New enterprise institute to inspire entrepreneurs of the future

Issue date: 31 July 2018

A pioneering institute to inspire the UK's next generation of entrepreneurs and shape national education policy on enterprise skills has been launched.

The Aldridge Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship will develop innovative approaches to the teaching and learning of enterprise skills, and act as a national think tank lobbying government on how enterprise education can transform students' futures and boost the economy.

UWE Bristol has formed a partnership with the Aldridge Foundation to run the institute, and Professor Gurpreet Jagpal has been appointed director of the institute, which has been established with an investment of £1.5 million.

Professor Jagpal, who has joined from London South Bank University, said the institute would change the face of education in the UK by transforming thinking on teaching and learning across schools, colleges and universities.

He said: “To solve the biggest challenges the world is facing, we need to think about educating our young people differently and breaking away from traditional teaching models. Enterprise education isn't simply about creating the entrepreneurs of the future; it is focused on developing an enterprising mindset which gives students exposure to problem solving, risk taking and lateral thinking. This approach can equip the next generation of students with an enterprising mindset for life, for careers that don't yet exist.

“The institute is truly ambitious in its goals and has the potential to have an enormous impact on the University and Aldridge students, the wider education sector, communities and industry. There's real excitement around this project and I cannot wait to get started.”

Made up of a team of researchers and lecturers, the institute is based at the University's new £55 million Bristol Business School building. Academics from across the Faculty of Business and Law will collaborate with the institute to strengthen its impact.

The institute will cement UWE Bristol's position as a leading university for enterprise and entrepreneurship, building on the success of innovative degree programmes such as Team Entrepreneurship, its focus on employability, and investment in initiatives and facilities to support start ups and SMEs including Launch Space and Future Space. It will see enterprise embedded in the curriculum of all the University's programmes by 2021, students encouraged to start their own business ventures on campus and world-class research produced to demonstrate the positive impact of enterprise education on young people.

Donna Whitehead, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School, said: “I'm delighted to be launching a new research institute in partnership with the Aldridge Foundation. It will not only shape the future of education policy, by changing thinking on how people teach and learn, but will bring huge benefits to our students and graduates. More student entrepreneurs will be supported to launch their own business enterprises - we expect to see these springing up across our campuses in the coming years as the institute develops. Those showing promise will be supported beyond graduation through our incubator programmes for start ups.

“We're setting our sights high and believe the institute will become the voice of enterprise and entrepreneurship in the UK, influencing national policy and leading the way in its approach.”

The Aldridge Foundation is a charity launched by Sir Rod Aldridge, founder of Capita, in 2006 to create social change and community regeneration opportunities through helping young people to develop enterprising skills and supporting entrepreneurship. It developed a network of sponsored schools, predominantly in communities with levels of high unemployment and income deprivation, which have a focus on developing enterprise skills alongside academic results. In 2016 it established Aldridge Education as a multi-academy trust which is now responsible for the performance of the schools. The institute will pilot teacher training on the best approaches to enterprise education at Aldridge schools, while Aldridge students will have the opportunity to meet undergraduate entrepreneurs at UWE Bristol through a summer school initiative. The vision for the institute is to influence the development of enterprising skills within all schools nationally.

Sir Rod said: “Aldridge and the Bristol Business School at UWE Bristol share very similar vison and values. We have a collective focus on employability and tackling the issues around social exclusion. On developing innovative, evidence-based approaches to embedding enterprising skills in teaching and learning. I believe this is a really exciting development for UK students, educators and UK PLC.”

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