How to deliver quality entrepreneurial education at scale

by Simon Gifford -

How to deliver quality entrepreneurial education at scale

How to overcome the challenges on delivering entrepreneurial education



Entrepreneurial education (EE) for university students has never been more important and we hope that our last article on the subject left you convinced of this.

Here, we unpack some of the major challenges that universities face in delivering quality entrepreneurial education at scale; and then follow with two solutions that might help you address these issues.

To make this for easy reading, each of the sections has an infographic summarising the theme, followed by some text elaborating on that diagram. For copies of the three infographics, click here: Entrepreneurial Education Infographics and we will send them to you.

The three sections are:
  • The major challenges facing universities in delivering entrepreneurial education 
  • A top-down approach to getting started 
  • An “agile” approach to getting started (borrowing lessons from entrepreneurship itself). 
 The work is based on our (Mashauri) experience in developing and implementing entrepreneurial courses, the personal experience of myself (Simon Gifford) and my co-founder (Apoorv Bamba), our research into the topic and most importantly supported by our colleague Professor David Gibson who has earned an OBE for his work in entrepreneurial education.

1. The major challenges facing universities

The infographic takes the form of a flow diagram that shows how the primary challenge of not delivering consistent entrepreneurial education is through lack of support from the top of the organisation (DVC / VC) - and indicated the main reasons why that might be the case. The second branch assumes there is top level support and then highlights the reasons why this may not translate into the desired outcome.

EE challenges

The four reasons why the commitment may not result in the desired outcome of quality entrepreneurial education at scale has been broken down into 4 categories; with the typical examples of why this might occur in the adjacent blocks:
  • Commitment not translated into implementation processes 
  • Lack of capacity to deliver 
  • Unclear how to deliver 
  • Poor quality delivery of education. 

In most cases, the reasons are a combination of the above, but we believe this is a useful framework to consider the challenges.

2. A top-down approach to addressing the challenges

A classic strategy, especially if the senior level commitment is missing, is to take a top-down transformation approach: develop a shared vision and cascade the actions down the organisation.

Top down approach to addressing the challenges
Note the double-headed arrow between vision and commitment indicating that this is an iterative process as the vision is co-created and shared with the key stakeholders. This initiatives will be strongly driven by senior management. The vision is clear and appropriate control and progress measurements put in place.

3. An agile approach to solving the problems

Senior level commitment remains a sine qua non for an institution to deliver quality entrepreneurial education at scale; but in this model the implementation of that commitment becomes more light touch. Different parts of the university are encouraged to “get on with it” in their own way (give them a compass and a destination, not a roadmap) with support from a small transformation unit with permission to make things happen. The approach is iterative in nature and allows for some quick wins and a developmental approach to becoming an institution with strong EE capability.

Agile approach to solving EE problems

This may go a little against the grain for established institutions, but organisations around the world are beginning to recognise this type of flexible, bottom-up process is a more effective way of getting to results. This approach takes into account the differences between different departments and professors and for entrepreneurial education to be effective it needs to be adapted to the situation. There will be certain groups and individuals who have a greater passion and capacity for this work and it makes sense to use them as early innovators. In this agile approach, the entrepreneurial education model within the institution is clarified as it develops - in true entrepreneurial fashion.

4. Conclusion

Every institution is different in terms of their status, context and vision. Therefore those who truly wish to graduate students with an entrepreneurial mindset will need to develop their own approach. We hope that the above concepts will offer some valuable input to your thinking. Any one of us (myself, Apoorv or David) would be happy to enter a dialogue with you if you believe we might help you through this process. If you would like to download copies of the 3 infographics, please click here and we will send them to you. Entrepreneurial Education Infographics
Mashauri is an entrepreneurial education platform that supports institutions in developing an entrepreneurial mindset in their students.

Developing tomorrow’s entrepreneurs today!

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Entrepreneurial education - a student right and a university obligation

by Simon Gifford -

Should an entrepreneurial education be offered to all university students?

From the student perspective, the answer is certainly “yes”; and from the perspective of the institution the answer is probably a “yes” as well.

