The Dyslexic Professor: Spot the ‘pukka’ approach to my final preparations for GCRF RECIRCULATE trip to Ghana!

In the final stages of preparing for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation training workshops in Accra, Ghana next week. Workshop plan TICK; Learning resources TICK; Background material TICK; Passport TICK; Yellow Fever Certificate TICK; But which flavour of my favourite Pukka tea bags to pack?

I am a Co-Investigator, and leader of the ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ work package, on £6.8M Global Challange Research Fund (GCRF) ‘RECIRCULATE: Driving Eco-innovation in Africa – Capacity-building for a safe circular water economy’ will empower African research organisations to work in, with and for their communities by strengthening their skills and capacity to deliver innovative solutions to pressing problems with water use and safety. The project will focus on “joining up” the different ways in which water supports communities, from sewage disposal to energy generation and water used in food production.

RECIRCULATE will bring together leading researchers in the UK, Ghana and Nigeria with African entrepreneurs, policymakers and community leaders, to deliver the innovative approaches needed to integrate the different uses of water, and which support sustainable, equitable development – http://www.recirculate.global

I can’t decide which flavour – so, it’s Peppermint & liquorice; Three fennel; Lemon, ginger & manuka honey.

Nigel Lockett

Supporting student enterprise and preparing students for the workplace

What actions can Business Schools take to support student enterprise and prepare students for the workplace?

  1. Explore how business schools can do more work with businesses and not just work about businesses. This will increase the scope for partnerships that embed students in real-world experiences.
  2. Build more links to medium-sized firms who are the primary drivers of growth and innovation in the economy. This will help expose students to firms with lower structure than they are used to in education or larger firms – without it being a purely entrepreneurial environment.
  3. Include the employer voice in the design of the course (e.g. market research conversations, new content, existing content).
  4. Assess student achievement using as realistic of means possible (e.g. real-world scenarios, performance-based assessments).
  5. Recruit 10 ‘Entrepreneurs in Residence’ who are willing, on a voluntary basis, to contribute to teaching, judging and mentoring and use them as advocates across the school and university.
  6. Create a Student Enterprise Action Group to share good practice and develop new opportunities. Draw members from across and beyond the university but with leadership from the Business School. Don’t forget to include student and entrepreneur representation.
  7. Review your approach to employability and entrepreneurship in light of political and policy changes (e.g. apprenticeship levy and Brexit).

Professor Nigel Lockett
Associate Dean for Engagement and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Lancaster University Management School

Summary of the recommended actions from the ‘Employability and entrepreneurship: Supporting student enterprise and preparing students for the workplace’ workshop chaired by Nigel Lockett at the Chartered Association of Business Schools Annual Conference 2016.

Value, value, value: UK Business Schools contribution to national, regional and local economies

Whilst there is concern over the declining global ranking of UK universities, as 38 of 48 in the top 400 drop places, UK Business Schools are increasingly contributing real value to the economy.

The Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) Delivery Value Taskforce report, launched by Lord Bilimoria at the House of Lords on Friday 9th September, highlights significant and sustained impact for regional and local economies in terms of:

  • Driving regional growth through student entrepreneurship, growth programmes and working with supply chains;
  • Developing business support infrastructure through developing growth hubs and regional institutes and initiatives;
  • Engaging small businesses through the Small Business Charter, growth vouchers and innovation vouchers;
  • Nurturing talent through student projects, placements and internships, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, student entrepreneurship and Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeships;
  • Leading skills development through executive education, innovative programmes and work-based learning.

In addition, the UK economy benefits by 325,000 students studying business (fifth of all students!) contributing £3.25 billion per year, More specifically, they attract a third of the international students resulting in £2.6 billion direct income to the national economy.

The report calls for:

  • Business Schools to work with key regional partners to increase productivity and develop post-Brexit regional development funding opportunities;
  • Regional bodies to recognise the value of business schools as anchor institutions;
  • Government to fund growth and productivity initiatives immediately and post-Brexit;
  • Businesses to engage with business schools on collaborative research and developing student talent.

