My Enterprising Week 6- Welcome Back to School.

Having recharged the batteries over the summer, next week sees the start of a new academic year in most UK Universities.

I have had the pleasure to work with academics over the summer planning and preparing for another busy year of Young Enterprise Start Up Programme, and ill directly be supporting ten Universities over the coming nine months. This will culminate in one start up student business travelling to Athens to attend the European Enterprise Challenge 2020, and I cannot wait for this.

Its set to be an incredibly busy period but one which I am really looking forward to. One University that I am hoping to begin work with in the coming months is the brand-new University Academy 92, inspired by the Manchester United Class of 92 footballers. I had the pleasure of a tour this week and what an impressive venue, the facilities look fantastic, sadly I never got to meet the ex-captain of my football team Phil Neville, maybe later in the year!

The summer has been a busy period with me continuing to slowly but surely make pace with my master’s degree from Edinburgh Napier University, the summer saw me successfully complete the Leadership, Strategy and Innovation module so I am now living all things ‘emotional intelligence’! The next module is Business, Economics and Finance in a Global Economy so if macroeconomics is your thing please do shout up, I need the help.

Some interesting topics that I have spotted over the summer included a powerful report from the Education and Employers charity, highlighting the importance, and importantly defining what is meant by ‘meaningful encounters’ when discussing the young peoples encounters with the world of work. You can view the full report here, I found it interesting to try and gage the impact the programme I run is making on maximising the encounters which I try to provide students with. I think its always useful to continually self-evaluate your own work and impact.

You will know that I enjoy podcasts and I recently found one which I think you may like to listen to. It comes from a colleague I have worked with many times over several years from Liverpool John Moores University, Emma Robinson. It’s an enjoyable listen of the journey of LJMU’s ‘Centre for Entrepreneurship’ history, one, which in our own small way I like to think we assisted many years ago. Take a listen, it’s a fascinating 20-minute talk.

Some other interesting posts and articles that I have enjoyed over the summer include:

Finding Founder Fit- A blog post from Dave Jarman, an academic from Bristol University who has written an interesting piece about how founders of new business can often find themselves, following business pivots feeling they may no longer the best person to run the company they founded.

This I found interesting and it could be something you would like to read. It’s an expression that I have heard before, once the business (often through necessity) changes its position from its original conception the founder finds themselves questioning their future position. You can find the link here.

Dave, who I don’t know but follow on Twitter also tweeted from the recent #IEEC2019 something I really liked, I’ll leave it without comment but look below and let me know your thoughts. Let’s just say I think he has a point.

Entrepreneur Aimee Bateman produced an article I enjoyed reading ‘From Fundraising to Friendships’. If you are a would be founder, this is a great article to read. It talks about raising investment, losing friends and how founding isn’t always the best way to get rich. An honest and interesting read I would recommend to any student or potential founder looking to begin their entrepreneurial journey. You can find the link here.

Finally, best of luck to a fantastic student that I worked with during the last academic year- Shankar Jolata from Manchester Met University. Shankar was awarded Young Enterprise Start Up Student of the Year in 2019 and has now been shortlisted for IOEE Enterprising Learner of the Year hosted by the House of Lords on October 3rd. Best of luck Shankar, you deserve this!

Thanks for the support and keep up to date with my Enterprising journey throughout 2019/20.

My Enterprising Week 5- Welcome to Norway- Skål!

Waiting for the results to come in, at #JAEEC19, Oslo, Norway.

If you are wondering what ‘Skål’ means, it’s a toast, or cheers in Norwegian! I found myself saying this again and again over the last week as I spent a wonderful four days in the Norwegian capital of Oslo, as part of the Junior Achievement European Enterprise Challenge 2019, see #JAEEC19 on Twitter for a full list of posts.

What a fabulous time and I was hugely proud to assist the UK Young Enterprise representatives from University of Chester- The Goat Tree, a co-operative retailing Argon oil and setting up educational programmes within Morocco to help with Literacy and Numeracy.

The whole experience was truly memorable as I was able to spend time with students and educators from fifteen other European countries sharing ideas and knowledge around Enterprise Education. This time is invaluable, and I truly believe allows one to gain so much in a short period of time, just by having conversations and listening to how others approach their work.

