Enterprise and entrepreneurship

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 10:58:00 GMT

Major new report singles out University of Huddersfield for enterprise and entrepreneurship

Enterprise and Innovation Centre

The University's new Enterprise and Innovation Centre

INNOVATIVE projects at the University of Huddersfield have earned special recognition in a major Government-commissioned report which takes an in-depth look at collaboration between industry and Higher Education and how it can boost the economy.

The report is written by Professor Sir Tim Wilson, who is a strong advocate for the role that universities can play in economic regeneration.  He issues a call for the UK to build on the world-class reputation of its universities, in order to boost growth and attract inward investment.

He includes a sequence of case studies in the document, and one of them deals with the University of Huddersfield’s Business Mine – which provides advice and practical help to entrepreneurial students and recent graduates – and the award-winning Graduate Entrepreneurship Project, which is based at the University.

Sir Tim also draws attention to the £11.5 million pounds Enterprise and Innovation Centre nearing completion at the University and designed to play a major role in regenerating the local and regional economy.

In a section of the report dealing with the promotion of entrepreneurship among graduates, Sir Tim includes:

"Founded in 2004, the University of Huddersfield’s Business Mine supports students and graduates starting up their own business through a series of events: one-to-one business advice, hot-desk office space, and access to micro-finance. An Enterprise Placement Year helps students start up their own business during their placement year.  The Business Mine is supported by the Huddersfield-led ERDF-funded Graduate Entrepreneurship Project—a collaboration of start-up units across the ten universities of Yorkshire and the Humber, providing funds for micro-finance, delivering regional events and sharing best practice.  Enterprising students and graduates may join the University’s new Enterprise and Innovation Centre—a ‘business-to-business-to-university’ facility for new start-ups, SMEs and corporates, and based on open innovation principles."

The University of Huddersfield’s Head of Enterprise, Dr Kelly Smith, said: “We are delighted that the University has been recognised as a leader in the field of enterprise and entrepreneurship education, with our work highlighted in the Wilson Review.”

Dr Smith is the current Chair of Enterprise Educators UK and a member of the panel producing the QAA Guidelines for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education which both feature in the Review report.

The Graduate Entrepreneurship Project** (GEP) – which originated in 2001 – is led by the University of Huddersfield, and is a collaboration between all ten universities and higher education institutes in the Yorkshire and Humber region.  It has helped to create hundreds of new jobs and businesses.  At the 2011 National Enterprise Educator Awards, the GEP won the major category ‘Enterprise Champions’.  

Entitled ‘A Review of Business-University Collaboration’, Sir Tim’s report was commissioned last year by the Government and announced in the Higher Education White Paper.

In the introduction to the 41,000-word document, Sir Tim writes: “In our globally competitive economic environment, never before has there been a greater need for a talented, enterprising workforce, for constant innovation in product and service development, for a thriving culture of entrepreneurship, for dynamic leading-edge scientific and technological development and for world-class research that attracts investment.”

He argues that the UK university sector has the capability to be a “source of strength in the UK’s knowledge-based economy of the twenty first century”.

In his conclusion, Sir Tim – a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire – writes that the last eight years have seen a huge expansion in collaborative activity to the benefit of business, students and universities alike.

He adds, however, that the global reputation of UK universities remains underexploited.  “Just as the first decade of this century has demonstrated the immense benefits of business-university collaboration, the second decade should build on those achievements to attain world-class status and see the global reputation of the UK university sector being utilised as a stimulus for both indigenous economic growth and inward investment.”

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Bob Cryan, was a member of the Advisory Board to the ‘Review of Business-University Collaboration’.

**The GE project is supported financially by the European Union. The project has attracted £1.3 million of investment from the European Regional Development Fund.

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