Look out!

Written by Alison Price

(Photo: Alexander Krivitskiy https://unsplash.com/photos/59Ys_IRAJLs)


With KEF dominating much of our EEUK policy updates, the work to support KEConcordat shows sector-wide learning and insight on “what good looks like” that ranges from the social value created within Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs) (which see non-academic partners, such as community groups, working with researchers) through to how virtual internships can lead into freelancing for students and graduates.  This KEC work recognises that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to measuring non-financial impact measures and asks HEIs to consider “what matters” in order to appreciate the value of Knowledge Exchange.

Many are drawn to Theory of Change evaluation strategies to understand the impact/legacy but critically, by defining KEC value in financial, social, cultural and environmental terms, EEUK members find that this approach resonates with the EntreCompIntoAction definition of enterprise, welcoming how this work supports the enterprise agenda as well as providing new resources that benefit all.

In EntreComp news, the new Champion Awards have been defined at 4 levels (Supporter; Explorer; Practitioner; and Champion) creating personal pathways to success and also providing organisational recognition are launching this month.

However, it is visa news that most HEIs have been desperate for, which has knocked the changes into the New Year and declared that they will continue to accept applications for Innovator-endorsing body status from Higher Educational Institutions and that all of the current endorsing bodies, including the HEIs, are all moved into legacy-endorsing body status, this will enable HEIs to also continue to support those already endorsed on your Start up programmes as they switch into the Innovator route.  Check out this library of blogs to understand Tier 1 extensions and the impact on your students.

*Particular thanks to Finn Finbarr Carter, University of East Anglia and Bonnie Hacking, University of St. Andrews and EEUK membership for their visa work.

All together now

Written by Alison Price

IEEC brings together enterprise educators in all their roles, be that practitioner, influencer or academic, for key discussions that explore how to deliver for staff and students, whether nationally, internationally, in the class room, outside the curriculum or hybrid/online.

Those working in accelerators or incubators will be interested in the latest CentreforEntrepreneurs report that highlights their growth and impact in each nation state, with 1 in 20 new businesses receiving support.

Whilst the 2022 IEEC session policy overview is primarily aimed at our UK Membership, it is clear that the lessons of ‘nations’ can often be drawn as parallels for institutional practice (such as having a clear strategy and mobilising your champions!) just as those of key bodies/entities can be insightful for crafting individual approaches. So post-IEEC, there is always much to reflect upon as term starts –  whether it is the significance of a key appointment (such as Chief Entrepreneur Scotland) or the experience of those working externally (engaging with SMES (KEF (see EEUK blog on SEE) and seeing those approaches) articulated within the KEF Concordats (see NCUB KEC report ).

Appreciating the educational pipeline (using APPG reports on HEI and School Enterprise Education) helps us recognise the importance of EntEd  as a lifelong skill and EEUK welcomes how it forms part of many new QAA benchmark statements (see Prof Andy Penaluna’s EEUK blog) and underpins our shared resources such as ETCToolkit, as now populated by EEUK Fellowship 
Sharing key resources, such as GreenComp and EEUK EntreComp into Action and GreenComp mapping (Prof Andy Penaluna) or new frameworks (2B Framework linking DigComp and EntreComp) helps to guide our practice and connect EEUK members to the EntreComp community.  But it is the deeper reflection on inclusion (defined here by WONKHE;  inspired by the Henley Business School Report Equity Effect (2021) that demands we reflect upon our curriculum design, timetabling/scheduling, and wider approach to ensure that we include all in our ambitions.  Reviewing the latest Office for Students Knowledge Exchange Evaluation reports of recent funded HEI projects highlights many key lessons, around language and clarity with students which “reject the exclusionary  potential of the ‘just do it’ attitude” (Brentnall 2022) that we have transposed from business practice into #ented and our IEEC policy session invites the EEUK membership to consider how we create an environment in which all students can thrive.

Alison Price
Head of Policy and Professional Development

Educating future women entrepreneurs?

Written by Dr Inge Hill

Dr Inge Hill, Royal Agricultural University & Director of Enterprise Educators UK

When I graduated with my PhD, I was invited to take part in an assessment centre for future entrepreneurs and received a psychological profile with all my results showcasing an entrepreneurial personality – at least according to the construct underlying this test. I remember well the emotions I felt when I dragged myself to the letter box in London to post some paper work – the voice in my head telling me that I do not have what it takes, and that I would embarrass myself. At this time, my postdoc research grant had come to an end and I needed to find ways to earn a living to remain in the UK.