The competing teams from around Europe for this years #JAEEC19

All the students from the competing teams around Europe I know will never forget this experience and we were able to spend time in fantastic venues such as BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo Science Park, Oslo City Hall and the most beautiful residential house I have perhaps ever visited Villa Smedbråten, home to one of the judges!

The team from the UK competed with huge amounts of passion and no shortage of skill and social innovation, indeed they came runner up in a Societal Sector Award, which from 17000 starting students back in September is some achievement. The overall winner however came from the host country of Norway- a company called Artifish, which is dedicated to improving the aquaculture industry. The company’s solution is based on the training of cleaner fish, using its own-designed training system EDDI (Educational Digital Intelligence) – take a look at the website and you can see the standard that was on show, really quite breath-taking!

Artifish from Norway, a worthy winner!

In summary, a wonderful few days in some beautiful settings with colleagues that although I see only once per year, we continue to build increasingly close connections whenever we have time together. I only wonder why some people see closer connectivity with Europe as something not to celebrate, by taking some time to spend with likeminded people from around the continent you appreciate just what being part of a wider European family is all about. Politics over…

A short video of some of what I enjoyed whilst in Oslo!

In other news since I last blogged, I was thrilled to see one of my favourite Universities for Enterprise, Manchester Met University heavily featured in a recent article within the Think Enterprise magazine produced by the Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurs.

This article discusses how the University through Enterprise Education, including much of the work I lead upon is developing Societal and Environmental Responsible Graduates. You can look at the full article here, but it re-emphasises that which I am currently studying myself that People and Planet are now truly as equal with Profit, and never has this been more apparent than by working with student entrepreneurs who continue to put Societal needs at the forefront of their start-ups.

An article by David Taylor of Manchester Met University features in the Think Enterprise Magazine, IOEE

I also noticed some interesting articles that you may want to read from both a student and enterprise educator perspective.

Firstly for students who have an entrepreneurially spirit and want to find out more about freelancing, take a look at the ‘Freelancing while you’re at University’ article from Freelance UK, I really enjoyed this simple article and there are some smart links that I think I should action myself, it talks about your personal website acting as a showcase!

For educators I return to one of my favourite sources of inspiration Teaching and their ‘Recommended Tools for Teaching Entrepreneurship’ article. I say this regularly, but the quality and quantity of the free content distributed by these guys I find superb. It could well be placed behind some form of paywall but its open and accessible, do visit if you get opportunity.

Finally a gentleman I follow on Twitter and I know from Enterprise Educating colleagues as a globally respected educator in the sector called Colin Jones has tweeted for others to contact him if they would like to contribute any thoughts to a forthcoming book he is writing ‘On becoming an Entrepreneurship Educator’. Of those who enjoy my blog I am sure this would be something you might be interested to find out more about.

Thanks for the support, please do share my blog if you find it interesting and for now- Skål!

My Enterprising Week 3- Reflection and Observation

This week has been an opportunity, after the previous hectic fortnight to take in some reading and observation around my world of Enterprise Education.

Before I begin, and to blow my own trumpet, as somebody who hadn’t always fully excelled in academia, I was thrilled this week to receive my first ever Distinction within my MSc, Innovation Management Module.

I am studying this Degree with Edinburgh Napier University, and it was a massive boost to score 80% on this module, coupled with my previous module narrow miss of 69% (70% needed for Distinction, that’s so harsh isn’t it…) from New Venture Planning, this shows my marks are moving in the right direction. It was hugely satisfying to see this result, and the hard work is paying off, completing this Degree with a full-time job and young family hasn’t been easy!

Outside of my own personal work, I have mentioned in previous posts about some of the positive feedback which had come from the recent Young Enterprise UK Start Up Final which I project managed.

Some colleagues from attending institutes on Social Media this week posted pictures of feedback from their own students. This was wonderful to read, that the students value their work and efforts in such high regard. Its never easy working in education but this type of feedback does give you the belief that we do what we do for the right reasons. Look at the comments, how fantastic is that.

