TEACHING AND LEARNING COMMITTEE Agenda Item 7 1 April 2009 THE NORTHERN IRELAND CENTRE FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP (NICENT)

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1 UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER Paper No TLC/09/14 TEACHING AND LEARNING COMMITTEE Agenda Item 7 1 April 2009 THE NORTHERN IRELAND CENTRE FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP (NICENT) NICENT is a partnership between the University of Ulster and Queen s University Belfast. It was established in 2000 with a commission to enhance and expand entrepreneurship education within the universities. In the period 2000 to 2006 NICENT focused on the Science, Engineering and Science, (SET) disciplines but from 2007 it expanded into arts, humanities and the social sciences. NICENT has been funded and supported in the period 2000 to 2005 by the Office of Science and Innovation and in the period 2000 to 2009 by Invest NI.NICENT has sought to build a greater awareness of innovation and entrepreneurship through the development and promotion of appropriate curriculum interventions and has actively encouraged student and staff engagement with the entrepreneurial new venturing agenda through a number of enterprise programmes, initiatives and competitions. This is the final report of NICENT, under phase 2. It covers the period of academic years 2007/2008 and 2008/2009. The Centre has been particularly successful in its efforts to embed innovation and entrepreneurship-learning across the curriculum within faculties at Ulster, particularly within Science, Engineering and Technology, an achievement of which the team at NICENT is proud. As funding for phase 2 ends, it is understood, that responsibility for maintaining the curriculum development efforts of the Centre in the future will become the responsibility of the faculties. For a fuller overview of activities of the Centre over the period of this report please see appendix. 1 Performance Outputs 2007 to 2009 During the period of this report 3,425 (see below) undergraduate students at Ulster achieved the core learning outcomes for entrepreneurship awareness, whilst 369 postgraduate students undertook entrepreneurship training. Table 1 below presents overall performance figures in entrepreneurship education and training for the period 2007 to NICENT at Ulster exceeded its total performance targets in each year. 2 Performance Outputs 2000 to 2009 In the nine years to date NICENT, under both phases, has delivered entrepreneurship learning to almost 12,500 students at Ulster, almost 11, 000 of those at undergraduate level and over 1,500 at post graduate level. Across the partner institutions, NICENT has delivered entrepreneurship learning to over 24,000 students across the partner institutions. Please see table 2.

2 Table 1 CURRICULUM STATISTICS 2007/ /2009 Target Actual Target ** Actual Undergraduates Science, Engineering and Technology Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Total Postgraduates Science, Engineering and Technology * N/A 106 N/A 78 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Total Overall Total Notes on Figures Figures for 2008/09 are actual registered * No targets were set for Postgraduate Science, Engineering and Technology during NICENT Phase 2. ** Targets for 2008/09 Semester 2 based on Semester 1 targets. Table 2 CURRICULUM STATISTICS PHASE 1 PHASE 2 TOTAL PHASE 1/2 Target Actual Target Actual Target Actual CORPORATE Undergraduates Postgraduates Corporate Overall Total UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER Undergraduates Postgraduates UU Overall Total Note - Phase 1 was the period A/Y 2000/2001 to semester 1, A/Y 2006/07. Targets for 2005/06 and Semester 1 of 2006/07 were carried on from A/Y 2005/2006, the official end of NICENT Phase 1. Phase 2 was the period semester 2 A/Y 2006/087 to semester 2 A/Y 2008/09. Targets for Semester /09 based on 2007/08 targets. 2

3 3 APPENDIX Curriculum development activity Initially focused on enterprise for new venture creation, teaching has evolved to incorporate more of an enterprise for life agenda, preparing students for a working life in which enterprising attributes will be an asset, but also making them more aware of, and better prepared for, the possibility of new venture creation at some time in their careers. Teaching the enterprise for new venture creation agenda involves topics such as business planning, intellectual property and sources of finance and seeks also to help individuals to address their attitudes to failure and risk-taking. The enterprise for life agenda more effectively addresses employability skills (such as interpersonal skills, presentation, negotiation and selling skills, strategic thinking, problem solving and making informed judgments, creativity and idea generation, recognising opportunity and assessing risk, managing change and complexity, and networking), stimulates active learning and self development and crucially builds self confidence. 4 Learning Approaches At Ulster an interactive, student-centred, learning-by-doing approach, that also encourages independent learning, has been taken to teaching undergraduate students. Extensive use is made of, for example, on-line learning, role play/drama, business simulation projects, team projects, case studies, networking and Dragon s Den type business plan pitch events. Importantly, content has been tailored to make it appropriate to the discipline being addressed. Student feedback has been very positive and students have been actively engaged, essential if they are to be stimulated to be entrepreneurial and creative, (Reference Evaluation of NICENT by BDO Stoy Hayward 2008). This approach has been complemented by the extensive use of role model entrepreneurs and senior business executives from local companies. These role models present their entrepreneurial and business experiences to students and staff, thereby enriching the entrepreneurial and innovation teaching at the University. On graduation students receive a Certificate in Entrepreneurship Studies with their primary degree qualification. The doctoral research community at Ulster were presented by NICENT with a series of workshops in which participants explored aspects of creative thinking, entrepreneurship and the possible commercial potential of their research. Over 150 research students attended the workshops over the period of this report which were organised as a part of the Graduate Research Training Studies programme at the university. 5 Student and Staff Interaction During the period of this report was involved in developing programmes and extra-curricular events designed to build the entrepreneurial awareness and skills of students and staff. 3