Entrepreneurial education

I need to start with a disclaimer: the last 6 years of my life have been focussed on developing Mashauri: an education platform for universities to enable them to offer their students an entrepreneurial education - so I may have a slight bias here. On the other hand, the research we have conducted and the experience gained, have done nothing to dissuade me from this - although we have received some negatives from certain quarters (see later).

This article lays out the benefits of entrepreneurial education from the perspective of the student, the university and the community and economy. We end with a hint of the challenges of providing such education - as a run-in to a subsequent article due to be published soon. However, before discussing the benefits, we begin by explaining what we mean by entrepreneurial education. We have not set out to make this a long, academic paper but rather have tried to put our views across succinctly with some useful questions for deliberation at the end of each section. We trust this will not offend our readers (the majority of you are academics), and hope that you value the utility and brevity of the contents.

What is entrepreneurial education.

In our view (and the view of many, including the UK enterprise and entrepreneurship guidance), entrepreneurial education teaches a scientific approach to conceiving, launching and growing a new business through experiential learning. In most cases, that means by the student actually undertaking some or all of these phases and learning-by-doing. The advantages of such are not only that the student internalises a reusable approach but furthermore starts to gain some of the cognitive skills that make up an entrepreneurial mindset including:

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
  • Decision making supported by critical analysis, synthesis and judgement
  • Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
  • Action and reflection
  • Communication and strategy skills
  • Digital and data skills
Fundamentally, we encourage a “learning through entrepreneurship” approach (as opposed to “learning about entrepreneurship”).

Benefits for students

“There are a number of reasons I am going to uni, but the key one is to lay a strong foundation for my career.”
Dani G.: University of Leeds.

Entrepreneurial education has four main benefits for a student.

  1. It opens up the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur as a viable career choice.
    Surprisingly, in many universities the majority of students do not get the appropriate exposure that even allows them to consider this; and certainly not sufficient information to help them evaluate their propensity to undertake such a career.
  2. The competencies, attitude and experience increase the immediate employability of that student.
    Corporates and other graduate employers are looking beyond the academic results to select employees who might eventually become leaders of their organisations. A quote from the WEF report on “What skills do employers most value from graduates” highlights this point:
    “The kinds of skills cultivated through social entrepreneurship are linked to the soft skills that graduate employers have repeatedly told us they prize, but which they believe graduates lack. Chief among these are creativity, resourcefulness, team-working, innovation, resilience, IT skills, and innovation.”
  3. There has been a rise in social and environmental consciousness among students in the last decade. Entrepreneurship, especially social entrepreneurship is a potential path to allowing these students to work in these areas where they feel they are able to make a more direct impact on these areas of concern.
  4. The skills developed in obtaining an entrepreneurial mindset track closely many of the skills required in the “21st century graduate” which are essential to becoming a useful global citizen who is able to guide their own destiny through an uncertain future.
The entrepreneurial mindset

DVC Key questions

  • How well are you meeting students’ needs for employability post graduation?
  • Are students in all faculties being exposed to entrepreneurship or is it focussed in the business and commerce areas?
  • How far have you moved to developing real life skills for students?

Benefits for the institution

“At National University of Singapore, we offer entrepreneurial-minded individuals the platform to pursue their dreams and achieve success. Our goal is to nurture current and future entrepreneurial leaders for business success, while igniting the spirit of innovation and enterprise in our students, staff and alumni.”
Source:  NUS Enterprise

We recognise 4 benefits of offering entrepreneurial education to the university

  1. It helps in the overall positioning of the university when communicating to potential students, parents and the world.
    Although entrepreneurship is only recently beginning to appear on the university ranking tables, more and more applicants are beginning to consider this as a factor in their choice of institution.
  2. It facilitates links with corporates and public sector organisations.
    Private sector are looking more and more to universities as a source of innovation as well as employees; and in return universities are seeking support in terms of funding and sponsorships. Entrepreneurial education can be a natural bridge between the two.
  3. It encourages commercialisation of research - and as such potential future income streams.
    Technology Transfer Offices and Centres of Entrepreneurship / Innovation have the capacity to become strong sources of income for universities.
  4. It may make the university itself more entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial in its thinking and approach.
    The European Commission’s HEInnovate initiative discusses the importance of this as well as offering an assessment tool to measure how entrepreneurial is your institution (something which Mashauri could work with you in applying).