This all reinforces the need for universities to excel at research, teaching and engagement … the Triple Chocolate University!

Professor Nigel Lockett
Associate Dean for Engagement and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Lancaster University Management School

The ‘Triple Chocolate’ University

I will try not to over-bake the use of metaphors in deciding the right ingredients for successful universities! However, I am asking you to consider what makes the best recipe for a top higher education institution – top in terms of research, teaching and engagement.

For far too long we have considered only two dimensions when ranking universities – namely, research and teaching. However, added value from research and teaching is increasingly being seen as resulting from engaging with wider society for cultural, economic and social impact.

Indeed, in the most recent assessment of research outputs from over 52,000 UK academics (REF2014) nearly 7,000 cases of sustained impact contributed 20% to the overall assessment of quality. This was the first time impact of research was reported and linked to funding. Last month’s ‘Success as a Knowledge Economy: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility & Student Choice‘ White Paper proposed the introduction of a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which seeks to establish a similar link between teaching quality and funding. It also proposes new regulators – the Office for Students (OfS) for TEF and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) for REF. Details are still to be agreed. However, in addition to measuring teaching quality, TEF will also reflect graduate employment. Perhaps the ultimate measure of success –  at least from the students perspective!

Interestingly, Times Higher Education has published a Mock TEF, which produced a Top 10 (REF quality ranking) of:

  1. Loughborough University (49)
  2. Aston University (35)
  3. De Montfort University (75)
  4. Swansea University (26)
  5. University of Kent (49)
  6. Coventry University (75)
  7. Keene University (57)
  8. University of Surrey (45)
  9. University of Bath (14)
  10. Lancaster University (18)

(Only Bath and Lancaster are in the Mock TEF top 10 and REF top 20)

This trend towards increased engagement, as part of achieving excellence in both research and teaching, requires the sector to rethink the recipe for success. The days of engagement being described as third mission or third leg are rapidly disappearing. After all, if we are to make the ultimate chocolate cake, we need three types of chocolate. So, the debate now needs to move to what proportion of each is needed to achieve the different flavours of universities we want.

Professor Nigel Lockett
Associate Dean for Engagement and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Lancaster University Management School

Winning the ‘Triple Crown’ for Enterprise

The ‘Triple Crown’ has become synonymous with winning Rugby Union’s Home-Nations contest. However, in recent months another more entrepreneurial triple endeavour has been recognised …

In November 2015 the University of Leeds won The Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship announced at the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards on 10 November. The award, recommended in Lord Young’s Enterprise for All report,  recognised the University’s role in encouraging and enabling student entrepreneurship and supporting high growth small businesses in the region.

Secondly, and in the same month, the University was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards. Seen as the ‘Oscars’ of the higher education sector, the award recognised the University’s role in offering opportunities for student entrepreneurship, the support provided for small businesses in the region and its significant innovation and IP commercialisation work.

And thirdly, March 2016 brought forward the final jewel in the Triple Crown for Enterprise … the University of Leeds won the national Guardian University Entrepreneurship Award for its enterprising approach to supporting students. The InTechnology Enterprise Incubator programme, which provides much-needed physical space on campus, it offers the full package of business advice, practical support and access to financial assistance, proved to be the winning initiative for the Guardian awards.

These awards are the ultimate accolade for any enterprising university and the culmination of years of hard work across the whole university. From student start-ups to university spin-out companies and from exceptional enterprise education to supporting high-growth firms in the region, what differentiates Leeds is our commitment to commercialising world leading research and enabling enterprise students and graduates to make economic, social and cultural impact. Building this sector leading enterprise offer is the result of the support and collaboration of staff, students, alumni and entrepreneurs – a winning entrepreneurial  team.