I am sharing these thoughts and emotions as they are not untypical for what some women feel when they consider engaging in starting a business. And remember, at that time I had the test result of fully meeting all aspects of an entrepreneurial personality with particular strengths in determination and resilience.

As an educator, even when not directly teaching entrepreneurship, I engage in building female students’ confidence and resilience. And so many things I do today are based on the learning from many programmes and initiatives that existed then but not today.

I was working with a team at the then Department of Trade and Industry to organise the first researcher roundtable on women’s entrepreneurship in 2001 in Downing Street and was one of its speakers. And I trained to be a women’s business adviser and still have the toolkit produced by the then women’s business development agency in Coventry.

Where would I go today and what information and training would I engage with?

I tried my luck, and was surprised how little actionable information I could find with a quick google search. Inspiring I found EEUK member King’s College offering a network King’s College women entrepreneurship network for staff and students. https://www.kcl.ac.uk/entrepreneurship/develop-your-idea/women-entrepreneurs-network.

Here are my tips on what educators and enterprise advisers in HE could do every day:

  • Share the data we have to alert male and female students and colleagues. Most recently, the Gender Index was published with regional insights. Also alert them about the ongoing gender paygap. We need more women role models from diverse backgrounds showcasing the challenges they faced and how they overcame them. The Gender Index only offers ‘more-than’ middle-aged white women as cases. Where are the young ones and those of ethnic minority origin?
  • Create a space for reflection and a rational way to analyse the potential in business situations and how the future female entrepreneur can seize this potential.
  • Counteract women’s lack of confidence and self-efficacy when you find it. Have conversations with women and seek to identify the root causes of limiting beliefs and share tools to address them. This case study I found inspiring as it showcases how one woman entrepreneur overcame hers and how to create a reflective space.

Let’s keep the conversation going – get in touch to discuss what tools we can develop and what we can do next. irh2018@yahoo.com

Back to school?

Written by Alison Price

In 2014, EEUK members helped shape a key APPG (Microbusiness) report that reviewed the English educational pathways from school age, to ask whether we had a system fit for an entrepreneur? Now, in 2022, the APPG Entrepreneurship is back to explore why English schools are missing a trick by not embedding entrepreneurship through the education system.  EEUK Committees shared their experience in support of fostering an entrepreneurial spirit that our FE/HEIs will see the benefit of in future years and recognises each of the three failings identified: the lack of a national strategy, an entrepreneurship-focused curriculum, and ministerial ownership and accountability. See the report on our EEUK Publications page.

EEUK also supported another consultation recently which has resulted in global recommendations for entrepreneurship (OECD) adding further support to ambitions for the development of an entrepreneurial mindset throughout society and highlighting key aspects for us to consider within Transitions and resilience of SMEs and how we create entrepreneurial eco-systems that support starts, providing big picture rationales for your practice.

Skill development also seems to remain a focus, with a new report failing to place the UK on any of its top 10s (good or bad!) but with a new framework linking transversal (such as EntreComp) and digital competences there is new support for online VET (FE) teaching and learning.

KEF Concordat work comes together on 12th July where review of the action plans from over 100 HEIs, who tracked their progress in Knowledge Exchange against 8 KEF Concordat principles will be share their sector/institutional reflections. EEUK are keen to hear the strategic perspectives on the likely opportunities and challenges for the sector in this field for our next newsletter and sharing at IEEC! See you there!

Freelancing, is it a ‘real business’?

Written by Megan Powell Vreeswijk

I have had the privilege to work across the enterprise education and business support scene for over 13 years now, not only in HE but around the world with the British Council and NESTA.

Though one thing does not seem to have changed in all this time. I still hear the same terms from some of our colleagues about how we should be supporting ‘real businesses’!

This has (and still does) make my blood curdle. I know what they are ‘trying’ to say (they mean companies that can raise investment, employ people and make great case studies or impact stories) and supporting these businesses is something we do. But what they forget to acknowledge is that, in 2020, there was a whopping 2.2 million people in the UK working as Freelancers (with 44% being female).  This is basically HALF (49% actually, according to IPSE) of all solo self-employed people during that year (yes there were around 4.4 million solopreneurs recorded in 2020 according to the ONS).

And, these past couple of years have made many people sit up and take stock of life in the fast lane, waiting on furlough street or basically realising that there is more to the ‘Life/Work’ balance and are seizing the opportunity to make the change. Freelancing is a great route to do just that.

What does it take to be Freelancer?

We know that you need your own set of skills and a passion to deliver, but what many people forget is that like ALL business, you still need some basic enterprise acumen, a deal of patience, some wicked marketing tricks, a bit more patience, understanding of finance and even more patience.

