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.

Meeting student’s needs?

Written by Alison Price

With the release of Advance HE’s new Student Needs Framework Enterprise Educators now have a new checklist to use when developing or evaluating their programmes or workshops, which is asking:

  • What do students need to optimise their individual competence, confidence, and resilience?
  • What do students need to feel a sense of belonging and community?

This framework invites you to consider how you are providing:

  • Advice and challenge on personal development
  • The methods in which you deliver specialist input
  • Access information about their course and wider university (providing context)
  • Supporting independence and gaining agency
  • Clear expectations

to build student competence, confidence, and resilience? And to consider how you are creating:

  • The chance to build community (through communal settings)
  • Meaningful peer relationships
  • Meaningful staff relationships
  • identification and affiliation with interests and institutions
  • Place and space for personal development

to support students to feel a sense of belonging and community.

But this isn’t the only way we are meeting needs. Commentary on Sept’s TEF results, which was highlighted in a special EEUK blog shows how the #EntEd agenda can support institutional results – and with the release of the latest KEF results , many tell of an improving story for KEF which can only be good news for our work. This, together with further evidence of impact, held in the IP-related and commercialisation activities in England 2021-22 report which has now been published online shows the importance of the consultation of HE-BCI, so get engaged!

And finally at IEEC2023 we explored raised the question whether we were serving our students well, given that recent reports show that students “go home to start up” and access more support online than in person. This challenge is now further illuminated with the release of data by @WONKHE that shows how students move across England.  All this adds to our understanding of our students, so we can continue to meet their needs! Keep going!

Beyond 3E, #EntEd, start-up or spin-out!

Written by Alison Price

Photo by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash

All enterprise educators know that their work can extremely tightly focused, when working with particular disciplines or sector-starts, and yet we are informed by the broader issues, which shape our learners, their future working lives, the communities in which they work, and/or sectors in which they seek to start up in.

EEUK’s policy work seeks to appreciate how these agendas impact upon our work and, in this blog, seeks to update on:

Global Skills Agenda: With the apparent ‘demise’ of the term ‘soft skills’ (as we collectively acknowledge that nothing about them is soft, squishy, mellow, or muted!) working online as heightened our understanding that interpersonal, communication and other key skills that need active support and development throughout a career. Recent changes such as hybrid working (Coursera 2023) has shown that whist, access to the internet is inevitably tied to individual economic opportunity, the learning gender gap can be closed by online learning (as seen with significant shifts in areas such as Kazakhstan, USA, Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and Spain).

International Students: With many members frustrated by the Home Office visa changes (see here for your questions, answered) it is clear, from the work of our colleagues at Tenentrepreneurs that foreign born founders build the UK’s fastest growing businesses. Their call for a Passport to Progress looks at other countries, such as Canada, China to create a blueprint for the future. EEUK welcomed this call, frustrated by the limits on test trading that are inhibiting our own graduates from starting up in the UK, looking to MPs to remove the barriers to staff and students innovating and creating UK businesses.

Knowledge Exchange: Amanda Selveratnam, University of York, shared the importance of Knowledge Exchange with delegates at IEEC2023, explaining that, whether you are in a funded role or not (Nation State Innovation funding, such as HEIF in England or the Scottish Funding Council’s University Innovation Fund (UIF)) metrics, knowledge exchange and “being part of what you want to see” is key.

Whilst the nation states may take different approaches, the underpinning need to “shout about” what you do, sharing your stories, metrics, and successes with your senior team is key.  By understanding what your institution reports on (whether under teaching, research, or knowledge exchange) you can find your place in each agenda and anchor your activity as core.  Through an appreciation of institutional drivers, you have the opportunity to explain how your #EntEd #3E work provides contributions in these key areas, and how you support the student experience, knowledge exchange and role in the wider community.

IEEC blog: The Road Continues

Written by Alison Price

Students are at the heart of what we do and why we do it, so when Dame Sally Davies declared in that the legacy of covid lockdowns “we have damaged a generation” (2023) and that “education has a terrific amount of work to do” we continue to seek to understand their experience, in order to improve our offer.

2022 saw the release of a key report that helps us understand our graduate entrepreneurs. NCUB’s insight report shows the role that universities have in start-ups, as well as providing evidence for the pull of the familiar (or potentially the lower cost accommodation options as students “go home to start up”).  This potentially challenges our understanding of student needs and invites EEUK members to question the approach/resources needed to support these returning entrepreneurs.

As has the evidence from Prospects/Luminate survey (June 2023) that rather than seeking in person careers advice,student’s “go-to” for advice is website and family/friends.  What then is the experience as enterprise educators/start up advisors? And what does this mean for our offer?

Personalised service/support can make the difference, as does shining a light on the under-represented (The Rose Progress review 2023 report) supported by monitoring to understand take up and impact – and to support this, thee is more sector-sharing on through Knowledge Exchange Concordat – check out the new resources/cases!

As the cost of living crisis as well as the impact of covid (Cosmo Study 2023) as continues to impact our students, their experience (HEPI 2023) and our way of working,  we are also looking to AI to see if the lives of our future students and graduates will be easier – or just different.