Professor Nigel Lockett
Professor of Enterprise at Leeds University Business School

University of Self-Employment

Julie Deane’s (of The Cambridge Satchel Company fame) ‘Self-Employment Review‘, published in February 2016, cited 5 key themes (Importance/ Significance; Motivation; Diversity; Evolution; Equality and Fairness) and made 10 recommendations around:

  1. Education to better prepare our young people
  2. Advice and support should be as accessible as possible
  3. Need for more flexible financial solutions
  4. Equal treatment and recognition
  5. Need for a legal definition of self-employment
  6. Overly complicated legislation
  7. Need for an Impact Assessment
  8. Shared work spaces are becoming more important
  9. Technology has revolutionised the way we work

With self employment growing (see my uber-economy blog), what role can universities play in supporting self employment?

Clearly some of the recommendations are easier for universities to respond to than others. Universities can provide exceptional enterprise education – both in the curriculum (1) and outside (2). Just look the enterprise offer at the University of Leeds (winner of the Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship 2015). But what about some of the other recommendations?

Universities do have an important role to play in promoting self employment as a real career option (4) and can provide access to early start-up finance through competitions and bursaries (3). Many universities now have on-campus incubation space (9) and have good links with follow-on space (9). Of course, universities remain a ‘safe space’ to learn and this includes about leading edge technology (10).

However, universities can go even further by supporting the development of enterprise skills in their graduates – which are of value to any organisation no matter how large or small.

But perhaps the value of ‘an enterprising’ university degree is even greater than the knowledge and skills acquired – and includes the networks and personal confidence to make real economic, social and cultural impact.

Professor Nigel Lockett
Professor of Enterprise at Leeds University Business School

 

UK Productivity Challenge

Productivity performance in UK firms is weakening when compared with other G8 companies – according to a recent report Unlocking UK Productivity. But what could be the role of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in addressing this challenge?

One possibility is for SMEs to internationalise and innovate to help drive growth – which increases productivity. In fact, SMEs that internationalise are three times more innovative. However, only 1 in 5 currently do so.

The report recommends we:

  • Nurture the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem to encourage greater growth ambition among SMEs
  • Expand appropriate forms of education to help build the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Stimulate demand and support supply through debt and equity financing

Policymakers have a role to play in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem and banks in providing finance. Interestingly, it is universities who are responding to the needs of entrepreneurs by providing innovative entrepreneurial education programmes. Two such programmes stand out:

Both programmes share a commitment to supporting entrepreneurs to increase turnover and jobs – all adding to productivity. But, perhaps more interestingly, particpants improve the quality and innovate existing systems, increase use financial data in decisions and become more confident in their own abilities.

So, its innovation, using money and confidence that seem to make all the difference.

Professor Nigel Lockett
Professor of Enterprise at Leeds University Business School

 

“Five gold rings …”, provides festive cheer for the University of Leeds

We are all familiar with the old adage that, “good things come in threes” but for Enterprise at Leeds this has become “good things come in fives!”

It all started in June 2014 with Leeds University Business School coming in the UK top three with Gold for Small Business Charter award for providing support for SMEs and fostering enterprise in the region.

Individual recognition followed just a year later with a National Teaching Fellowship awarded to Professor Nigel Lockett for his outstanding contribution to enterprise  education and in September 2015 by Kairen Skelley being recognised as the HE Enterprise Champion at the National Enterprise Educator Awards for her exceptional and inspirational commitment to supporting student and graduate entrepreneurship.

November 2015 proved to be the crowning month as the University of Leeds firstly won The Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship announced at the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards on 10 November. The award recognised the University’s role in encouraging and enabling student entrepreneurship and supporting high growth small businesses in the region.

And finally, to complete the “Five gold rings …”, the University was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards. Seen as the ‘Oscars’ of the higher education sector, the award recognised the University’s role in offering opportunities for student entrepreneurship, the support provided for small businesses in the region and its significant innovation and IP commercialisation work.

