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

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!

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

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

Eat your Greens

Written by Alison Price

With a crop of “go-to” #EntEd reports coming out, there is focus upon the current and future needs of students/graduates, the impact of the pandemic on entrepreneurship, and how we, as educators, can support others to innovate sustainably.

Firstly the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM 21/22) is reporting significantly increased levels of entrepreneurship in the UK, and across the world, as entrepreneurs harness the pandemic to present new opportunities for growth.   The GEM report recommendations focus, as many reports do, on the need for access to finance and investment as a priority but also highlight for the UK the need to ease the burdens relating to Brexit to enable new entrepreneurs to thrive.

GEM also recognises that entrepreneurs are increasingly delivering solutions to environmental and societal challenges, linking to the QAA subject companion guide on education for sustainable development (launched last year) as well as the newly released (Jan ‘22) GreenComp.

EEUK Associates will know EntreComp which has become an increasingly key part of the QAA guidance (2018) for those seeking to explicitly identify the competences that they are building with students, or wishing to articulate clear learning outcomes and develop assessment rubrics; they may be less aware of the wider work that now supports EntreComp or that both ‘comp’ frameworks form part of a “library” of wider work competences, including LifeComp and DigComp. With LifeComp forming an overarching vision, each subset (DigComp, GreenComp.  EntreComp) allowing you to draw on specific or more detailed competences as necessary.

In addition, there are new “fostering” guides out, which outline five key actions towards a digital, green and resilient Europe through a guide for fostering women’s entrepreneurship and a guide for fostering entrepreneurship education.

In addition, graduate employability has been picked up within the What do graduates do? 21/21  (JISC/AGCAS) while our partner organisation AGCAS has also joined ISE, handshake and sector-leading WONKHE to look at the shape of Careers Services within the new Careers2032 report highlighting the need for personalised and hybrid support.

And finally, EEUK needs your help as there is an opportunity to comment on specific proposals for changes within the KEF, commenting on the future direction of travel for the KEF dashboard design and narrative through the KEF2.  Join us to shape a response to the  KEF options survey (open until 28 April 2022) –  share your views to amplify our voice!

Alison Price
Head of Policy and Professional Development

The Future is calling

Written by Alison Price

EEUK members seek to upskill their practice to ensure that it futureproofs their own work, as well as those of their students and graduates.  This month brings some clarity on emerging priorities that will interest EEUK Associates, whether practitioners, academics, and influencers, as they consider the operational, the structural and how best to build those competences.

EEUK practitioners (business coaches and advisors) may have been ‘part of the problem’ (*as many will have rightly advised delays to proposed business starts) as the recent State of Small Business Britain report (2021) recorded a sharp fall in levels of early-stage entrepreneurs starting a new business (compared 2019).  *However, many will also be interested to note that within this pandemic-affected figure, ethnic-minority communities have maintained 2019 levels of early-stage entrepreneurial activity.
This report identifies what it calls the ‘Triple Transition’ as the three challenges for SMEs throughout COVID-19, by exploring the difficulties increasing business digitisation, moving towards net zero practices, and productivity upgrading. These are challenges being faced by EEUK Influencers who may be looking to UK’s first Cyber Strategy (seeking to build a “cyber resilient public sector”) or to futureproof the running of their Enterprise Centre by learning from the practice/challenges of entrepreneurs (like 98% of SMEs that have been identified as using in appropriate software (spreadsheets) for ‘mission critical’ operations).

As levels of self-employment started to increase in 2021, it is clear that future proofing a business needs to consider these three challenges and with the addition of GreenComp making a timely contribution to our work (together with wider initiatives, such as EUSTEPs (an Erasmus +project that has a goal to support the assessment and reduction of the environmental impact of EU Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) through an experiential approach; as the EUSTEPs learning-by-doing philosophy will resonate with EEUK Associates).

