Embedding entrepreneurship education in higher education institutions requires adaptations of their structures. This can be understood as creating a special place in the institution that belong to entrepreneurship education, but also to create capacity and knowledge to respond to challenges that are linked to entrepreneurship education. These newly created structures can be physical in terms of buildings as well as non-material artefacts such as new professional roles or departments. These new structures do not need to be part of the creating higher education institution, they can also be units that are autonomous and located at the institution’s organizational boundaries, such as business incubators. Also, new structures can be built at the centre level of the university to support institutional leadership in their attempts to embed entrepreneurship.

The goal

The creation of new infrastructure or the structural interventions aim at enhancing embedding of entrepreneurial teaching and learning

Examples of interventions at institutional level

With structural interventions, we refer to those activities that aim to alter the organisational structure of higher education institutions. In detail, these changes alter existing or establish new roles, positions or even departments and other organizational units in higher education institutions. At first sight, one would not assume that these interventions would benefit the enhancement of entrepreneurial teaching and learning, as they do not offer teaching and learning. Rather, often these structural changes aim to enable this kind of teaching. Frequent examples are the establishment of a “Centre for Entrepreneurship Education” or of a business incubator (Maritz, 2017; O’Connor et al., 2012; Thom, 2017). Thus, these interventions can be regarded as a further structural differentiation and specialisation in which expert positions aim to support strengthening the entrepreneurial nature of the higher education institution (Ortiz-Medina et al., 2016). Often these are large-scale interventions, which include long-term planning, setting clear objectives or vast investments. Also, when altering existing or creating new organisational structures, institutions must consider the need to legitimise this change internally and create approval among staff and students. This legitimation can support those new structures to become better integrated into the institution and that its services are used (Maritz, 2017; Maritz & Brown, 2013). In our sample, the outcomes and impacts of these structural interventions are hardly measured (Smith, 2015).

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Other relevant resources
  • EBN –The European Business and Innovation Centre Network, www.ebn.eu
Links to selected HEInnovate case studies
Further reading
  • Ayyash, Sarah Al; McAdam, Maura; OGorman, Colm (2020): Towards a New Perspective on the Heterogeneity of Business Incubator-Incubation Definitions. In IEEE Trans. Eng. Manage., pp. 1–15. DOI: 10.1109/TEM.2020.2984169.
  • Maritz, Alex (2017): Illuminating the Black Box of Entrepreneurship Education Programmes: Part 2. In Education & Training 59, pp. 471–482. DOI: 10.1108/ET-02-2017-0018.
  • Ortiz-Medina, L.; Fernndez-Ahumada, E.; Lara-Vlez, P.; Taguas, E. V.; Gallardo-Cobos, R.; del Campillo, M. C.; Guerrero-Ginel, J. E. (2016): Designing an Accompanying Ecosystem to Foster Entrepreneurship among Agronomic and Forestry Engineering Students. Opinion and Commitment of University Lecturers. In European Journal of Engineering Education 41, pp. 393–410. DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2015.1079815.
  • Smith, Kelly (2015): Measuring the Impact of Enterprise Education and Entrepreneurship Support in Higher Education: Can Routinely Collected Data Be of Use? In Industry and Higher Education 29, pp. 493–503. Available online at http://ezproxy2.utwente.nl/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1083884&site=ehost-live and http://www.ippublishing.com/ihe.htm.