A hand written letter from student to a colleague I work alongside from Loughborough College following her Start-Up experience.
A note of thanks from a student at Grimsby Institute to their Ented teacher describing their Start-Up experience. The last sentence seems to sum it up for me.

There has also been this week several observations about opportunities for Entrepreneurial students to involve themselves with, I like to keep on top of these as its value added we can give to our students that we work with.

I often talk about trying to be ‘giving’ with the sharing of information. Look at the Twitter post from a gentleman called Juan Felipe Campos from UC Berkley who has provided a link to his own Google Drive folder of Start Up Resources. I think this is brilliant, it isn’t somebody packaging them up and trying to sell them, its simply the sharing of knowledge. You can find the direct links by checking Juan out on LinkedIn.

I am sure most people reading are fully versed with the Strategyzer website, you will know their love for all things Business Canvas and Lean Start Up. This week I noticed a nice simple table with their thoughts on the key differences between the Business Plan and Business Models. This snapshot is useful, and I think I will include it within a slide for an upcoming Ented session I am running with University of Liverpool MSc International students.

An interesting app which has been launched this week by Intrinsic EU. It claims to be the first European app ever to monitor the entrepreneurial mindset in higher education students, its now ready for testing. I had a quick look at this, and it may well be something you would like to find out more about. You can find more information below.

Another really fabulous website launch that Enterprise Educators and students should take a look at this week is Disciplined I am sure many of you will follow Bill Aulet and will have read his books, this website looks brilliant and will take me some time to run though, its packed with resource, frameworks and video content, its looks really very good indeed. Do take a visit, it could well enhance teaching and learning in the field.

In the spirit of sharing information, if you are a very early start-up or with an existing but not yet trading business there looks to be a great opportunity with Baldwins Kickstart Competition. There are prizes of several thousand pounds available to UK Start-up students aged 18-25. You have until August to get your application in, this could be hugely useful to share with students who you think could be at suitable and what a great financial incentive to move a business to its next level.

Finally, this week I follow a gentleman called Martin Lackeus closely on Twitter. Martin is a Researcher in Entrepreneurial Education at Chalmers University in Sweden. I love his tweets and he provided me with lots to think about. Have a look below at some of Martin’s comments regarding Intrepreneurship and the various definitions around this interesting topic. Intrepreneurship is an area I want to study further, as I believe the students, I am working with can develop this mindset via the programme I run. The definition, however, hasn’t always been easy to explain so I found this most interesting, there are also a selection of books to accompany if you have an interest in Intrepreneurship.

So, that’s my Enterprising Week. Its been enjoyable and always things to read, watch and visit. Thank you for continued support of the Blog. I look forward to writing every week and please do share the link with other educators and students that you think could benefit from hopefully, having a digestible, weekly update of just some of the things going on in the sector. See you next time.

My Enterprising Week 2- Days like this are why we do what we do.

Students from Liverpool Hope University attending Young Enterprise Start Up Final 2019
Video to accompany blog post.

Well this has been some week. Normally I wouldn’t overly focus on my own personal work as I want to share my thoughts on that which is going on around me, but this week I will concentrate the majority of my blog post on the Young Enterprise UK Start Up Final which I led on Wednesday.

I have worked on this project for several years and its sometimes been difficult as to bring Colleges and Universities on board with Enterprise Education. It takes time and perseverance to make the connection and embed our programme into curriculum areas. It also requires generating the confidence of tutors that you know what you are doing and can add value to their work.

This week I led an event at Chessington World of Adventures whereby students from all over the UK came together to compete for The Overall Start Up Company of the Year, and what a wonderful event it was. A company called The Goat Tree from University of Chester, a small co-operative selling Moroccan Argon oil and using profits to generate projects commissioning tutors to teacher traditional Berber women how to read and write were declared the winners, and will now go forward to compete against European counterparts next month in Oslo. What a story for that small group of two students- amazing!

Young Enterprise UK 2019 Start Up Winners- The Goat Tree from University of Chester

I have been with the Young Enterprise organisation for a long time; however those days do re-invigorate you and make you feel proud of your work, and that you genuinely are making a difference to young people. As well as the award winners its actually some of the personal stories you come across which make you feel very humble, and some of the feedback on social media post event makes you consider the journey of some of our students that perhaps have had challenging times. I hope the photographs and video gives you some idea of what I mean.

