The Enterprise Education and Research Project Fund (EERPF) was launched by the Board of EEUK in 2011 and has run each year since.
Funding is awarded to: (i) support the creation and evaluation of enterprise education materials and resources and (ii) facilitate impactful and / or experimental research which adds to our understanding of enterprise education and addresses the needs of the enterprise education community.
Members of EEUK are invited to bid for funding each year and a key principle is that projects should aim to be of benefit to the wider EEUK community as well as the member organisation that is awarded funding.
The 12th call for bids is now closed. The next application window will be open in Spring 2023.
University of Nottingham
‘Entrepreneurship for Social Change’: Developing and evaluating a framework and portfolio approach for social impact enterprise education
This project develops a framework to support students to understand, plan and evaluate entrepreneurship for social change (ESC). It will; (1) Deliver an innovative framework for a new, undergraduate ESC module. The framework is theoretically and conceptually underpinned and draws students into immediate practice via a groupwork “portfolio” and corresponding critical reflection for assessment, (2) Capture the experiences of enterprise educators and students in using the framework, (3) Report on the framework’s effectiveness for ESC education, reflecting on necessary improvements, (4) Assess the impact of this approach on students’ ESC mindsets and understanding by analysing pre- and post-module surveys and qualitative interview data.
University of Strathclyde
Entrepreneurial Mindset in UK HEI Curricula
Entrepreneurship Education (EE) is moving beyond starting ventures in favour of entrepreneurial skills. Educators in UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) now widely speak of ‘entrepreneurial mindset’ (EM), yet a robust understanding of the EM concept is largely missing, particularly linked to specific EE programming. This 12-month project will explore how EM is conceptualised by UK educators and how it is operationalised within EE institutions and curricula. Through six focus groups across the UK, it will identify current understandings of EM and identify best-practice educational approaches to support the development of EM through EE teaching and learning activity.
University of Huddersfield & University of Liverpool
“Enterprise Education and Planetary Sustainability – What can EE do?”
This project will develop/deliver/evaluate a workshop to enable Enterprise Education (EE) stakeholders to co-design actions regarding how their work can support/relates to planetary sustainability. EE staff from business support/business schools, and stakeholders from regional sustainable development/entrepreneurial eco-system will participate in the workshop then plan how they can replicate it in their setting. A legacy toolkit will include: presentation assets which provide a briefing on planetary sustainability, a participatory co-design method , where stakeholders articulate and prioritise actions and guidance on how to scale the workshop themselves. The method/results will be developed into scholarly outputs and disseminated to the EE community.
Towards Climate Change Action: The Role of Entrepreneurial Design Thinking in Sustainability Education
Research indicates an attitude-behaviour gap amongst young people overwhelmed by climate anxiety and those who have socially distanced themselves from the global challenge we face as they do not know how to fix the problem or change seems prohibitive (Hayhoe, 2021; Corner et al. 2015). Entrepreneurship and design thinking, we argue, may help to bridge this gap so that every young person is able to see how they can make a difference. This project will deliver climate action workshops with circa 300 young people (pre- and post- higher education) utilising an established design thinking approach. Through attitudinal and behavioural surveys and pre- and post- skills audits with participants, we will explore the impact of a design thinking approach in developing their entrepreneurial and sustainable competencies (based on the European Commission’s 2016 EntreComp and 2022 GreenComp frameworks) and in enhancing their levels of self-efficacy towards climate action.
The project connected design methods and the process of new venture planning to encourage more divergent and explorative approaches to developing locally desirable and sustainable enterprising ideas nested in the context of the needs of communities. The aim of the project was to contribute to develop a digital toolkit that enhanced the pedagogy of new venture planning in University level entrepreneurship education.
This project integrated curricular and extra-curricular enterprise/entrepreneurship education for PhD students in a multi-disciplinary and inter-faculty context. The project built an innovative framework to evidence doctoral students’ learning through their venture idea development by incorporating a self-assessment and other evaluative tools.
The Care to Change project operationalised enterprise education using the EntreComp lifelong competencies. This project created a library of tools for enterprise education in criminology. The Tools Library includes practical exercises that are based on key EntreComp competencies and related to innovative and future thinking in criminal justice.
This project provided practical insights into how to better engage arts, humanities and sciences students with enterprise education. It solicited and analysed the views of students and staff across these subject areas at two universities, focussing on self-efficacy and identity and enterprise schema, to understand and address key challenges, and identify and leverage critical motivating and enabling factors, in providing and engaging students with enterprise education opportunities.