This award is the ultimate accolade for any enterprising university and the culmination of years of hard work across the whole university. From student start-ups to university spin-out companies and from exceptional enterprise education to supporting high-growth firms in the region, what differentiates Leeds is our commitment to commercialising world leading research and enabling enterprise students and graduates to make economic, social and cultural impact. Building this sector leading enterprise offer is the result of the support and collaboration of staff, students, alumni and entrepreneurs – a winning team.

Seasonal good wishes

Professor Nigel Lockett
Professor of Enterprise at Leeds University Business School

Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2015

As the Times Higher EducationEntrepreneurial University of the Year 2015‘, the University of Leeds has adopted enterprise as one of the four pillars of its strategy and as one of its five students’ union values. Led by the Vice-Chancellor, the senior enterprise team act as champions both on campus and within national organisations. The results of this commitment can be seen on all sides.

In 2013-14, the university gained £5.3 million from intellectual property and registered 374 patents. Its spin-out companies attracted £43.2 million in investments and created 426 full-time equivalent jobs. It also helped develop 275 regional businesses through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Growth Programme.

In the same academic year, more than 900 students undertook enterprise electives, half of them outside the business school. The university started a popular MSc in enterprise, set up fully funded ‘Year in Enterprise placements and enrolled 13,000 people from 105 countries on its ‘Starting a Busines’ massive open online course (MOOC). Such achievements have also enabled Leeds to make significant progress towards assembling an investment of more than £40 million for a 10,500 sq m University Innovation and Enterprise Centre.

“Enterprise is at the heart of the institutional vision of the University of Leeds,” noted the judges, “with senior staff, experienced educators and leading researchers driving this agenda across the whole university.” This was reflected in increasing “curriculum opportunities for enterprise education”, owing to “unprecedented levels of alumni and business community support”, as well as “a strong local and regional impact” in both public and private sectors.

IMG_2440

Rory Bremner (host), Brian Baille (Head of Business Incubation), Dr Sarah Underwood (Director of Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies), Kairen Skelley (Head of Business Start-up), Keith Burnley (CEO of NCEE), Prof Nigel Lockett (Director of Enterprise Learning)

Enterprise at Leeds Impact Report 2015

Professor Nigel Lockett
Professor of Enterprise at Leeds University Business School

Self-employment + Freelancing = Uber-economy?

With UK unemployment at only 5.4%, why has there been a 700,000 increase in self-employment since 2008? Significantly, this increase is not just in carers, cleaners and taxi drivers but also students and graduates are increasingly turning to self-employment and freelancing as a career option.

Interestingly, PolicyBee recently compared the experience of graduates from Post-1992 and Russell Group universities, finding that:

  • 61% of Post-1992 university graduates had undertaken some freelance or self employed work during their studies compared to 53% of Russell Group graduates
  • 46% of Post-1992 university graduates are ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ considering a career as a freelancer or in self employment versus 39% at Russell Group institutions

Although, this may not reflect the support for entrepreneurship on campus. Of the 132 UK universities in the UK, 24 are members of the Russell Group of “research-intensive world-class” universities. In spite of representing less than 20% of UK universities, 4 of the 10 shortlisted for the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship and 2 of the 6 shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Entrepreneurial University of the Year award are in the Russell Group.

My own experiences at the University of Leeds (the only university to be shortlisted for both!), highlights the growing support for student and graduate enterprise with over 1200 students studying enterprise as part of their degree; over 850 engaging in start-up support, 48 student businesses launched and an on-campus incubation Programme. Our recent Enterprise Impact Report details how enterprise is spreading throughout the university.

The idea of a ‘portfolio of career’ has been around for awhile but with increasing numbers of people choosing self-employment we could be moving to uber-careers and an uber-economy faster than you can hail a taxi!

Professor Nigel Lockett
Professor of Enterprise at Leeds University Business School