A Social Media post from a tutor at Grimsby Institute describing his feelings after watching his team perform.
A University of Bolton student describing how Ented has helped him improve his confidence

I haven’t had a great deal of time to do much reading over the last seven days, however, I have for some time been strongly pushing the notion that Enterprise Education doesn’t have to belong only within the Business School. I was really pleased this week to kick off a project which will formally start in September at the University of Liverpool, working through Ented to support Level 5 and 6 Psychology students. This coming year as well as many Business Schools ill also be working with Sports Science and Digital Media, alongside the Psychology School, so things do appear to be slowly turning and this is hugely encouraging.

Lecture one for a new ented project with University of Liverpool Psychology School

This feeling was further demonstrated by a report I saw from the ICA-Edu Colloquium 2019 entitled ‘Let the entrepreneurial genie out of the bottle! How will we stimulate the nascent entrepreneurial skills of our students?’. This again presses home that belief that ented is becoming a more University wide approach and not simply the domain of the Business School.

It probably wouldn’t be a normal week if I didn’t share some link from Teaching They produce such consistently good content and this week is no exception. Take a look at the article ‘Textbooks Don’t Work’, it builds on the foundation belief of David Goobler ‘for most students, we need to shift our focus from what it is we say to what it is they do.’  I couldn’t agree more with that statement, it’s a great article and well worth a read, do share your thoughts.

Finally, from me this week, a resource I really like Fiverr, has several new courses available for freelancers and entrepreneurs. These seem to have been very recently released so I plan to examine these in more detail over the coming weeks. Take a look on the link below:

So that’s it for this week, a lot of images, video and links to share with you. I hope you enjoyed reading and see you next week. Do give the post a share or like on Social Media, I do really appreciate the support and hope the content keeps you interested!


My Enterprising Week 1- Being Busy Doing the things you love.

Accompanying YouTube Video to this post

My Enterprising Week 1

When I began this blog, I wanted to as well as raising thoughts on different aspects of Enterprise Education and Entrepreneurship use my blog as an aid memoir for my own experiences. Do you ever have one of those weeks whereby you feel so much information has entered your brain? Its been an incredibly busy week, so here, in no real order are some of the things which I have noticed over the last seven days in the world of all thing’s Enterprise!

Firstly, last week I submitted my final report for the unit ‘Managing Innovation’ on my MSc Business and Entrepreneurship Degree with Edinburgh Napier University. I have really enjoyed the module and am hoping to score well; I will find out in just under three weeks’ time the results. My report looked at the innovative processes used by British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International in respect to the changing nature of tobacco consumption. It was interesting to study these two giant organisations and hope it will be enjoyable for my tutors to read.

I also had a trip to Chessington World of Adventures as part of my final preparations for an event I am running next week- the Young Enterprise UK Start Up Final- this should be great fun and there are Universities from all over the UK competing to reach the European Final later next month. Chessington have been great to work with and its an inspiring, different venue- something I am keen on for my events- quirky is good! I will post much more about this next week.

Chessington World of Adventures, venue for Young Enterprise UK Start Up Final

Possibly the highlight of my week however was attending a North West schools based enterprise event, although I have been part of literally hundreds of these, when you chat to the young people and they give you their account of how they feel from their involvement has benefited them through Ented it does make you reconfirm the reason why you continue to feel passionate about all of this. Take a listen to some inspiring students who are so passionate about their venture and what they have created, for 16 year old’s to do this, I find to be hugely rewarding.

Students talking about their Young Enterprise Experience at 2019 North West Company Programme Final at University of Lancaster

I also signed up to a couple of opportunities this week which are coming up over the next month- do have a look if they are something you would like to get involved with and both are free!

The first is an online webinar course to be held on 22nd May by the website. This is a virtual workshop regarding ‘4 steps to more engagement’ when teaching entrepreneurship. I really love this website, its so informative and innovative in its thinking- I am looking forward to hearing ideas that I can bring back into my teaching and delivery. You can sign up here if you would like to take part.

