The impact of the HEI’s entrepreneurial activities is regularly assessed across all its activities

Entrepreneurial and innovative higher education institutions need to understand the impact of the changes they bring about. The entrepreneurial HEI combines institutional self-perception, external reflection and an evidence-based approach. An HEI that monitors the impact of all activities connected to the entrepreneurial and innovative agenda generates valuable information and data to be used to improve its own performance.

The impact of the entrepreneurial and innovative agenda can be wide ranging. The HEInnovate tool provides an overview of eight different dimensions where HEIs can assess their entrepreneurial and innovative characteristics or commit to new areas for change. Once an HEI commits to specific areas of change it is crucial to measure the progress to achieve the targets set and subsequently the impact generated. To do so HEIs should develop a monitoring and evaluation framework that defines the areas of change the institution wishes to measure with relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) assigned and reviewed at key milestones. There are many areas of enquiry which might be useful when measuring the impact of an institution’s entrepreneurial activities, and an HEI may wish to focus on one or many – in line with its entrepreneurial and innovative agenda - from the below non exhaustive list:

  • Awareness: Are students, academic and administrative staff aware of the entrepreneurial and innovative agenda and the activities implemented? Are they involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of these initiatives?
  • Commitment: Are sufficient resources dedicated to the entrepreneurial activities? Who drives the commitment (deans, heads of faculty, academic staff)?
  • Implementation & participation / level of involvement: Is the entrepreneurial and innovative agenda implemented? Are there areas which face more/less difficulties in being implemented? If so, why? Are sufficient numbers of staff and students involved in the activities to promote an entrepreneurial culture across the organisation? Who participates and who does not? Is there a balanced engagement with the agenda across all the missions of the HEI?
  • Skills assessment and competence audit – What are the institutional development needs for developing and implementing the entrepreneurial agenda? Do staff have the skills to design / deliver / develop entrepreneurship activities (including courses); develop entrepreneurial mindsets, skills and knowledge; engage with external stakeholders; set up and support new business startups; lead on developing new ideas in the HEI; bring in funding from the external environment; set up new activities for other staff and students to support entrepreneurial intentions?
  • Income structure and allocation of funding: What opportunities are there for raising revenue from non-fee and public sources for the entrepreneurial and innovative agenda? Is resource allocation competitive? Are criteria regularly assessed for alignment with the entrepreneurial objectives set out in the agenda?
  • Recruitment, promotion, incentives: Are entrepreneurial individuals and involvement in entrepreneurship activities taken into consideration for recruitment and promotion? Are external stakeholders present and what are their levels of engagement and how does this influence the entrepreneurial agenda? What are the incentives and rewards for students and staff to engage in knowledge exchange activities and how is the impact of these activities measured?
  • Entrepreneurial teach and learning and business support: Is entrepreneurship education is available in the higher education institution and to whom it is offered? How do students find out about non-mandatory entrepreneurship education activities? Is entrepreneurship education offered in undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate studies? Are there interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education activities? Are these open to all students? To whom - staff and/or students – and what range of business start-up and development support opportunities are offered?

All monitoring and reviewing of the impact of an entrepreneurial agenda is only useful if the evidence collected can be used as a tool for reflection which feeds into the future planning and implementation of entrepreneurial activities within the HEI.

  • Guidance notes