Taking the leap from employment to self-employment, no matter the form you choose, is an almighty big step for anyone, so having the offer of support is vital for many new venturers to help them explore and succeed.

At NTU, we realised that we had a high number of Future Freelancers, when in lockdown we decided to work with Alison Grade (of the Freelance Bible) and offer a specialist programme just for those who are or who are seeking to become Freelancers. Now, this was not done because we felt they needed something different, but we were aware that they felt their business model did not always fit into the ‘normal’ business support offer. So, when we had over 370 people register for our online programme (pretty much all from Nottingham), we knew we had done the right thing.

Future Freelance support with NTU Enterprise

We are now offering this programme every year with additional benefit to those that attend and complete by getting them registered on the Freelancer Club platform with the brilliant Matt Dowling, which promotes jobs, collaborations and offers additional business support post programme.

IPSE believe that our Freelancers could be contributing as much as £162 Billion to the UK economy, which leads me to note that so many of our organisations and ‘real’ businesses rely on Freelancers to a; get them going at the start, b; step in and deliver on skills that are not within the organisation and c; make up quite a chunk of our education (circa 180,000 teaching and education professionals) and healthcare system (healthcare professionals as freelancers rose by 19% in 2020).

So, when we talk about supporting ‘real’ businesses, we need to remind our colleagues that without our Freelancers, we probably would not support quite as many or such good ‘real’ businesses!

Sources of Data and additional information/reading:

IPSE 2020 report https://www.ipse.co.uk/policy/research/the-self-employed-landscape/the-self-employed-landscape-report-2020.html

ONS: https://www.ons.gov.uk/

Don’t disappoint me: https://dontdisappoint.me.uk/resources/lifestyle/freelancing-statistics-uk/#:~:text=This%20means%20that%2049%25%20of,employed%20workers%20in%20the%20Uk

All figures from IPSE report 2020

An Honoured Position

Written by Dave Bolton

So over the last week I have had a lot of time to reflect. From beginnings in entrepreneurship working alongside Welsh Government to help people start businesses, to my initial skirmish into the world of academia, I have certainly had some experiences along the track.

My initial engagement with EEUK was at an event run at Glyndwr University in Wrexham where I was welcomed with open arms. This was back in 2013 and I quickly came to realise that there was something just a little special about the organisation, but more importantly, the people in it. The same faces kept appearing all the time and everyone was more than willing to share support and advice. As my career has developed over the past 10 years, the support from my ‘enterprise family’ has been a constant. I have looked forward to engaging at events and, of course, the legendary IEEC conferences (my first being Newcastle in 2014)

In 2019, I was lucky enough to be elected by the members to join the board. Having that massive dose of ‘imposter syndrome’ quickly brought me back to earth but, through the support of the illustrious names on the board at the time (you all know who you are), I quickly settled in working on the Richard Beresford Bursary scheme initially and latterly becoming Finance Director in 2021.

I still can’t quite believe that I have been elected as President Elect, and I’m sure that there will be a great deal of ‘imposter syndrome’ yet to come as I think about the names of the people who have gone before me.

It is truly an honour to be working with, and supporting, Emily during her final year as President and also with Megan, the incoming Vice President and the rest of the Board and Executive. We have big plans for EEUK in the short to medium term, but rest assured that the membership body will always be our driving force moving this organisation to the next level.

I look forward to meeting you all soon at our events.

Dave Bolton
President Elect

Wave goodbye to the SEE

Written by Alison Price

Having dug deep to understand the impact of linking learner days, CPD and graduate starts in the first iteration of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) EEUK can now report that the “SEE” perspective, where graduate starts data from HEBCI was reported, has now been amended and renamed.  In the second iteration of KEF this perspective is now the  “Continuing professional development (CPD) and graduate start-ups” perspective, amplifying the role of the business starts in this perspective and within the Framework. In addition, trade journals are now included within co-authorships and there have been changes in the ‘IP and commercialisation’ perspective which sees a new metric looking at average external investment for spin-outs for 3yrs+.

Wider changes can be seen in the presentation where it will now be quintiles, where quintile five will represent very high engagement.  There was also a commitment to continue the further development of metrics in this area – an approach that EEUK welcomes and to which it extends its support.

Across the nation states, work continues unchanged with the Knowledge Exchange Concordat as its action plan approach seeks to share learning across the sector.

The QAA (May 2022) launched its new Characteristics Statements on Micro credentials which are closely linked to Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies, and can be used by higher education providers in the design and development of new provision and as a reference point when reviewing or revalidating existing provision.

