By Claire West
A survey of enterprise and entrepreneurship in English universities has been published today by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE). With a 92% response rate the survey of 126 institutions represents 1.8million students. The results are compared with those from the last survey which was carried out in 2007. This bi-annual survey by NCGE shows that since 2007:
· Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have become more enterprising with most institutions now committed to it through their mission statements
· The student engagement rate in enterprise and entrepreneurship has risen by nearly 50%
· The level of start-ups has increased to an average of 28 per HEI, representing an increase of 27%
These results were achieved despite the fact that there was no additional public funding for this activity over the period. However NCGE has been successful in securing funding from Santander, Serco and HSBC for a number of different initiatives that support, enterprise and entrepreneurship in higher education.
Ian Robertson, CEO of NCGE explained, “The ongoing public investment is having a positive impact and this is also being translated into increased levels of start-up. However there clearly remains a high dependency on public funding and with RDA funds unlikely to be available HEIs will need to seek entrepreneurial solutions to resourcing future provision if growth is to be maintained.”
The survey’s publication follows last night’s 2010 Times Higher Education (THE) Entrepreneurial University of the Year award which was won by the University of Hertfordshire at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The Award is recognition of higher education excellence in demonstrating a strong entrepreneurial culture. Now in its third year it is designed and sponsored by NCGE. Previous winners were the University of Nottingham (2008/09), and Queen’s University Belfast (2009/10).
David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science said, “The higher education sector is entering a period of change — offering both opportunities and challenges for those who manage our universities.
The finalists of the 2010 THE Entrepreneurial University of the Year Award, sponsored by NCGE, are clear examples of those institutions achieving great outcomes for their staff, students and graduates. They are an inspiration to others across the sector."
Ian Robertson highlighted the challenges ahead; “Although the Award finalists are inspirational, and the results of the survey are really encouraging, we need to secure more student engagement from areas other than business and management. That is the only way we can increase the student engagement rates to our target of 30% of all students over the next few years.”