Dundee: Digital Annual Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Symposium

An annual one-day event designed to raise awareness of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in general across the University of Dundee’s nine Schools, as well as specifically celebrating the rich diversity of practices within and between the various subjects and specialisms.

A key objective is to engage with the wider national entrepreneurship ecosystem and nurture new conversations and activities with local communities and national organisations.

It is designed to nudge cultural change in our University and support co-design of the transition. It is to champion inter-disciplinary workings and inspire each other to imagine new communities of practice together.

Development and Delivery

Academic staff from across the University’s nine Schools and central student services work together to create an alternative and meaningful experience, through a mixture of formal committee meetings, informal conversation and design led innovation workshops. Staff, students and executive management co-design its focus which is further enhanced with investment and commitment from industry and fourth sector organisations. It is closely connected to the City of Dundee and its unique personality and character.

Design is strategically employed to create an inspiring and thought provoking strategy and session, with entrepreneurs invited to tell their stories throughout the day itself. In addition, we work strategically with national organisations – in 2016, these were the Scottish Institute of Enterprise and, RSA Scotland – to exchange knowledge, develop policy frameworks, consolidate our working relationship and, develop entrepreneurial activities.

HEInnovate tool is used to facilitate the developments and in 2016, it was also a key means of delivery.

The key challenges in this work include:

  • Growing the model
  • Enhancing participant’s experience
  • Audience Development


The biggest impact is the consolidation of strategy and development of dynamic ideas surrounding Entrepreneurship. It includes the sustained commitment and contribution to developing and realising a new Centre of Entrepreneurship, due to open in the summer of 2017, in partnership with Elevator (which ‘is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting the entrepreneurs, business leaders and employees of today and tomorrow’).

The new centre is for students, alumni and staff, offering a means with which to develop knowledge, understanding and experience of enterprise and entrepreneurship, with business mentoring to support start-ups and-or applications to national awards such as Converge Challenge and Scottish Edge, for example.

Additional impacts include development of ambitious initiatives such as Global Health Challenge, a pan University, extra curriculum project in partnership with six fourth sector organisations. It affords live interdisciplinary project experiences and, an alternative creative approach to mobilising new ideas across diverse cultures and communities and methods. More information here.

Impact Measurement 

We take the view that impact of entrepreneurship takes up to 10 years to fully understand and measure.

To support impact measurement in the short-term, we know that in 2012 the University of Dundee set out its purpose to transform lives, locally and globally, with a vision to become Scotland’s leading University. Entrepreneurship is vital to realising this ambition, yet in 2012, it was a word and concept with low visibility and traction. Fast forward five years, and in 2017 there is a purposeful and distinct difference in our University in terms of its confidence and implementation of entrepreneurship. This has been by design and with purposeful intentions with initiatives such as the annual EE Symposium. Entrepreneurship is now on many of our Schools’ business development agendas, and is embedded into our new Learning and Teaching Policy framework.

Entrepreneurial Organisation 

The annual symposium has fostered new conversations, working relationships and ambitions. It has helped to fashion relationships across the University and with Elevator to enable the building and establishment of a new Centre of Entrepreneurship.

It has supported the vision of our University’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and development of new initiatives such as the University of Dundee’s Entrepreneurship Week and the Principal’s Lecture in Entrepreneurship, which in 2017 was with Josh Littlejohn MBE of Social Bite.

Next steps?

To consolidate and sustainably grow what has been achieved, and become an internationally recognised Entrepreneurial University community.

Contact Name

Dr Louise Valentine

Professor Karl Leydecker, Natalie Lafferty, Ali McGill, Dr. Shona Johnson, Monica Matthews

Contact Email Address