‘Entrepreneurship Centres: Global Perspectives on their Contributions to Higher Education Institutions’ is a new book that has been recently released by Palgrave Macmillan. The publication is co-edited by Professor Gideon Maas and Professor Paul Jones from the International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship at Coventry University, UK. Also a member of the UIIN Scientific Board, Professor Maas in this interview shares insights about his recent publication, which addresses the role entrepreneurship centres within the UK and beyond.
Professor Maas, please, provide our readers with a short overview of your recent publication.
This book explores how entrepreneurship centres can act as the kingpin within universities to stimulate transformational entrepreneurship. It is well known that entrepreneurship centres are the key leaders in universities stimulating enterprise and entrepreneurial activities. However, these important centres experience various challenges that sometimes cloud their focus and activities.
In this book, the focus is on entrepreneurship centres and how they can play a meaningful role in transformational entrepreneurship. Principles of transformational entrepreneurship are combined with seven case studies from the UK, Spain, Canada and Ghana to illustrate the practical application of transformational entrepreneurship principles. It is accepted that entrepreneurship centres operate in diverse communities, and therefore, a generalised approach on how these centres should organise themselves is not suggested. However, based on transformational principles and the seven case studies, this book ends off with various process questions that can guide interested people in creating an effective entrepreneurship centre or improving an existing centre.
This book is not a ‘how-to’ guide for entrepreneurship centres – it is a critical reflection on how entrepreneurship centres can promote transformational entrepreneurship, which should result in sustainable socio-economic development.
When did you decide to write this book, and why?
Over years I have created and worked in various entrepreneurship centres. During this time, I connected with various centres world-wide and realized that these centres are doing sterling work promoting entrepreneurship. Despite successes, entrepreneurship centres seem to have endless challenges that influence their effectiveness. Therefore, during 2015 I decided to provide a renewed focus on entrepreneurship centres and the important work they are doing through this publication.
What are the key messages of your book?
Entrepreneurship centres are not only important for higher education institutions – an internal activity. With all the knowledge and experience, they have gained over time they should be instrumental in informing national reports on how to promote entrepreneurship development in higher education institutions and the regions in which these centres operate.
Furthermore, entrepreneurship centres should focus more on futuristic solution as well. They should analyse regional eco-systems which can guide finding optimal solutions for the current and future challenges facing socio-economic growth.
Finally, it would be an ideal environment where University’s fabric is such that a dedicated entrepreneurship centre is not needed. However, most Universities need a dedicated centre to stimulate enterprise and entrepreneurship activities and they should be adequately resourced to undertake that task.
What do you think are the biggest trends and challenges in terms of entrepreneurship in higher education?
Current challenges within the environment indicate that novel approaches are required to address enterprise and entrepreneurship at University and that a dedicated focus is needed to spearhead transformational entrepreneurship – i.e. an approach that can stimulate sustainable socio-economic development.
Regional differences determine the way entrepreneurship centres should be organised stimulating socio-economic development. Therefore, a general approach to organising entrepreneurship centres cannot be created. Furthermore, one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurship centres is resourcing be that financially and/or keeping good staff in these centres.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your publication? Do you think to publish another piece in the upcoming future?
There seems to be a level of uncertainty between institutional strategies and clear expectations of entrepreneurship centres. More should be done to bridge the gap between these two areas. Currently, we are working on a journal article that will be submitted within the coming months.
About the Authors
Prof Gideon Maas is the Director of the International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship and Professor of Professional Practice at Coventry University, UK. He is also Deputy President of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE).
Prof Paul Jones is the Deputy Director of the International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship and Professor in Entrepreneurship at Coventry University. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Management Education.
Entrepreneurship Centres: Global Perspectives on their Contributions to Higher Education Institutions is available for sale here.