Stand in the Spotlight

Written by Alison Price


Whilst the planned Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW2019) launch of the Prince’s Trust review on Barriers to Young People Starting Up has been held back by the election, last month saw the launch of two new reports. The first is from “Octopus Ventures” who have created an entrepreneurial impact ranking of UK universities based on spin-outs and the second is a “call for action” from former Universities Minister, Lord Willetts. His commentary outlines 12 specific recommendations for innovation and starts by announcing that counting start-ups is not a measure of a university’s performance in promoting innovation.  This together with the current review of the Higher Education-Business and Community Interactions (HE-BCI) dataset is creating interest in the outputs and outcomes of our work, suggesting that our collective “new year resolution” for 2020 might be to try to “stand in the spotlight” when the opportunity arises!

However, EEUK also recognises that spotlights can mean that vitality of the wider eco-system is lost, and innovation can be limited. Our work is to amplify your voice, so having contributed to the Prince’s Trust review that will now be out next year, our Chair Gareth Trainer is at the table on the HESA review and we will be asking for your views as the consultation continues.  We are asking “how can we use HE-BCI to build our ambitions rather than just count existing practice?” and are keen to create an argument for co-dependent measures or an interdependence across metrics to ensure that the spotlight doesn’t just fall on the “end” of a pipeline of activity.

The EEUK ambition is to support the development of metrics that can address systemic fragility that many Associates experience. We want to ensure that institutions commit to the creation of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that is structured and resourced for long term success. The opportunity to think differently is now. We aim to reflect the breadth of your work and ensure that any reductive “spotlights” recognise the stars but also acknowledges the wider infrastructure that has created them and supports the development of our staff and students.

Share your spotlight and your voice with us in 2020!

Alison Price

Head of Policy, Enterprise Educators UK