The second is an event taking place at University of Buckingham on 28th June- this is EntFest, part of the Peter Jones Foundation. I attended this last year and there were some great workshops and talks, I’ll look to get lots of footage to bring back to the site post event, maybe a picture with Mr Jones to boot! If you would like to attend the link is here.

Finally, three documents / articles to look out for that I found interesting:

Why Europe Matters- Young People’s Feelings about the future. This was an interesting study about those that had and had not partaken in Ented of various forms. One of the findings included those students who have participated in Ented had a better grasp of the advantages of European Integration and would be more willing to work abroad. Let’s hope those opportunities remain open to ALL the young people of Europe. You can see the full study report here.

Building on some of the thoughts I had in a recent post regarding social division within those students competing in Enterprise competitions, there was a respected paper released from the recent European Council Small Business and Entrepreneurship ‘How Social Origins Predict Individual Entrepreneurial Orientation’. You can see an overview of this paper below.

Finally, a tweet and story from FT journalist Sarah O’Connor with the title ‘Can we please stop with this notion that state school kids are being held back by their lack of polish and confidence’. I commented; I would love to hear your thoughts.

And breathe. See you next week.

Ps- if you are on Facebook the social media page for that is now up and running- take a look!

Enterprise Competitions- Winners and Losers. I need some help.

Accompanying Podcast / YouTube Video

Competitions which ultimately provide a ‘winner’ have been a mainstay of Enterprise Education within the UK and further afield for many years. The premise being that the nature of competition will mimic the future world of the entrepreneur battling to get his or her concept to the front of the queue for consumers. If I win, people must love it!

But are competitions of this type fair? There is an argument to say that those who participate will benefit from the skills and experiences of others around them, that they will be motivated by the carrot of success and the ‘win’, that the motivation comes from the goal of success. However, for every winner of a competition there are of course those that don’t ‘win’, I don’t want to call them losers.  

The skills and experiences one can generate by being part of a competition has undoubted advantages, and to say that those that don’t win, haven’t learnt would be wrong. However, what is the impact on those non winners going forward? For those who don’t experience the glory of be named the winner can that experience have a negative impact and make those students feel less worthy or less likely to engage with Enterprise Education in the future? Could we be perversely be turning students away from enterprise and business start-up?

I work with a great many University students from a wide variety of backgrounds, many students coming from backgrounds where perhaps attending University isn’t the ‘norm’. For some of these students the way that competitions are often judged maybe through formal presentation or pitch, for those students from challenging upbringings their confidence can be a barrier to success, not their ideas.

If success is often determined through confidence, and that confidence has come from a person’s upbringing and previous positive experience, is the playing field level, within such competitions for those that haven’t had that luxury? Indeed, are we increasing the social divide by pitching students against each other when their journeys could be hugely different and reinforcing that which has gone before, again, thus further embedding the ‘winners’ versus the ‘losers’.

I don’t have the answer to this question.

I am actively looking at ways in which the competitions I manage consider the journey as well as the polished conclusion. I would be interested to hear other thoughts upon this, what can we do to make Enterprise competition a fairer space to all? I understand the realities are, life chances are very different, and indeed it’s not fair. To suggest we can change this path with a simple competition is probably naïve, however, I want to challenge myself to be creative and look for other ways to judge success.

This blog post could perhaps move into many areas, those such as University League Tables and other forms of listings or rank, but that’s for another day.

My goal is to get creative and find new ways in which my competitions consider the full journey rather than simply the end shiny polished performance. I think we have a duty to those students to do this. Can you help me?

MOOC’s for the Inquisitive Entrepreneur

There is little doubt that for many students the cost of education can be problematic. With course fees, accommodation and living costs amongst but a few factors to consider, many students will lean heavily on their Student Loans and numerous part time jobs to see themselves through University.

This blog post however will look at some organisations that I absolutely love, and the reason being they offer short specific courses created by Universities often at no cost at all. These courses are often referred to as MOOC’s or Massive Open Online Course for its full title.

What are the benefits of studying a MOOC? Well, there are literally hundreds of topics of which you can study, and entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviours seem to be a very popular area, which is great if you are reading this blog!

