Mainstreaming #Ented across the university

Written by Inge Hill


Many policy reports commissioned by recent governments, for example Enterprise for All, highlight the need for more enterprise education. One particular insight is the need to consider the needs of SMEs more for which I have been campaigning during the last decade.

As #EEUK we fully support collaboration with and for SMEs and are delighted that the Small Business Charter (SBC) Award accredits Business Schools that promote SMEs as potential work places.

 My passion as educator, former business owner and business adviser came together in one when working at Birmingham City University and influencing employability university-wide. The ability to start a business or self-employability, is a key skill every graduate should have in my view. Luckily, at Birmingham City University, senior management in central university functions and faculty colleagues had an open ear for my suggestions to mainstream enterprise education into employability initiatives and non-business degree courses. I silently influenced many new degrees, programmes and the central university Learning and Teaching Strategy.

Most influencers (our EEUK pathway towards Enterprise Educators UK Fellowship for those leading Enterprise Centres or similar do this “enterprise work” rather quietly like me, and the final document or even the consultation does not show that we advised / rewrote sections on those policies or documents. I was proudly writing about these quiet impactful changes in my #EEUK Fellowship application – proud to be one of the first six Fellows we have. And I talked passionately about the work of the quiet influencers at a recent event run by the Small Business Charter team – part of the Chartered Association of Business Schools. 

“Quiet” leadership is one of my ways of ensuring that the changes happen I am passionate about, illustrating my choice of situational leadership to be effective. Some lessons I learned on the way of having this impact and leading without being in a formal management function might help EEUK Associates and those new to the Enterprise Education arena:

Never give up!

There are days and often weekends when I sit at the computer and get the question from my family – why are you doing it now? It is Sunday?! And yes, I am sitting at my computer. I keep pushing and writing and ask myself now and again – why am I doing it? He or she (a manager) is not really listening … and I try again in a few weeks’ time…

Work with colleagues in other faculties!

Found a Community of Practice (CoP) – an informal group of colleagues that share your passion across the university to exchange ideas, bottom-up and informal.

Share your passion wider!

Talk at university events, run workshops at our IEEC and ISBE conferences.

Get your practical work noticed through writing it up!

Create longer articles for LInkedIn OR

Publish a teaching resource or an exercise on the ETCtoolkit. We would love to see it there! OR

Look out for calls for contributions to books, a book chapter on a teaching resource is acceptable Mine has just come out – (chapter 26) 

Why? It improves the weight of your argument if it is there for all to see. Link it to existing guidance on enterprise education, in particular the EntreComp Framework and the QAA guidance on enterprise education within the context of employability (QAA, 2018) to show how you implement Higher Education guidance documents.

AND – ENJOY the journey.

I truly do and am most grateful for all of you who elected me to the board in 2017! Campaigning for more enterprise education for everyone, for and with you!

Interested in a working group on mainstreaming enterprise education? Join me and others through LinkedIn and my JISC discussion group to share pains and successes.

In the meantime, keep up the great work!

Dr Inge Hill

Senior Lecturer Business Strategy, Coventry University

Director, Enterprise Educators UK