E-surveys and reflective diaries from a sample of UK HE students at two universities provided data to examine the process of entrepreneurial identity formation and its relationship to entrepreneurial intentions. Calls for more research on entrepreneurial identity formation have been voiced (Hoang and Gimeno, 2015), not least because identity offers a construct to explain entrepreneurial behaviour as individuals strive for congruence between their entrepreneurial identity and entrepreneurship (Stets and Burke, 2000; Cardon et al., 2009). This study sought how the development of an entrepreneurial identified over time helped explain changes in entrepreneurial intentions.
Students from under-represented groups have traditionally experienced barriers in accessing enterprise opportunities, support and funding (Osho, ). These students can, at times, find it hard to identify with the language of enterprise or the journeys of entrepreneurs: this can lead to a lack of engagement in entrepreneurial education.
This sought to identify and address barriers to engagement from students from underrepresented groups. Through co-creating activities with students from University of the Arts London (UAL) and London South Bank University (LSBU), we developed a toolkit that reframes social enterprise education, with a focus on exploring the links between personal values, motivations, social enterprise and community impact.
This project built on Dr Lucy Hatt’s PhD research using the threshold concept framework to enhance entrepreneurship curricula in higher education.
It prototypes a transactional curriculum inquiry (TCI) approach to identify local threshold concepts with staff from the University of Bristol’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CFIE) as part of a programme review and an evaluation of student understanding.
Combining this process and the CFIE Team’s Design Thinking expertise, a toolkit was developed for EEUK members to develop and evaluate their own enterprise education curricula informed by the threshold concept framework, concept mapping and a TCI approach.
This project provided an opportunity for students to develop their enterprise skills. An on-line resource was created where students could complete short exercises to assess their current skill level and guide them on how they could further develop in the areas where they are lacking. A series of exercises and lesson plans that academics can use in all subject areas to integrate the essential Enterprise Education skills identified were created. These included but are not exclusive to: Innovation, creativity, communication, team-working and leadership and will have an impact on teaching and learning, research, knowledge exchange and engagement.
The aim of the project was to gather data from educators which could be used to underpin the design and development of tools to support the assessment of the impact(s) of enterprising and entrepreneurial curricula.
The project comprised a desk research stage focusing on global best practice of impact measurement tools followed by a study targeting enterprise educators which aimed to develop an understanding of individuals’ definitions, practices, goals and measurements.
The outputs of this work helped educators to understand how key terms such as ‘enterprise education’, ‘entrepreneurship education’ and ‘entrepreneurial education’ are defined and applied in practice and, how these are currently being assessed and measured to explore impacts on students.
While enterprise education is widely understood as something done to the art school, this project is from the art school – rooted in Design methods such as visualisation and iteration but of value to all students wishing to understand how the business model concept can be applied in the creative and cultural industries. The project sees Design students visualising the business models of three recent graduates working as creative freelancers or as founders of SMEs. These visualisations moved through various iterations before final print and online versions were released in print and online.
The Valleys Innovation Project (VIP) connects social and economic challenges in the Welsh Valleys with entrepreneurial solutions from colleges and universities.
This EEUK funded project sought to understand the process of learners, from areas of high unemployment in the Valleys, building enterprise skills and a better future for themselves through challenge-driven innovation. This research explored the differences between social and economic impact through these challenges and the use of technology as an enabler to link business with both higher and further education.
In capturing learner, institution, and industry perspectives, the study provided sector-leading guidance on delivering civic outcomes while improving learner employment prospects.
The last decade saw an expansion of student-social enterprise engagement activities in UK Higher Education. 89% of universities engage with social enterprises but the benefits are not yet fully understood. The range of outcomes and impacts often remains hidden within metrics that fail to capture the rich diversity of activities and the value they add to the student experience. This timely study, delivered jointly by academia and social enterprise, goes beyond the purely financial measures and through production of four detailed case studies aimed to provide evidence and measures of the social value arising from student-social enterprise engagement activities.
The project investigated emerging forms of media entrepreneurship and their application to the development of media enterprise pedagogies. It explored ways in which the changing landscape of media contexts and cultural production gave rise to “unexpected enterprises”, reflecting technical and social innovations, such as those forged in the realm of participatory digital culture. The collaborative project employed design research methodologies, including an open innovation lab process, to enable co-inquiry involving students, educators and industry partners in considering emerging entrepreneurial forms and their implications for media enterprise initiatives. The project contributed to evolving creative and cultural forms of applied enterprise education.