But things are clearly different for our international graduates seeking to start-up in a post Brexit UK, so when the Home Office asked if we had any questions at our online event in April, the answer was yes! (and their answers, to your questions, are here). And this month sees colleagues at the APPG Entrepreneurship suggesting an entirely new “Blueprint for the World’s Most Pro-Innovation Visa System” (Sept 2023).

But we see that Scotland is leading the agenda with a clear vision for “Innovation in Scotland” (in its Innovation Strategy) which sees the development of the “entrepreneurial campus” through a 10 step plan of recommendations, providing an institutional check list for us to challenge our progress against and making Scotland’s institutions “the ones to watch”.

Blueprint to Innovation & Start-Up

Written by Alison Price

Enterprise Educators UK (EEUK) welcomes the spotlight that APPG for Entrepreneurship are currently placing on the UK visa system with the launch of the report “A blueprint for the World’s Most Pro-Innovation Visa System” (Sept 2023). EEUK members who work to support start-ups, spinouts, and innovation from across UK educational institutions, have been calling for changes to effectively support our international entrepreneurial students and graduates as they seek to start their businesses in the UK.

Following recent changes in the UK visas and immigration system (April 2023) EEUK held an online event which showed the concern that our members have for their international students seeking to bring new ideas and innovation to UK markets. EEUK recognises the value in a “dual intent” student visa and calls for changes to the student visa to permit students to research, test-trade and validate business ideas during their studies. EEUK also recognises that while the current Graduate Route visa permits self-employment and start-up activity, there is currently no simple route to establishing a long-term business in the UK.

With recent research from Tenentrepreneurs (August 2023) indicating that international founders build the fastest growing businesses, our members want to support and advance this for the benefit of the UK economy. The international comparisons within the Blueprint report shows how the current UK system frustrates the potential and holds back UK growth and potential.

With EEUK’s aim being to enable excellence within enterprise/entrepreneurship education, we welcome all proposals that remove barriers to staff and students innovating and creating UK businesses.

Pillars for Success

Written by Alison Price

With the Government being criticised in 2022 for not stating a vision for universities or outlining a clear path to post-Covid/Brexit recovery, the Chancellor made a speech (Jan 23) which outlined his 4 pillars of economic growth. Each of these falls within EEUK’s remit as we work to support the development of entrepreneurial outcomes in others, whether for work, start-up, regional, national, or international.

With a vision looking to Silicon Valley for Enterprise, and Finland or Singapore for education and skills, the Chancellor seeks to tap into individual potential to unlock the UK, creating an enterprise culture built on low taxes, reward for risk, access to capital and smarter regulation. This may be the coming of age of the UK’s person-based, experiential and transformative models of EntEd where HE & FE helps deliver on the UK-wide vision of “everywhere”.

To support this ambition of “everywhere” members to ensure that “Enterprise is for All”, we are currently seeking your insights and advice for ensuring your approach is fully inclusive to all learners, including the neurodiverse. In drafting a new EEUK Way Guide, we are seeking your insight and practices, so please share directly or if you want to find out more to develop your own work, there is a new OECD report Equity and Inclusion in Education: Finding Strength through Diversity out now!

In sector news, Advance HE has reviewed its professional standards framework, seeking views from the sector to launch a data-led, evidence-based revision of its work.  Working within a familiar structure, the new standards focus more on collaborative practice, include digital technologies, and look at the opportunity to understand and do more of the right things, through effectiveness and impact.

In start-up news: last month, we mentioned new partners supporting startup, such as Ebay side hustle workshops, which also sees new funding opportunities such as that from TV Dragon Steven Bartlett and, as ever, lack of visa clarity confuses our ability to provide great HE support to our international would-be starts.

So whether the Chancellor’s vision aligns with the potential visa changes that @WonkHE are describing is unclear, but EEUK is keeping up its ‘visa watch’ and joins the sector in seeking long term clarity for our students.  We will also be following the new arrangements for the Office for Students (OFS) to take up QAA’s former responsibilities to understand what that means for us, if anything, as we work to promote the EEUK policy guide (QAA 2018) across our institutions.

Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash

The only way is up

Written by Alison Price

A new year provides opportunities for both reflection and preparation, and whilst there has been turbulent and unpredictable times in recent years, the forecast for 2023 is looking positive with challenges ahead to which we can mobilise our staff and students to respond.

Although the funding pots (post UK access to European funding streams) are creating concerns for many enterprise teams in terms of staff capacity, as well as limiting the ability to innovate and experiment, there is much to engage our staff and students with in 2023, such as:

and there are many resources to draw upon:

  • Check out key tools that support goals/planning for netzero
  • Connect with your IT services to understand how IT tools can support SMEs
  • Provide students with their own KE resources on becoming an effective team
  • Check your institutional support for student wellbeing and mental health, and draw in any additional info you need (as students address cost of living/post-pandemic skills and anxiety)

and please ask your SMEs to add their voices to the Small Business Britain and Lloyds Banking Group Disability and Entrepreneurship Survey

2023 also sees predictions of AI as a new force in graduate recruitment (as well as for creatives/ the art world) but in terms of the market for graduate jobs, it is expected that traditional routes may plateau, so a side hustle might help mark your students out from the crowd (even if self-employment is not their initial dream).  Fuelled by a cost of living crisis, the idea of having  a side hustle continues to grow momentum across all age groups and this has seen targeted support coming from new partners, such as Ebay with their roadshows in partnership with Small Business Britain coming to Bristol, Belfast and Cardiff this winter. So, check out the regional and national support as we launch into 2023, and contact EEUK if we can mobilise the network to explore these together.

