Some higher education institutions are more or less completely new to entrepreneurialism or entrepreneurship education. They need to build up knowledge as well as (infra-)structure(s) so that they can provide high quality entrepreneurship education.

The problem

The establishment of entrepreneurial experience and knowledge in higher education institutions requires them strongly invest in capacity, staff, and structures. A lack of all these resources could have a negative impact on the quality of entrepreneurship education. Also, the retention of entrepreneurial capacity is a challenge for higher education institutions.

Solutions at institutional level

  • Lack of entrepreneurial capacity among staff – Frequently academic staff does not have extensive knowledge or experience in entrepreneurship or entrepreneurship education. To overcome this lack, higher education institutions can consider creating new positions for staff with experience in both areas. Also, job requirements can be amended by entrepreneurial qualifications when re-filling staff positions.
  • Providing entrepreneurship courses for staff can also be a suitable instrument to build capacity and experiences among staff. However, staff training needs to consider interests and cultures of disciplines. Training appeared mostly effective when providing opportunities to learn and test new knowledge and techniques.
  • Training for staff should also include some support for establishing contacts with the business-sector, e.g., through transfer-offices or support the interaction with external stakeholders.
  • Training for staff might also be provided as internship or establishing collaborations with the business-sector. E.g., collaborative doctoral degrees, where doctoral students collaborate in research and innovation with firms (from their region) while simultaneously studying for their PhD can contribute to increasing entrepreneurship capacity or experience in the higher education institutions.
  • While training of staff is the most crucial solution, higher education institutions also need to consider the implementation of structures with which the knowledge and capacity is consolidated, i.e., that it is not linked to specific persons and lost once these leave the organisation. Establishing chairs for entrepreneurship or centres for entrepreneurship can support this and can help to ensure that this capacity is permanently anchored in the organisation and can persist independently of individuals.
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Other relevant resources
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Links to selected HEInnovate case studies
  • Kozminski University, Poland: Developing minds for ambitious entrepreneurship and training teachers at other universities
Further reading

Clements, Mike (2012): Contribution of the SPEED Programme to the Enhancement of an Enterprise Culture in a UK University. In Industry and Higher Education 26, pp. 101–106. DOI: 10.5367/ihe.2012.0088.