The study is all completed online, and many are available for you to access at any time of your choosing. Others follow a more structured path and perhaps set specific tasks to complete on a week by week basis. As stated, MOOC’s tend to be free in terms of accessing the learning materials. Sometimes, if you want a statement of completion or participation of the learning there is a charge for this, however, this is optional if you wish to obtain this or not.

Many of the MOOC’s I have seen and studied are delivered by Universities from the UK and the wider world. This is also advantageous as a learner if studying via a University from outside the UK, its interesting to be able to see subtle differences in the learning and thinking of others. The courses are led by academics from the University provider and in my experience tend to last between 2-16 weeks in duration, study can be anything from around 2-10 hours per week depending on the course materials.

Open access learning has never been more obtainable and readily available for those who choose to engage. From its early ambition of providing ‘taster’ courses for those students looking to explore future learning options, it seems to me the MOOC is now tailored to students who want to further broaden their knowledge from alternative providers. The MOOC allows the inquisitive student to deep further into their specific area of interest. Indeed for non students the MOOC now appears to be an option favoured by employers as an option of CPD training for employees.

If you are studying or teaching Entrepreneurship in University, you can further develop your skills or just find out what is going on elsewhere by looking at some of the following providers and their courses:


Offers a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life. Click on the image below to access free courses from FutureLearn.

FutureLearn Limited

There are a huge number of entrepreneurial related short courses, programmes and even a Degree ranging from topics such as Measuring Entrepreneurial Impact, Open Innovation and Teaching Entrepreneurial Thinking.


100% online learning from the world’s best universities and companies. Over 140 courses from Beginner to Advanced level including Entrepreneurship, Innovation Management, Business Modelling and Product Development.

OpenLearn- Free Learning from the Open University

Several entrepreneurial courses available from Level 1 to Level 3 including Entrepreneurial Behaviours, Liquidity Management and Entrepreneurial Impression.

There are also many paid for providers where you can access quality online Entrepreneurship courses and these are certainly worth exploring, they include:


DisrupTeK shows you how to grow your idea for a technological innovation into an entrepreneurial opportunity to be proud of.


Over 100,000 online video courses with new additions published each month


Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX is an online learning destination offering high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere.

So, there you go, a wide variety of resource available to the entrepreneurially inquisitive student. You may well know of others, if so, please do share.

Can MOOC’s replace traditional learning? In my mind the answer is no, standalone MOOC’s generally don’t provide the user with formal academic credits, so their use in this respect is limited. However a MOOC can be a great way to dig further into topic areas of entrepreneurship education that you enjoy and have interest in. A MOOC isn’t a replacement for traditional study, if this be online or offline, but it can be a useful additional tool to enable you to hear another voice and take on another opinion without eating up the limited student budget.

Entrepreneurial Students, Get Networking

You can find the accompanying podcast to this post here.

One of the most important pieces of advice I give to prospective student entrepreneurs is the importance of networking. For the young entrepreneur starting on their journey, the path can be somewhat lonely, especially if the early venture involves only themselves. Networking both online and offline can allow us to build the portfolio of people we know, who we can trust and who can help our business in the future. Don’t forget however, this ‘can they help’ should work both ways when building a successful relationship. How can you help them?

Having the correct relationships can allow you to build your business faster and in a more constructive manner. Finding the connection, however, is only the start of what networking is all about. It takes time to nurture and strengthen relationships so they can prosper and produce desired results.

For the would-be entrepreneur, especially if one is young the current network available may amount to friends and family, possibly academic tutors or those who you have worked with in part time positions. This is an excellent stating position and that trusted relationship you have with those people will likely allow you to gain access to additional networks through your original connections. Never be afraid to ask a trusted connection if they know somebody that could help or offer advice.

This said, to build a successful business requires much more expertise than is likely you will have immediate access to. Your network ideally should be full of experienced professionals and those beginning their journey who hold diverse units of knowledge and skills from various sectors. If you are running a retail coffee unit for example, we need more than people alongside us who love and live coffee!

