In the last year I have had the amazing opportunity to design a venture creation BA (Hons) Entrepreneurship Programme which is oriented towards students who wish to combine study towards an honours degree with the opportunity to start their own business in a supported environment with guidance from specialist lecturers, practising entrepreneurs and mentors. Over the years I have seen many programmes and wanted to create something for Entrepreneurs, the student and for practitioners.
This is a practice-oriented degree, which focuses on the development of the students’ entrepreneurial effectiveness. This is achieved by embracing the concept of ‘learning by doing’ which ensures students are acquiring real knowledge and practical expertise to support their business start-up and business growth aspirations. There is a focus on real business experiences including master classes, enterprise events and interactions with local and global entrepreneurs. This philosophy is extended within the assessment primarily for (rather than ‘of’) learning Entrepreneurship (QAA (2012) Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education: Guidance for UK Higher Education Providers, pp9).
Similarly, although there is an inherent emphasis on learning within the learner’s own start-up venture, the Entrepreneurship skills acquired will be transferable to other business environments and learning opportunities.
This BA (Hons) Entrepreneurship Programme aligns with the nation and international government agenda (The Impact and Effectiveness of Entrepreneurship Policy, NESTA 2013) and seeks to increase the number of entrepreneurs in the economy.
A range of teaching pedagogies are adopted to ensure the curriculum enhances the learning of all students both in the startup and in group learning environments. In addition to lectures, seminars, videos, podcasts, presentations and visiting entrepreneurs, students will participate in action learning sets and interactive activities to apply learning from businesses experiences in their startup. These approaches are intended to take into account the principles of inclusivity: the types of learner, their startup business, their prior experience and expectations and how they learn and will be supported to learn effectively.
Given the focus on developing a continued learning environment in which students develop an entrepreneurial mindset, there is an emphasis within the BA (Hons) Entrepreneurship Programme on tutoring and mentoring to support individual requirements, and also to reflect (at a meta-cognitive level) on their learning process. The programme is supported by more than 10 Entrepreneurs in Residence, regional business support agencies and local businesses.