Photo by Robert Reyes on Unsplash

EEUK marks the passing of Lord Young

Written by Alison Price

Lord Young will be remembered by EEUK as the trailblazer who subtitled his 2014 seminal Government report “Enterprise for All” with the key strapline “The Relevance of Enterprise Education”.

It can appear that policy documents, reports and government proclamations make little difference to our work , but with the launch of Lord Young’s report “Enterprise for All: the Relevance of Enterprise in Education” (June 2014) there was for the first time in England a review of the educational ‘enterprise offer’ as experienced by all learners across the education sector.

Prior to his review, there was only limited appreciation of the entrepreneurial education journey as experienced by students, other than work for the APPG for Micro business by key EEUK members early that year.  Through the creation of an educational lens for his government review, Lord Young’s work placed the student and their entrepreneurial learning experience in the context of our national education system and publicly called for “lifelong experience of enterprise in education” which was:

  1. Captive and meaningful to young people through real-life contact with business and work, particularly for those put off by more theoretical or academic learning; and made relevant in the way the curriculum and exams are designed and delivered.
  2. Continuous beginning with inspiration and a first taste of enterprise in primary and secondary education, and then the application of that learning through further and higher education, and later in life.
  3. Coherent first, as strong and consistent government message to empower educators to embed enterprise in their teaching; second, to in the way we measure and distinguish the impact of an institution’s enterprise activity and third, through better coordination and consistency in what already exists, to ensure that all young people are able to access enterprise-related programmes. (Lord Young 2014 Enterprise for All p4)

This report and on-going work may have been, for some of us, far too focused on the work within business schools, but it resulted in the creation of the award for the UK’s world-class business schools, The Small Business Charter (SBC). This award celebrates business schools that play an effective role in supporting small businesses, local economies and student entrepreneurship and by providing business schools with a nationally recognisable accreditation, Lord Young drove the sector wide engagement which furthered the SEC challenge work which had ultimately created EEUK.

Since 2014, there has disappointingly been no further government leadership in England. This ensures Lord Young’s report stands as the latest English position and retains the prominence of  key challenges he set us as enterprise educators. He stated that our current curriculum “may not be sufficient unless accompanied by an enterprising attitude” (p1) and called for “not a change to the curriculum, but a change to how it is taught” (p24).

Although this challenge laid down in 2014 and remains our challenge today. Lord Young’s legacy has  been the declaration of a national ambition to create an enterprise education experience that is “captive; continuous and coherent” throughout our entire educational system. He has driven us to

EEUK continues to respond to his challenge and invites you to join us, whether you are new to enterprise or have worked in the sector long enough to recognise the legacy his work has given us all, in all that we do as we recognise “the relevance of enterprise education” and seek to deliver “enterprise for all”.

Christmas Reading

Written by Alison Price

With the politics dominating over recent months, policy development appears to have taken a back seat on the national stage. Work continues within institutions, and across our membership especially those within knowledge exchange to measure what matters.  Data/metrics can help draw links between insight, practice and student success, says this recent WONKHE report which provides opportunity to rethink how to support student engagement and outcomes, whilst acknowledging that the student experience has been altered by the pandemic.

Digital platforms and access to materials still remain critical for students and it is increasingly clear that there is a role for EEUK members to support diversity and inclusion through enterprise.

This statement comes from a HEPI blog, from a series on entrepreneurial universities which also included learning from failure by Adam Shore, LJMU.  It’s also worth reading the HEPI annual review 21/22 to ensure you have an overview of key discussions in the sector (such as engagement and the student voice) as well as reading the NCUB “State of the Relationship” report (summary facts here).

Graduate employment remains strong post-pandemic, despite recruitment being at 30% of its normal levels (the lowest on record) says Prospects Luminate in their recent webinar – also recognising that self-employment was “hit hard” with 8% either self-employed or actively working towards self-employment.

If you are looking for some ‘Christmas reading’, then you might want to revisit the EEUK “how to guides” which explored Entrecomp, as well as approaches to enterprise education for practitioners and educators. If you get time, there might also be a chance to dig into some key related topics, such as those on this sustainability and wellbeing list, or consult the EEUK guide as to how EntreComp can work with GreenComp.  However if your thoughts are already turning to next year’s delivery, then don’t forget the library of support that is www.etcttoolkit.org.uk or the templates and advice on creative enterprises from Nesta.  So if those New Year resolutions are heading into view, next year brings opportunities to engage with EntreComp through the community café and the new  Awards and of course, the EEUK membership!

See you in 2023!

(Photo by Nong V on Unsplash)

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.