The growing interest in social enterprise has arguably changed the enterprise education landscape with HEIs increasingly embedding social enterprise into accredited programmes and developing extracurricular activities aimed at engendering social entrepreneurship. In parallel, students appear to be increasingly motivated to engage in socially-driven projects, i.e. those that aim to produce benefits to the local community or wider society.
This research explored students’ motivations both for the creation of social enterprises and engagement with socially-driven projects. The research also sought to identify whether there were significant differences in the development of enterprise skills for students engaging in socially-driven projects compared to those participating in entrepreneurship education.
We have successfully embedded Enterprise Education within several subjects at the University of Dundee but have made little progress with other disciplines. This project examined attitudes towards Enterprise Education from academics at different levels within each of the Schools of the University. Through this we identifed key themes and attitudes that were currently barriers to embedding Enterprise Education within these disciplines, which we believed resonated with other universities and can be extrapolated across the UK. We then produced an engagement template and tailored materials that can be used to engage colleagues on their terms.
The aim of the project was to develop our understanding of student disengagement in enterprise education (EE) through the use of student researchers. After identifying groups of students who are unlikely to engage in EE at Aston University and the University of Gloucestershire, we used student researchers to explore the reasons for disengagement amongst two different student populations. This project not only informed enterprise educators how to encourage a greater take up of EE and reach more diverse audiences but will also highlighted ways in which we can empower student voices through the involvement of student researchers.
|Aston Report A|
|Aston Report B|
|Aston Enterprise Events Programmes|
In September 2016, world leaders agreed the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) heralded as one of the chief global tools for ending poverty, fighting injustice and tackling climate change. Thus, it was essential to explore how the UN SDGs is embodied in the core of entrepreneurship education; as the policies developing across the world in order for the UN SDGs to be met will shape entrepreneurial activities to 2030 and beyond. This project advancesd entrepreneurship education by surveying 80 entrepreneurship students, 8 academics in entrepreneurship, and 300 organisations that have signed the UN Higher Education Sustainability Initiative.
EEUK has highlighted the synergies between the educators’ role in developing creativity and innovation amongst learners – to add value to business and the community. The next clear step is therefore the protecting and valuing of ideas (of self and others), as recommended by EntreComp 2016 and QAA 2012. As EEUK increase the scale, scope and effectiveness of enterprise education, we need to understand the IP education landscape before we can effectively develop new initiatives and respond to needs. This project informed UKIPO, surveys the membership and provides a working tool to assist educators to cover proposed IP education deliverables.
|UWTSD Institutional Framework|
Research and discussion abound on how Enterprise Education is delivered, and its impact post-graduation. However, less than 1% of graduates go on to start a business. Does this reflect the potential for graduate start-ups or are we, as enterprise educators, paying insufficient attention to the “raw material”; the mindset of the potential graduate entrepreneur? Engaging with academics and practitioners from psychology and entrepreneurship, this cross-disciplinary project compares the experiences of graduate entrepreneurs with those who have actively engaged with entrepreneurship at University, but have no intention of proceeding with it post-graduation, to explore the development of the entrepreneurial mindset.
|UWE Enterprise Mindset Questionnaire|
The overall aim of the project is to provide longitudinal evidence regarding the career outcomes achieved from undertaking a programme of entrepreneurship education. There has been a significant expansion of entrepreneurship education curriculum within the UK in the last decade. However, there remains ongoing debate regarding its value and impact in terms of achieving viable business start-up that contribute significantly in terms of employability and economic contribution (Martin et al., 2013; Rideout and Gray, 2013; Bae et al., 2014). In the UK, the existing evidence base is typically short term in focus considering immediate attitudinal impact upon students of an entrepreneurship education intervention (Rae et al., 2014).
University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE) identified a need to develop a greater understanding of the level of impact Enterprise Education is having upon student career journeys, in order to inform strategic and operational delivery of curricular and extra-curricular support. Therefore, the overall aim of this project was to inquire into and evidence any links between student participation in enterprise education, and the subsequent nature of alumni career paths. Key deliverables from the project: a methodology and approach to measuring the impact of Enterprise Education at The University of Sheffield; reflection upon project findings and a subsequent proposed model of capture which may be useful for the practice of other Enterprise Educators.
