As a UIIN ‘next best practice’ award winner and university educator, before I can start to think about the ‘nitty gritty’ of entrepreneurial education I normally get caught up in the huge debate as to what definitions different academics use. In any new paper, they typically write yet another variation of a definition that suits their cause, then they attempt to measure it in some way shape or form to try and prove or disprove causality. These academic writings can usually be found in business journals, and rarely look to other disciplines, simply because that makes them difficult to publish.
First and foremost, let me tell you that I’m a teacher, one who learns more from his past students than from many of the academic writings that I consult as a Professor. These alumni teach me a lot, not least that in their world, flexibility, adaptability and creativity that drive growth.
I also love to listen to those who actually teach these principles, and to understand their challenges. This is why the 2010 IEEC Concordat, based on the views of over 250 conference delegates hit my thinking so hard. The third of their 5 most important goals called for “Improved guidance on issues of quality and assessment, so that a more coherent yet flexible framework will enable educators to embed more enterprising approaches in their curriculum.”
As a direct result, and following consultation with 72 UK Universities, I worked with the UK’s body for safeguarding standards and driving improvements in UK higher education (QAA), and together with a great team of stakeholders, we published their first interdisciplinary guidance. Entrepreneurial education is for all subjects and disciplines, as in many ways this is where the learners’ passion lies. Hence this guidance didn’t start with business curriculum alone, because who knows better about persuasion than those teaching actors, or who knows more about stressful decision making than those teaching medical practitioners. All in all, 38 disciplines were consulted, and their expertise pooled.
Key points that emerged included a strengthened definitional distinction between enterprise and entrepreneurship, a learning continuum, thematic approaches to assessment and outlines as to how learning and assessment would need to change. This 2012 guidance become recognized as a world first, and has been used by educators around the globe, including formal educational quality enhancement approaches in China and Thailand. Even the OECD has utilized it to help to develop entrepreneurial education. Most notably, the European Joint Research Centre used it help to develop their ‘de facto’ EntreComp Framework for European Citizens.
5 years on, the significant impact of the guidance has been reviewed through a series of QAA Network events and their initial proposals discussed at the International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference. This time the advisory panel extended into UK HE / University management sector, as well as retaining business and entrepreneurship experts and educators.
The net result is a comprehensive guide for University Educators that clarifies the definitions (that have received the very vocal support of the education community), offers pathways through the higher education sector – whatever your discipline, outlines what a supportive educational institution might look like, and offers insights and guidance as to how the assess the important individual components that have been identified.
Launched in January 2018 with the public support of the United Nations and European Commission, and with a simultaneous launch in both English and Mandarin, the new guidance has already been described as a document that enables progress, clarifies goals and sets the scene for next best practice.
Why not join us at the next UIIN conference in London to find out more?
 IEEC is the UK’s premier event for those who teach enterprise and entrepreneurship. Led by the 100+ University membership body Enterprise Educators UK and supported by the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education, it brings practice into policy and offers all educators the opportunity to share practice.
On the Photo: Andy Penaluna is flanked at the launch of the 2018 Guidance by (left) by Margherita Bacigalupo of the European Joint Research Centre and (right) Fiorina Mugione, Chief of the Enterprise Section at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
About the Author
Professor Andy Penaluna is the Director of the International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development at UWTSD.
An expert on enterprise education at the United Nations in Geneva, Andy supervised research by their Chief of Entrepreneurship. He was selected as an in depth case study by the EU Joint Research Centre, then joined their EntreComp team and stayed with the project from conception to completion. He also led the development of teacher training modalities for 8 countries in South East Europe (SEECEL) and worked on developing entrepreneurial schools and colleges / HE level creativity at the OECD in Paris.
Andy advises the UK Government and chairs the UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education’s Enterprise and Entrepreneurship group – an independent body entrusted with monitoring, and advising on, standards and quality in all UK higher education. In Wales, Andy advises their Department for Education, which calls on all Welsh schools to develop ambitious, enterprising and creative contributors.
Enterprise Sector Skills body ‘SFEDI’ honoured Andy in the House of Lords as their educator of the year, and he received the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion at Buckingham Palace. In 2016 he was named as one of the UK’s top ‘Maserati 100’ entrepreneurs.