Universities to Embrace Enterprise
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Date: 21 Nov 2008
Around 100,000 students and graduates will get the chance to develop
world-class skills as entrepreneurs and business leaders with the launch of the
first University Enterprise Networks (UEN).
Shriti Vadera, Minister for Economic Competitiveness and Small Business
launched the Networks at a reception at the Microsoft Offices in London. The
launch took place on (Thursday 20 November) Social Enterprise Day - part of
Global Entrepreneurship week.
The Networks are the first of their kind and will focus on the areas of
science, technology, engineering, maths (STEM), innovation and the nuclear
sector. The networks will be managed by the National Council for Graduate
The UENs will aim to establish a culture of enterprise in universities by
providing training, advice and encouragement to students and graduates who want
to develop their business ideas or wish to become innovative employees. Each
network will be further supported by sponsorship from privately owned companies
and Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). This will give students first hand
experience of enterprising workplaces.
The UENs follow on from a commitment made by the Government in its Enterprise
Strategy to further promote and support the development of enterprise.
Shriti Vadera, Minister for Economic Competitiveness and Small Business,
"Making graduates more business savvy and entrepreneurial is essential to
Britain's long term competitiveness.
"I would like to see more University Enterprise Networks between businesses
and investors to encourage this".
David Lammy, Minister of State for Higher Education said:
"We need stronger links between business and higher education so that we can
make full use of the expertise and talents within our universities and colleges.
"University Enterprise Networks are a new kind of partnership that will
nurture the enterprise skills and entrepreneurial spirit of tomorrow's business
leaders, while also helping universities engage more closely with the needs of
Ian Robertson, Chief Executive of the National Council for Graduate
"The NCGE welcomes the commitment from companies, RDAs and universities in
working with us to build the first University Enterprise Networks announced
"These networks will act as a catalyst for closer engagement between
business, universities and the public sector, to respond to industry needs and
contribute to UK competitiveness."
Stephen Uden, Microsoft UK's Head of Skills and Economic Affairs added:
"We are looking at a long period of economic uncertainty. That doesn't mean
that business doesn't go on, or that there won't be opportunities for those who
can take advantage of them. What it does mean though is that those leaving
university need to have the right skills to succeed".
"Nearly half (48%) of the undergraduates we surveyed would consider starting
their own business. That's great, as small businesses are the engine room of the
economy, and also where many of the many of the most innovative ideas come from.
This announcement and the STEM network represent good progress in starting to
change that view."
1. The three University Enterprise Networks (UENs) which are announced today
are the STEM, Innovation, and Nuclear networks:
* The STEM UEN will be led by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA)
in collaboration with the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and
sponsored by Microsoft and other major companies. The first universities to
express their commitment in principle are the universities of Cambridge,
Cranfield, Hertfordshire, Oxford, Reading, and Southampton. SEEDA and EEDA will
concentrate on technology based, high growth enterprises.
* Innovation UEN will be led by Advantage West Midlands, and supported by
sponsored by HP's MAEI (Micro Enterprise Acceleration Institute), BT, and CISCO,
with Coventry University. The UEN will focus on helping students understand how
Web-based Technologies can be exploited in the creation of new business ideas,
and in helping small businesses collaborate with large co-operates in the
development and launch of new products in the context of the "market".
* Nuclear UEN will be led by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA),
and supported by Westinghouse UK. The first university to sign up to the network
is the University of Central Lancashire. The Nuclear UEN will play a major role
in helping graduates acquire the innovative skills that companies across the
breadth of the nuclear sector seek.
* A further (fourth) network will be launched early in the New Year - The
Manufacturing UEN. Led by the North West Development Agency (NWDA), it will
focus on "Advanced Manufacturing". The following universities have expressed
interest in taking part: Manchester, Salford, Lancaster, Bolton, Liverpool John
Moores, and Central Lancashire.
2. The NCGE's role will be to set up and manage the UENs in order that they
create the right conditions for better, more responsive collaboration. The UENs
will also ensure more students and graduates acquire the skills for enterprise
and entrepreneurship they need to achieve business growth, whether as employees
or in starting and running their own businesses.
3. Pam Alexander, Chief Executive of SEEDA, speaking on behalf of the
Regional Development Agencies involved in the UENs said: "Regional Development
Agencies are delighted to be involved in developing these exciting new
University Enterprise Networks, which complement our important work to link
universities and businesses and create the skills needed to emerge from the
economic downturn stronger and better able to compete globally. Major corporate
businesses will be right at the heart of designing and delivering course work
and activities to develop both the graduate entrepreneurs and the enterprising
graduates needed for their future success."
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-11-24 11:13:13 in Business Articles