The report produced as an outcome of this project can be downloaded via the link below.
|University of Sheffield Evaluating Impact EERPF Project Report|
A national model for careers and enterprise in schools in England, informed by the Gatsby Foundation Benchmarks, frames enterprise as ‘short term business challenges’ and ‘longer term enterprise competitions.’ The project team – a collaboration involving the university’s Business School, School of Education and teacher development organisation Ready Unlimited – explored the theoretical flaws of assuming guaranteed positive benefits of competitive enterprise for all. Then they employed the best elements of bootlegging (creative licence offering to a broader audience an alternative to the sanctioned version), to develop and test a set of ‘Careers and Enterprise through the Curriculum Benchmarks’. These benchmarks complement the national direction of travel of careers and enterprise in schools, but underscore the potential of teacher development and curriculum design to extend and deepen enterprise learning in education. Project reviewer, Professor David Rae said: ‘The research makes an important critical contribution. Incisive critique…and overall a very productive and innovative project.”
The draft assets from the project are being circulated widely with stakeholders between September 2017 and March 2018 and will be updated following feedback.
|Bootleg Benchmarks, Guide and research on competitions|
Lancaster University’s diverse ecosystem of enterprise support provided the ideal laboratory for the High Impact research project which aimed to understand the transformational impact of embedding an institutional enterprise culture. The ecosystem we had identified included curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for every student right across campus, from taught interventions, flipped classrooms and mentorship, through competitions and placements, to workspaces and funding. By looking at the positive outcomes of these interventions, the research consultants from Innovas were able to suggest a framework for ensuring their value could be mapped against the University’s strategic KPIs. Crucially, they have shown that this impact goes beyond the individual and cuts right across every facet of our strategic priorities in Research, Teaching and Engagement. The suggested measurement framework has great transferability in other contexts and institutions and following the presentation of findings at IEEC 2016, there is a clear appetite from other institutions to collaborate around an implementation project for the sector.
|ICL - Lancaster University Enterprise Framework - Final Report|
This research project developed a specific workshop intervention using sand tray sculpture, borrowed from sand play therapy, for use with student entrepreneurs in developing their business idea. This intervention brings abstract ideas and issues to the forefront through the creative process. The subsequent ‘narrative reading’ of the sculpture allows entrepreneurs to make sense of their ideas, find new solutions and ways forward and communicate their project effectively.
|Leeds Trinity Sand Tray Intervention Protocol|
In delivering the Nurturing Women: Igniting passion for entrepreneurship project, LSBU engaged academics, students and alumni from across LSBU’s 7 Schools to create bespoke enterprise education interventions that better support under-represented groups at LSBU. We engaged students in the research activities, through an online survey and focus group which helped us to produce a blueprint for engaging female students in entrepreneurship activities and have piloted the first sector-specific peer support group at LSBU. We propose to roll out this approach to sustain activity post project.
Our project had a particular focus on identifying “areas where we can increase enterprise and entrepreneurial engagement and in particular to encourage female entrepreneurs at LSBU to take their business ideas further.” During the project, student engagement in enterprise activities at LSBU increased: we engaged with over 5,000 students (approx. ⅓ of the student population). We had a particular focus on increasing the proportion of female students taking part in our start-up an accelerator programmes and we will continue to build on this work post-project. The summary of workshop findings and a 10 point blueprint for engaging female students in enterprise can be downloaded below.
|LSBU Women in Enterprise Summary of Workshop Findings March 2016|
|LSBU 10 point blueprint|
This study addressed a void in our understanding of the effectiveness and impact of enterprise education by acknowledging the current students perspective of extra-curricular enterprise education. The aim of this study was to underpin the extra-curricular curriculum with research by exploring what entrepreneurial behaviours, competencies and capability students perceived they have gained and developed from extracurricular enterprise activities, adding context to data from UK HEI’s that suggests that participation in extra-curricular activities are one way students can contribute to their own personal development and are an essential means of raising student awareness of enterprise and providing opportunities to develop skills and confidence in practical ways.
This project was set up due to low participation in enterprise training events and competitions by research staff and students. A TUoS student noticed at research poster exhibitions the potential of using ideas that were being generated to help community groups. TUoS staff were already aware from a previous project that researchers are not always interested in setting up businesses or commercialising their research but it was thought they might be interested in trying out their research ideas with a community partner.
The idea was piloted by making funds available to support a few projects of this kind. Out of 13 applications we funded 3 that met our criteria. Alongside this ethically approved research was carried out to find out about researchers’ attitudes to enterprise skills training and how much interest there might be in such projects.
The projects are currently underway and one example is a project that has developed a low cost tracking device for bees to help with their conservation in association with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT)
The projects have helped researchers develop a range of enterprise skills and the research has shown there is the potential to run this programme in future as around half of researcher said they thought their research had commercial possibilities and half said they would be interested in taking part in this type of project.
As a result we will be funding this programme again next year and producing a journal article to share details of the programme and the research carried out to help inform future enterprise training for researchers.