Networks will take many forms, today we connect via social media to many thousands of people, however this network is very connection based rather than at any deeper level, so to build true relationships one must actively engage rather than simply observe. I use the LinkedIn platform to regularly to share my own thoughts and views, however, remember to engage with others is to show interest and begin to be part of new conversations, it is this engagement that will lead to trust, understanding and deepen business relationships.

To build local connections you can start with your own regional business community which depending on where you are based maybe established or fledging. Simple Google searches will allow you to find out locally what is going on in your area and how you can get involved. My experience is that established networking groups love ‘new blood’ and as the aspiring student entrepreneur your input is valued and respected often bringing new ideas to the table and being disruptive (nicely)!

The online community of entrepreneurs is growing month by month, it’s well worth looking into this world to find a community that you recognise and would like to be part of. To that end here are two organisations I would recommend exploring to find out about the online and offline opportunities that maybe available to you.

Start Up Grind

Startup Grind is the largest independent startup community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting more than 1,500,000 entrepreneurs in over 500 chapters. 

There are local UK chapters based out of Thames Valley, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Southampton, Wolverhampton, London, Bournemouth and Glasgow.

There isn’t a chapter in my home city of Liverpool- perhaps I should start one?

Europe Conference Start Up Grind

Creative Mornings

Creative Mornings is a free monthly breakfast lecture series, designed for creative communities. There are currently over 200 cities hosting these networking opportunities globally.

Locally within the UK you can get involved in cities such as Birmingham, Cardiff, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Portsmouth and Sheffield.

Creative Mornings Summit

I hope this blog post has been useful and remember, its not how many connections you have which makes a successful network, its how well those connections are utilised, so always follow up on connections and keep engaging in conversation. A simple ‘nice to meet you’ or ‘thanks for your time’ by email / twitter etc may just be the start to a fruitful relationship. Be polite, be giving and build your network.

Understanding Entrepreneurial Instinct

You can listen to the accompanying podcast to this post by clicking here

From discussion, entrepreneurship seemingly means different things to different people. The practical elements of how to start and run a business can be taught, indeed I see this very often in UK Universities, and I should add taught well. However, with a fundamental ability of the successful entrepreneur being the skill to ‘recognise opportunity’, can this be taught within a formal education setting?

Entrepreneurs are those individuals with the ability to change or take advantage of the market’s behaviours, they can disrupt the norm and create value from their endeavours. Where successful entrepreneurs find their position depends if they embark on an idea which involves radical change or one which develops moderate improvements and marginal change. The key to success for both however, is the ability to take opportunities, which those around them don’t see.

Is it possible to teach somebody to see an opportunity? If we can, the more formal aspects of starting a business teaching will surely be more successful and useful long term.  The formal aspects of starting a business is one which many Entrepreneurship courses I have observed have placed great emphasis, the production of a business plan or business canvas, market research, financing the venture and so on. However, it’s that early and crucial aspect of opportunity recognition that is perhaps less developed.

Without the knowledge to recognise opportunity the formal aspects of business start up become less useful. A student group may be able to produce a wonderful report or business presentation however would have little chance of bringing the idea to life without that ability to realise ‘when the time is right’.

This is where the teaching of entrepreneurship becomes very difficult to get right. How do we get student groups to creatively recognise opportunities, how do we enable them to improve their Entrepreneurial Instinct (EI)? I think and speaking with academics this requires the development of critical thinking techniques and student’s ability to be alert to their wider commercial environment, it is this which will allow students to be ready when opportunities arise.  

So, in practice how have I seen this done? The process of allowing student groups to develop the skills described often takes place with groups forming small start-ups under the protection of the University. Whilst not a fully formed operational ‘real’ business, the premise is that business does begin, albeit in somewhat of a protective bubble. By engaging student groups with real life problems faced by other organisations they begin to understand from a commercial perspective how their business must operate in order to be a real-life success. What are the margins, what are the challenges, how do I make my business commercially successful to operate in the future? How do I recognise those opportunities and know when it’s time to act?

We should allow students to develop by asking questions of why something has been done the way it has, or how could we do this differently, creative thinking should be an important aspect of any Entrepreneurial Programme. We must ‘allow’ students to fail as this replicates the real world, and in doing so increases a student’s ability to be resilient to failure, and not fearful of it. It also should be said that honesty is important, some ideas are just bad ideas, outside of the bubble they could cost somebody to lose a great deal of time and money, if that’s the case we as educators have a duty to say this, and not be afraid to do so, its part of the education we provide.   