4 The Flying Start Global Fellowship NICENT managed the launch for 2007/2008 of a one year programme sponsored by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) and the US-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Flying Start Global Fellowship takes the best entrepreneurial talent from UK universities and links them with the entrepreneurial environment in America. This highly prestigious Fellowship is designed to help aspiring entrepreneurial new venturers turn their business ideas into reality. The Fellowship consists of six months spent in the UK where Fellows work with their sponsor university to develop their science, technology or engineering related business idea and six months in the US as Kauffman Global Scholars where they work with top entrepreneurial universities, and intern in leading innovative companies. Two students from the University of Ulster recently completed their fellowships at the end of 07/08 and a further two from Ulster are currently engaged in their Fellowship programmes. Over the past four years NICENT has supported eight Fellowships from both partner institutions. Business Planning Programme for staff The Business Planning Programme assisted staff from Ulster and Queen s to develop first stage business plans. This programme was delivered by NICENT in conjunction with external business advisors and guest speakers. The Programme comprised four day-long workshops, each day dealing with a different section(s) of the business plan. Outside of these workshops, 'one-toone' sessions were scheduled with participants and two consultancy days were available to each participant to provide additional support with financial modelling and forecasting. In staff from Queen s and 12 staff from Ulster participated in the programme. Other Programmes NICENT at Ulster organised a number of other significant programmes and events over the period. At Ulster there was an inspirational presentation by record holding Marathon runner Peter Ferris (MBE) which celebrated Volunteer Week in June Business Planning Competitions The NICENT partnership has actively sought to encourage the engagement of students and staff in the practice of entrepreneurial new venturing through the promotion of a number of regional and national enterprise development competitions. For example: The 25K Award : The Search for the Next Big Thing The 25k Award is managed at Ulster by NICENT in support of the Northern Ireland Science Park s (NISP) CONNECT Programme. NICENT sponsored the competition in previous years, but in current year that responsibility has been assumed by the Ulster Business School. The competition is designed to encourage staff and students to produce tomorrow s leading firms. The 4

5 supportive nature of the competition, its network of mentors, investors and potential partners, and the cash prizes awarded help teams to realise their aspirations to build their own companies. The competition categories focus specifically on HiTech, Biotech, CleanTech, and Software and Digital Media. In 2008 teams from Ulster won the CleanTech and Digital Media categories, and a joint Ulster/Queen s team won the Biotech. The Student Enterprise Awards The Student Enterprise Awards is an annual all-island student business plan competition sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Invest NI and Cruickshank & Co. This competition is open to all full-time students in higher education institutions on the island of Ireland and is the most prestigious higher education business enterprise showcase for aspiring student new venturers. In 2008 four female students from the Ulster Business School took the top prize of 8,000, and the title of College Entrepreneurs of the Year, with their business proposal Uberfeet, an innovative, relaxing foot-wear product for women to be worn after a period of wearing more formal business footwear. Global Entrepreneurship Week The Big Idea New Business Venturing competition, organised as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week in November 2008, attracted interest from over twenty entrepreneurial new venturers at Ulster and Queen s. Sponsored by Invest NI and managed within the two universities by NICENT, the competition engaged the support of an international mentor and entrepreneurial practitioner, Professor Ed Marram of Babson College in Boston, who provided insights and ideas to the university entrepreneurs as they prepared their final business plan submissions for the international judges. Ulster s Tactility Factory scooped the top prize of 10,000. Ulster teams also picked up second and third prizes and received 5,000 each for international business development activity. Innovative problem solving workshop In addition to supporting the Big Idea during Global Entrepreneurship Week, NICENT at Ulster managed a unique workshop in innovative problem solving, sponsored by Invest NI, and presented by Professor David Hughes, Professor Emeritus from Harvard University in the US and a Fulbright Scholar at NUI, Galway. 7 Sharing Best Practice NICENT has developed a significant profile nationally and internationally for its work in promoting entrepreneurship with higher education. Staff from Ulster during 2008 presented papers and during a number of key conferences promoting NICENT best practice. In May 2008 staff from NICENT at Ulster presented a joint workshop on Entrepreneurship Education Best Practice to an INTRE conference at the University of Limerick. INTRE is Ireland s Network of teachers and Researchers in Entrepreneurship. In June 2008 NICENT staff delivered a pre-conference two day workshop on 5

