Earlier this year, the University formed the Warwick Enterprise Partnership. This group brings together 14 University departments and other interest groups that currently deliver aspects of Enterprise Education to students, to enable further collaboration and development of enterprise provision.
Enterprise and entrepreneurship are essential components of the culture and values of the University. The challenges in our global labour market means it is very important that our graduates leave the University with the enterprising capability to make a pro-active, positive and socially responsible contribution to society. The importance of this aspect of education is embedded in emerging national and international policies that are dramatically shaping how we take forward and sustain our economies.
As a research-led institution, being able to support and encourage all members of our community to have the confidence to develop their ideas and innovate is of paramount significance. This commitment underpins initiatives that promote public engagement; how we connect globally and communicate the impact of our research; and consequently the innovation community this allows us to build and be a part of. The enterprising mind-set is evident in all that we do and achieve, and our challenge is to engage all students with this culture in a way that will contribute to their Warwick experience, their employability and personal impact.
Achievements over the last year include:
- The University of Warwick being named the UK’s most enterprising university in 2013 by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and venture capital firm Find Invest Grow (FIG) as part of the RBS Enterprising Student Society Accreditation (ESSA).
- The launch of the Warwick Ventures Software Incubator which is based in the Avon Building.
- The University of Warwick Science Park and Warwick Entrepreneurs jointly planning, organising and delivering a Warwick Business Start-Up programme.
- Our innovative approach to supporting student social enterprise through successful collaboration between UnLtd, the Students’ Union and Student Careers and Skills.
The importance of supporting student enterprise has become a fundamental and expected part of the student experience in all HEIs. As a result, we are measured on this through the NSS and DLHE surveys as they ask students to consider how well their higher education has developed their ‘enterprise capability’; and increasingly graduate recruiters are explicitly looking for ‘entrepreneurial graduates’. Therefore, it is vital that the University of Warwick innovates in its approach to engaging the student community in developing and exploring their potential for enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Chaired by Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Christina Hughes, the Partnership comprises all University stakeholders that deliver an aspect of student-facing Enterprise Education, and all have committed to work together to better connect, innovate and develop the University’s strategic and operational approach to this area.
The Partnership has begun to explore three key areas that make up this complex picture: enterprise as a skill, enterprise as a business start-up and enterprise as a transformative pedagogy. All have a valid contribution to this rich picture and our challenge is now to build on these facets, connect them, and bring the entrepreneurial journey to life.