The University of Greenwich partnered with Enterprise Educators UK on Thursday 24th November to deliver a one-day conference in the university’s new entrepreneurial hub, the Powerhouse, exploring how to work effectively both within and outside higher education institutions to build enterprise eco-systems.
We were joined by over 35 enterprise educators from universities across the UK who participated in discussions exploring where enterprise education should be delivered in institutions, which local key players should be involved, and the role universities play in enterprise development for both students and external stakeholders.
Professor Leigh Doster, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of Greenwich Business School opened the day with an introduction to the University of Greenwich, highlighting the university’s recent Small Business Charter accreditation and the upcoming Help to Grow scheme.
Rachel Brown, Head of Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Greenwich discussed how the university has begun to ‘join the dots’ of building effective enterprise ecosystems by created the Powerhouse, the university’s enterprise hub which now houses the Generator and Greenwich Research and Enterprise (GRE)teams, and provides space for entrepreneurial teaching, learning and practice via a co-work space. The Generator collaborates with a range of other teams across the university to increase the reach and effectiveness of their programmes, including academics, the employability centre, and the alumni team. It has also been enhanced by the creation of the Generator Advisory Board in 2020, a group of local organisations and entrepreneurs who advise on strategy and support the growth of initiatives.
Phil Kennedy, Head of Operations at Foundervine explained how Foundervine has built an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem outside of a HE setting by focussing on removing barriers for communities who are under-represented in enterprise.
Joe Blomfield, Enterprise Officer at the University of Greenwich led a panel discussion with three student and graduate entrepreneurs, exploring the question of how student entrepreneurs can contribute to the growth of entrepreneurial ecosystems. Abdirahman Ahmed, Marianna Alshina and Zsuzsanna Toth discussed their individual experiences of the Generator, and all agreed that universities had a key role in developing support networks for entrepreneurs, both for current students and alumni. The Generator also took this opportunity to proudly showcase products made by student and graduate entrepreneurs, ranging from vegan leather wallets and belts to handmade African print children’s clothing.
Anthony Crowther, NX Hub Manager at Goldsmiths, University of London delivered a session about the benefit of universities engaging with their local communities, discussing the importance of Goldsmiths’ Civic University Agreement which provides a framework for key local organisations in Lewisham to work together.
The final session featured University of Greenwich alumni and serial entrepreneur Dr Byron Cole talking about the ‘Power of Networking’ and the influence of this on his own entrepreneurial success.
If you’d like to participate in developing any of these discussions further please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org