6 Entrepreneurship Education best practice as part of the International Conference for Small Businesses (ICSB) held in Halifax, Canada. As a result NICENT has been invited to become one of the founder members of a new International enterprise education community. In December 2008 Professor McGowan presented the key note address on the NICENT case study at the launch of the Entrepreneurship Centre at the Free University of Amsterdam, and in February 2009 he presented a keynote address, again on the NICENT case study as a demonstration of best practice, to the Entrepreneurship Education Conference sponsored by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council in Dublin. During the year Professor McGowan, was invited to be a member of an advisory committee to the project Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship, a consortium of Higher Education Institutions in the Republic of Ireland, working to promote the agenda for entrepreneurship within the curriculum across several higher education institutions. In early 2009, Professor McGowan was invited to be a member of an advisory panel established to embed entrepreneurship within the curriculum of the Southern Regional College, and NICENT at Ulster launched a programme to up-skill teaching staff at both the Southern Regional College and the North Eastern Regional College in Entrepreneurship Awareness. With NICENT s international reputation for promoting entrepreneurship across higher education the Centre played host at Ulster to a delegation of academics from the Cech Republic led by Professor Frantisek Freiberg from the Prague Technological University. 8 Training the Trainers Deborah Fraser, a Senior Lecturer in Ulster s School of Art and Design, and Jenny Irvine, CEO of the Irvinestown Trustee Enterprise Company and studying at Ulster for an MSc in Executive Leadership, joined with other European entrepreneurship educators and entrepreneurs at the 2008 Price- Babson European Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators, held at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, to learn to become more effective, innovative teachers of entrepreneurship. In May 2008 the Centre at Ulster launched a programme in practical marketing, the Marketing in Action programme designed to up-skill staff within the Student Marketing Division within the University. Some twenty participants have participated in the programme 9 Diana International Symposium In 2008 NICENT at Ulster, in partnership with the Dundalk Institute of Technology and Babson College, Boston, organised the first International DIANA research symposium to be held outside the United States. The symposium in Belfast brought together over 100 leading researchers in female entrepreneurship from over 20 countries around the world and was 6

7 addressed by Professor Candy Brush from Babson College, a founder member of the DIANA project and an internationally renowned scholar in the area of Female Entrepreneurship. The conference recognised that the number of women engaging in entrepreneurial new venturing was increasing on the island of Ireland but also recognised that the gap between men and women engaging in entrepreneurial activity remained stubbornly wide. 10 NICENT at Ulster worked with both the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the British Council to spear head entrepreneurship education development within the vocational education section in Sudan and higher education in Sri Lanka. NICENT s work with UNIDO resulted from a request from the Sudanese Government to work with representatives from their vocational education sector to assist in the development of a strategy for integrating entrepreneurship education within training centres. In addition, NICENT at Ulster was selected by the British Council to participate in a UK delegation to Sri Lanka for a Strategic Dialogue Workshop on the Entrepreneurial University with policy makers and educationalists from higher education. In an increasingly globalised world, there is a need for universities to engage with their environments in new and innovative ways. Thus, Entrepreneurial Universities are those which endeavour to create a culture which inspires and encourages entrepreneurial activity amongst students and staff. They act as centres for socio - economic development and innovation within a community. To be chosen as one of eight UK universities considered exemplars of the Entrepreneurial University concept is an important endorsement of the work of NICENT at Ulster. 11 Staff members of NICENT at Ulster received an international award for their work in enterprise education. Professor Simon Bridge, Dr Cecilia Hegarty and Sharon Porter received the accolade from the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The team s winning work, entitled Rediscovering Enterprise, explores entrepreneurship education for undergraduates in Northern Ireland. 7

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