The HEI increases awareness of entrepreneurship and stimulates the entrepreneurial intentions of students, graduates and staff to start-up a business or venture

Increasing awareness of the value and importance of developing entrepreneurial competences and skills among staff and students is necessary for HEIs to become more entrepreneurial and innovative. A good first step to increasing awareness about support for entrepreneurs available on campus is establishing a central communication mechanism for both internal and external stakeholders. For example, placing entrepreneurship and support for entrepreneurs on, or in a "1-3 click" proximity to, the organisation's homepage sends a signal that entrepreneurship is important.

In addition, to reach students, more active approaches are necessary such as having entrepreneurship modules in all fields of study. Alternatively, awareness campaigns are an important tool and those which require active participation will likely have a greater impact. Special events could be organised in co-operation with the business community, centred on:

  • Work-projects e.g., “Start-up Weekend” or
  • Promotional e.g., “Global Entrepreneurship Week”

It is also important to go beyond awareness raising by stimulating interest in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial intentions. One method is to showcase success stories from local young entrepreneurs, for example though events such as “Start-up Days”, where local and graduate entrepreneurs tell their story to inspire interest in enterprising behaviour. Such events could be arranged through a co-operation with local authorities and organisations, the HEI, and graduates/alumni. Another approach is to invite local entrepreneurs and alumni to participate in entrepreneurship learning activities on campus, including delivering guest lectures in courses and working with students on start-up or consultancy projects. It is important that they are visible and accessible to students so that they can identify with them as role models. This presents an excellent way for students to gain insights into idea generation and venture creation and development. It is also important to celebrate successful student start-ups. These ventures are often easier for other students to identify with because these entrepreneurs are their peers. Successful student entrepreneurs could be featured at entrepreneurship events and even within entrepreneurship education. Reaching staff will require a different approach such as workshops and training sessions on entrepreneurship and research-relevant activities.

HEIs can also stimulate entrepreneurship in students and for staff by ensuring that a conducive framework is in place to support them in business creation. This includes providing access to business start-up support infrastructure (e.g., incubators), as well as ensuring that study programmes and employment conditions are sufficiently flexible to allow students and staff to pursue business creation. For staff, offering the option to have own shares in university start-ups, and to work part-time and to take sabbaticals to pursue business start-up are some of the possible incentives.

A more advanced approach would be to create an “Entrepreneurship Advisory Group” that would primarily consist of successful entrepreneurs from the local area, who are often alumni. This group would advise senior management and academic staff on how entrepreneurship support could be further adapted to the higher education institution.

  • Guidance notes