Skills continue to dominate the policy discussion, with the OECD suggesting that many young people are learning for jobs that are disappearing while employers have difficulties finding the people with the skills they need.  The office for students shares the formative evaluation on the student knowledge exchange programme, and  in advance of IEEC, we read with interest the views on Welsh HE.  Jeremy Miles MP focuses on people and places, suggesting that a university education is transformative, broadens the mind, builds social and cultural capital, and nurtures skills and knowledge which help us succeed and work in life and in society. Want to hear more about the approach in Wales and unique success within EntEd? See you in 7-9 Sept at IEEC  – book now!

Alison Price
Head of Policy and Professional Development

Here we go gathering…   

Written by Alison Price

As it is already summer term, May 2022, it finally feels, here in the UK, that we are ‘gathering’ – gathering pace and momentum, gathering insights, and ultimately planning to gather together!

Gathering Together

EEUK has already held its first in-person event and is currently releasing details of keynote speakers for our annual conference (IEEC) in Swansea (7-9th Sept).  We are also gathering together for our in-person events but have listened to your feedback about keeping some activities online to bring members together.

Gathering momentum

In the most significant of all curriculum moves, the UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) has mainstreamed enterprise and entrepreneurship into 14 new subject benchmarks. This has been welcomed by enterprise educators working with academic subjects as the key to unlocking significant change.
Don’t forget the @ETCToolkit has subject-specific help, and we have recently launched the latest submissions from our EEUK fellows if you are looking for inspiration on pre-start up, innovation or creating a pitch club!

EEUK, having shared your views in the recent KEF consultation, continues its work on your behalf regarding the KEF Concordat which continues its work to December and beyond with a range of deep-dive webinars on: 1) Commercialisation, innovation and business 2) impact 3) Culture and Place 4) engagement 5) processes 6) funding and skills 7) capacity building and people 8) continuous improvement and 9) mission – as the KEF Concordat is an opportunity to engage UK-wide.

Gathering insights for action

OECD is sharing the work from its Entrepreneurship Education Collaboration and Engagement network (EECOLE) which highlights entrepreneurship as a mindset and recognises the importance of mainstreaming entrepreneurship education as a way to promote the Sustainable Development Goals bringing sustainability and inclusiveness dimensions into its work.  With a focus on “place-responsiveness” in higher education, as the capacity of HEIs to bend their research and teaching activities to reflect the needs of local actors, and improve sustainability and inclusion in their own communities, EEUK will keep sharing work to keep you up to date.

If you missed IPSE’s  The Self-Employment Landscape  (2021) this report charts the fall in self-employed work in the UK from 4.3 million to 4.1 million, noting that self-employed workers continue to contribute £303 billion to the UK economy.

Having heard, at the recent Handshake and Gradconsult conference, 2 key “call to action” facts from Dr Naeema Pash that:

  • “There are no black CEOs, CFOs or Chairs of FTSE 100 companies”
  • “Black women, over 45, within public sector are the group facing the most discrimination at work”

it is clear that Henley Business School’s report “the Equity Effect” is required reading, reminding us that “we thrive when we feel included”.

Alison Price
Head of Policy and Professional Development

Reflections on the new QAA subject-specific benchmark statements

Written by Professor Andy Penaluna

From EEUK Honorary Fellow, Professor Andy Penaluna

As QAA announces new subject-specific benchmark statements, with a key criterion being a comment on enterprise and entrepreneurship for that subject area, Andy reflects on how the conversation started and the new opportunities for Enterprise Educators.

As many EEUK friends know, back in the mid 2000’s, my ex-bank manager wife Kath persuaded me to join the enterprise and entrepreneurship education debate. She told me that what I did as a design educator and designer when creating value for my clients through creativity and future visioning skills, were part of the goal of entrepreneurship education. I initially resisted, of course, as the entrepreneurship language was quite alien to me. However, the feedback from a rather cheeky approach of delivering the same paper to both the HEA’s Business and Art conferences with her convinced me, and was further confirmed when an updated version caught the attention of Prof. Allan Gibb. He persuaded us to go to Brazil to present our case. There we won a best international paper award, and a seed of a question emerged – how many other disciplines could contribute to what appeared to be a business and management dominated topic?

Where it all started – Leeds early 2010. Hosted by HEA (AdvanceHE) and EEUK, Steve Ball and Janine Swail lead a SWOT analysis for QAA.