In seeking to create major change through our work (such as addressing the staggering fact that 92% of all VCs are white male (Sharon Vosmek 2021) EEUK Associates can also access gender insights on ENTRECOMP, by drawing upon EntreComp 360 Erasmus+ project (2019-2022) which has created the new “Women’s Entrepreneurship and EntreComp” Guide, full of links to projects that can inspire practice.

These are the ‘future-proofing challenges’ that EEUK members are exploring and our events will continue to bring this practice to life for you as we share our approaches across the network! Get in touch!

Alison Price, Head of Policy and Professional Development, EEUK 

Levelling up

Written by Alison Price


The Government’s delay releasing the ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper means that 2022 will start with a fresh look at English regions, their autonomy and decision making.  With this focus, it is clear that policy work, such as HESA’s Regional variation in the design and nature of graduate work as well as that exploring the impact of the pandemic will all add to our understanding of what levelling up means for universities (HEPI). However, this does not mean that things are quiet across our nation states.  The future of Welsh Higher Education is shifting as the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill details the legislative powers of the new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research (*CTER, pronounced “sea-tear”) and may impact our thinking at IEEC2022, Swansea.

The rest of the year is likely to see discussions on metrics, tracking, impact, and skills dominating our landscape. The UK push for Skills will impact both FE and HE provision and may fuel the lure of micro-credentials in a complex and insecure labour market.

In addition, it has been suggested that the UK will see pandemic ‘aftershocks’ lasting for over a decade across education, within regional inequalities and across key services, and there will be a focus on FE and HE to support this loss of access to education and skills development and this could see an increased focus on our role in regional economic development through business starts /spin outs and jobs created.  Colleagues at Luminate share their predictions for the graduate labour market suggesting that things may level off in 2022 after an initial spike in recruitment but it is clear that education and skills are seen as key in supporting a post-Brexit high skilled economy.

Whilst it is clear within the policy world, just like education, there is still very little that we could call business as normal, it is evidence enterprise and entrepreneurship education, and EEUK Associates, have much to offer our students as we enter 2022, and if EEUK can help you, get in touch.

Alison Price, Head of Policy and Professional Development

Enterprise Educators UK

What gets results?

Written by Alison Price


As EEUK looks back over 2021, our pre-pandemic aspirations haven’t changed, whilst many significant issues have merely come into sharper focus* and will need our resolve and ongoing commitment to address these further in 2022.

(*See for example, the calls to address disadvantage and underrepresentation in access to business start-up support as well as wider education (as highlighted within Unlocking the potential of ethnic minority businesses: Tackling the barriers to success (SMF 2021) or the continuing challenge of supporting student mental health, which is the focus of the Scottish HEIs commitments in the latest wellbeing report (Dec 2021)).

As a sector, we continue our discussions as to ‘what works’ and how we know that it does, as we continue to share ideas of metrics and measurements. This has been a key theme within our EEUK research funding EERPF which has seen many explorations into success, impact and deepening our understanding as it is clear that we need data to understand if we are serving our students well and ensuring that our approach is inclusive and accessible.  EEUK share these findings with you across the membership, through EEUK events /webinars and within our website and across the ETCToolkit. However, understanding the impact, you have in your role is never straight forward – despite the heartfelt acceptance by every Enterprise Educator that enterprise education can be transformational, how do we prove that to others?

Increasingly EEUK Associates are showing the benefits of clear policy and practice, including at national level (see this latest research that shows how Welsh policy has created impact – thanks to EEUK Associates:  D Bozward, M Rogers-Draycott, K Smith, M Mave, V Curtis, C Aluthgama-Baduge, R Moon, and N Adams).  Associates are also recognising that approaches that seek to replicate business practice can further replicate inequalities that are inherent there and are working to truly to make “enterprise for all”.

But whether you are lighting the spark, supporting the business to start, energising staff or students, we wish you a screen-free proper break – as there is work to do in 2022 and we need your support – so have a great break and see you in the new year where we will be exploring how GREENCOMP enhances EntreComp!

Alison Price

Head of Policy and Professional Development, Enterprise Educators UK