Five businesses have successfully pitched to our twenty-five UK & US based members. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch – chris.gilman@durham.ac.uk


Herts: Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023 at Herts, November 13-19
Global Entrepreneurship Week is a global celebration of entrepreneurship that occurs every year in November. This year it will be held from November 13 to November 19.At Herts, we will be holding a series of events throughout this week to join in this international celebration. With the global theme for this year’s celebration being ‘Entrepreneurs Thrive Here’, we will be highlighting the impact our students and graduates are making in the local and international economic communities. These events will focus on the experience of our entrepreneurs already thriving in an international market or exploring the exploitation of one.