I ended up leading HEA’s (now AdvanceHE) Special Interest Group in Entrepreneurial Learning, and the question began to be answered. Gaps were spotted and insights gained, so I presented my case to the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. I suggested a new guidance document that could be used by any discipline, noting that theatre and performance had significant expertise in learning to be persuasive, medical education could offer real insights into decision making under stress and agricultural education provided excellent learning into future thinking. I even pointed out that history and classic Greek scholars were excellent at making decisions when presented with incomplete evidence to act upon.

In 2010, at the last IEEC in Wales, I was EEUK’s Chair, and a Concordat was developed with delegates that, amongst other things, called for better guidance in terms of quality of the education in entrepreneurship. Thus, the scene was set, and after consulting 32 of QAA’s Subject Benchmark Statement, and presenting the initial idea to QAA, a meeting hosted by Alison Price in Leeds Met (now Leeds Becket), confirmed QAA’s interest. The only problem was that something as interdisciplinary as this had never been done before, so we were breaking new ground. Tasked with inviting a team of experts to work on the concept, EEUK and its network came up trumps, and by 2012, the first version was out for national consultation, and the revised version was published within a few months. The concept also caught the attention of colleagues interested in Education for Sustainable Development, who subsequently produced their own first guidance in 2014 using a similar strategy. Both have subsequently been updated after National Consultations in 2018 and 2021.

QAA Quality Enhancement Network event in Glasgow – discussing potential links between enterprise and QAA Subject Benchmark Statement

As some of you will have noticed, we have now turned full circle, as the most recent suite of Subject Benchmark Statement all include Sustainability and Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. 14 examples, from Archaeology to Chemistry and from Earth Science to Policing echo Neil Coles’ seminal work on the A to Z of Enterprise, which in turn had caught the eye of Lord David Young in his ‘Enterprise for All’.

Key learning from the QAA’s work was that examination-dominated curriculum leads to learning for hindsight, as we can only talk about the past when dealing with certainty of facts. As a designer, I learned to develop opportunity spotting, which we termed insights. When insights are linked, they offer foresight, where well-informed best guesses come together to provide a vision of the future. It will therefore come as no surprise that each new Subject Benchmark is based on what they call ‘Vision Statements’, with enterprise and entrepreneurship at their helm. This makes the work of EEUK members more transparent to a range of disciplines and with increased visibility, increased demand is likely to follow.

The work of EEUK has never been more important.

Andy Penaluna, Professor Emeritus at University of Wales Trinity Saint David


Further information

QAA’s launch of 14 new Benchmark Statement can be found at: https://www.qaa.ac.uk/news-events/news/qaa-launches-first-suite-of-revised-subject-benchmark-statements

QAA Benchmark Statements per subject:

The 2010 IEEC Concordat details five goals that were determined by delegate contribution. See: https://ieec.co.uk/previous-conferences/action-in-enterprise-education/ieec2010-concordat/


Consult and Be Heard

Written by Alison Price

We all know that the best policy is informed by practitioners, so whenever the opportunity arises, EEUK is keen for the voice of the membership to be heard.  This can be in areas that are directly related to our wide spectrum of an Enterprise Educator’s work, such as our recent calls to members to support the APPG Entrepreneurship in their schools work  or UKRI (UK Research and Innovation & Research England) in their KEF review.  In addition, we are flagging Wonkhe and Pearson’s survey that explores students’ sense of belonging and inclusion at university.

Picking up on our recent policy themes, there is commentary on GEM women’s report, that suggests that whilst women-led initiatives now make up a large proportion of the entrepreneurial ventures driving job creation, innovation, and economic growth, women still face access barriers to networks, finance, and role models they need to run profitable businesses. The challenge is now to adapt the eco-system to provide this support.

If you missed The Rose Review Progress Report 2022 it came out in Feb ‘22 and outlines the extra support needed for female-led businesses to thrive; the Rose Review shows that the impact of Covid-19 risks holding back progress. It suggests that despite the rapid growth in female-led start-ups, female entrepreneurs have experienced additional caring responsibilities during the pandemic that has impacted their business. In positive news, they launched the Women Backing Women campaign (to increase chances of early-stage investment) and have record numbers of financial service providers signed up to the Investing in Women Code.

“Levelling up” is challenged as a route to addressing regional inequalities in this Institute for Government paper, which looks at skills, R&D as well as education, giving food for thought to those engaging regionally.

Graduate employment is ‘myth-busted’ in a new UUK report, which 2019 IEEC keynote Charlie Ball summarises in his appreciation of the mismatch between graduate skills and employer needs.

Finally, our latest EEUK blog helps connects the dots when seeking entrepreneurial, sustainable and ethical outcomes for business starts and curriculum.

Alison Price
Head of Policy and Professional Development

April 2022