Experiential leaning is vital to allow students to develop their EI. Are there any other ways to develop an instinct without running a venture?

If you would like to read some more about EI take a look at: The Entrepreneurial Instinct by Monica Mehta.

You can also watch a short video below about how Rich Schefren describes ways to boost EI.

Enterprising Educator- I’m new, where do I start?

no, not this type.

This post is aimed at those completely new to the Enterprising Educator Community (post 18). You can find the accompanying podcast to this post here.

How does one become an educator? I guess through a multitude of avenues is the short answer, some are former or current entrepreneurs, others may be educational practitioners or business mentors, indeed you can even study how to become Enterprise Educator through designated Postgraduate courses such as the Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education MA led by Coventry University.

There are literally thousands of books to read, videos to watch, podcasts to listen, people to follow and organisations to engage with. This whistle-stop tour will give you a flavour of how to begin to immerse yourself within the community.

What should I read?

Wow, where to start. My advice would be to look at some books which focus on how to start a business.

They don’t necessarily tell us how to teach somebody to start a business, but I think before we can teach, we need to have some of the tools and techniques required that those aspiring business owners may require.

Three books I really enjoyed reading which gave me a great and differing insight into what a prospective business owner should consider include The Start Up Playbook (Sam Altman), The Start Up Owner’s Manual (Steve Blank) and The Lean Start Up (Eric Reis). Details of all can be found within my recommended reading list.

What should I listen to?

There are hundreds of brilliant podcasts which can be informative as well as entertaining.

Many of them are US based but two UK produced programmes I find valuable are The Disruptive Entrepreneur by Rob Moore and The Bottom Line by Evan Davies. Neither are particularly academic based podcasts but more focused around the principals, challenges and benefits of entrepreneurship. Both give the listener the opportunity to hear from others about their journeys, their mistakes and their successes. It’s easy and enjoyable mainly weekly listening.

You can find details on my recommended podcasts list.

Tell me a brilliant website to visit!

OK- visit Teaching Entrepreneurship. It’s a brilliant resource. From lesson plans to assessment ideas, classroom tools to insightful videos, it literally has it all. It’s a simple website to navigate through and led by a guy called Doan Winkel (US based). I would absolutely recommend looking at the site for ideas and inspiration.

What organisations and groups should I involve myself in?

In the UK there is an ever-growing number of organisations of which you can join / engage with to become more familiar with the community. Many of these provide fantastic resources that you can use within your classroom as well as opportunities to network with others. Some of the key organisations I would suggest becoming involved with would be:

Enterprise Educators UK – The UK’s leading independent membership network for enterprise educators.

Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs – A dedicated professional learning institute specialising in business enterprise and business support.

Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship – A network for people and organisations involved in small business and entrepreneurship research, policy, education, support and advice.

National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education – Supports higher education to build its entrepreneurial future. It believes innovative and inspiring activities led by enterprising staff create graduates equipped for an ever-changing world.

Research in Enterprise Education (REntEd)– Launched as a collaboration between the ISBE and EEUK (see links above) this Community of Interest group is intended to explicitly link together the research and practice arms of the EntEd discipline.

All these organisations have various ways in which you can engage from membership to fellowship depending on your level of experience.

Who to follow?

My final piece of advice is Twitter! I love Twitter, I love LinkedIn as well but for different reasons. The main benefit to Twitter in my view is that you can follow the conversation of the people that you wish. You can create a timeline of information from those who interest you and keep this specific and without distraction (if you use Twitter lists).

Over the last 12 months I have started to engage myself with the Enterprise Educators Community on Twitter. Its active, lively, disruptive and often people have very different views, which keeps things more interesting! The debate is far ranging and allows for healthy disagreement. There are hundreds of interesting people to follow however twelve who I would recommend following include:













Give these guys a follow, its an interesting conversation and one which will link you quickly to others to follow who can inspire.

So that’s it. My quick guide to how to get going, best of luck and remember- read, listen and engage.