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Research success for UWTSD

A Welsh university has cemented its place as a global leader in the research and development of enterprise education

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) in Swansea, Wales will become home to the globally approved International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development (IICED).

IICED, based at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, will be an international focal point which brings together a distinguished group of international experts in entrepreneurial education to engage in high-level discussions and to consider global perspectives that can impact, or have impacted, on policy-making. The Institute’s aim is to inform international best practice in enterprise, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial teaching, learning and evaluation.

UWTSD has taken a global lead on innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship education. It has challenged many theories of business education and informed the international entrepreneurial community on approaches for engaging and enhancing creativity in an enterprise context. The University has spearheaded international efforts to find new ways of supporting students and to equip them for the 21st Century working environment, where flexibility and adaptability will be key skills.

As a result of its work in this field, UWTSD has become one of the best higher education institutions in the country for producing successful graduate start-up businesses.

Earlier this year the University contributed to a major UK Government report, on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Micro Businesses, which recognised the key role entrepreneurs play in the drive for growth, and which looked at the effectiveness of our education system in supporting our entrepreneurs – from the age of 4 to 44 and beyond.

The United Nations’ Chief of Entrepreneurship, Fiorina Mugione, recently chose UWTSD to support the UN’s Empretec programme, which inspires entrepreneurs in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

The University’s track record involves significant contributions to major reports relating to enterprise and entrepreneurship education across the UK. This included The Wilson Review of Business-University Collaboration and the Quality Assurance Agency’s (QAA) Guidelines for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education, which UWTSD chaired.

QAA is the standard-setting body for all UK university education, but as the guidance is a world first it is being referenced by educators from as far afield as New Zealand and Australia. The European Commission has referenced the work and used it to support new developments in teacher training right across Europe. It is this kind of engagement that has engendered global interest.

Professor Radmil Polenakovikj, from the National Centre for Development of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Learning in Macedonia, said: “Global problems need an international perspective, but good practices can also be learned from the experiences of universities like UWTSD. Here in Macedonia, our government has adopted some of their initiatives and are adapting them to suit our local circumstances.

“We need strong international leadership and institutions where global knowledge is collated and disseminated. This is the reason why I wholeheartedly support the development of the International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development at UWTSD.”

UWTSD also developed the first University-accredited enterprise and entrepreneurship-focused teacher training provision for school teachers, in collaboration with Welsh Government and other educational partners in 2011. The new approaches they devised, and in particular the learning outcomes and goals, were subsequently adopted by the European Commission’s Acknowledging and Developing Entrepreneurial Teacher Training (ADEPTT) project.

When interviewed in Swansea recently, the UN’s Chief of Entrepreneurship Fiorina Mugione said: “UWTSD in Swansea has developed exciting initiatives and brought to light new kinds of thinking that advance both entrepreneurship policies and economic development strategies worldwide. The creation of the new International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development is therefore a logical Step for UWTSD – to enhance knowledge sharing, collaboration and benchmarking of standards with international networks. The engaged and committed leadership, of the University, together with the new Institute will have a powerful multiplier effect across the world.”

Professor Andy Penaluna has led the University’s research work and has become IICED Director. He said: “The University is really on the global map. What has driven us is that we care about our students and their futures. They, in turn, have helped us to understand the challenges they face after graduation. The fact that the United Nations and the European Commission recognise UWTSD as world leading is down to the simple fact that we listen to our past students.”

Colin Jones of the University of Tasmania, one of the new Visiting Professors at UWTSD said: “The emergence of the International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development is a logical extension to the extraordinary leadership and vision shown by Professor Andy Penaluna in Swansea. Entrepreneurship education increasingly matters in a world where innovation and creativity are desired qualities that our graduates must demonstrate. The entrepreneurship education world stands ready to ensure the success of this timely initiative.”

Kelly Smith, a Westminster Government advisor and UWTSD Visiting Professor, said: “I’m proud to be associated with the International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development and look forward to working with Professor Andy Penaluna and the international enterprise and entrepreneurship education community to contribute to this vital area of research and policy development.”

The first IICED event will be a global summit in Swansea on 25 and 26 June, entitled ‘Practice into Policy: A Global Summit of Entrepreneurial Educators’.