    An interesting challenge and opportunity is that academic staff themselves seldom undertake entrepreneurial activities. This hampers their ability to teach entrepreneurship in an experiential fashion. The opportunity of creating “entrepreneurial academics” beyond teaching ability is in the way they look at the world and the potential impact on developing an entrepreneurial university.

DVC questions

  • How consistent is your entrepreneurial education across the institution?
  • How clear is entrepreneurship in your overall positioning?
  • How closely tied is your TTO to all the entrepreneurial initiatives happening?
  • How organised is your outreach programme to corporates and do you have a clear value proposition for them?
  • How entrepreneurial is your university?
  • As a DVC, how much are you thinking about the opportunities and threats arising from edtech-driven disruptive technologies?

Benefits for the community and economy

“Governments across the world are looking to technology innovation as a driver for national economic growth, and to universities as the incubators of this national capacity. Universities operating within established technology-driven innovation hubs, such as Silicon Valley and Kendall Square in the US, offer robust models for success within these environments. However, an increasing number of universities located within more challenging environments are establishing strong entrepreneurship and innovation (E&I) profiles and reputations, some of whom will undoubtedly become future national and international leaders.”
Source: Creating university-based entrepreneurial ecosystems evidence from emerging world leaders. MIT-Skoltech initiative

The benefits for the community and economy are mostly self-evident.The key ones we come across in our work are:

  1. Students working on solving real problems in the community making an immediate impact and producing good relations with neighbours. Furthermore, communities and countries have problems that are unique and may not attract the attention of the global players to solve them.
  2. Job creation is driven by entrepreneurship (although there is significant debate around the quantum of this) and particularly in developing economies with high unemployment rates, it is often the only alternative for many individuals.
  3. Entrepreneurship and innovation go hand in hand and those countries with the highest innovation levels are likely to increase their share of the global economy. Israel is a case in point (WEF: Israel is a tech titan).
DVC questions:

  • Are you playing a role in national innovation?
  • Are you recognised as a source of innovative individuals who could play upon the world stage?
  • Do you know how well your alumni are doing against the above factor?


We believe there is ample evidence as to why universities should be extending their entrepreneurial education activities more broadly across their institutions. As is always the case, there are examples of excellence here (for instance MIT in the US and iE Business School in Spain); but many other institutions are lagging here. This is generally not through lack of will, but there are a range of challenges that make it difficult.

We will soon be writing another article in this series discussing the challenges (and how they may be addressed). If you would like an early flavour of this, receive a summary of the top 5 challenges faced by universities when trying to implement entrepreneurial education at scale by clicking here: Top 5 Challenges.

Please have a look around our site to see the types of services and solutions we have in terms of supporting universities in offering experiential-based entrepreneurial education to their students. Furthermore, if you would like a one-on-one conversation to talk about your challenges and opportunities, please drop me a line ( and we can hold a video conference. There is no charge for this type of conversation as we are likely to obtain as much value as you will from the dialogue.

Mashauri ... developing tomorrow's entrepreneurs today!

Educating innovative societies

by Simon Gifford -
An excellent, inspiring and thought provoking discussion around education of innovative societies. It gives glimpses into the future of education.  Recorded on 19th September 2018.

Educating innovative societies

The discussion moves across a range of topics (see below), unsurprisingly given the diversity of the panel and audience. Most of the readers of this article will be embroiled in doing the best they can with limited resources, current students and meeting day to day objectives. That is why it is useful to sit back a little and consider a more future-looking and visionary perspective of education - and that is what this video will help you do. It is an hour in length, but is probably worth grabbing a cup of coffee and running through the whole video.

If you do not have the time to view this (or want to find out if the contents justify the effort), some of the points of interest for me were:
  • the divergence of education and learning
  • inside out learning (referring to learning on devices not in classroom)
  • credentialism and the blockchain
  • the importance of entrepreneurial education
  • the importance of self-belief and self-efficacy in learning
  • making graduates job-ready and future-ready
  • using adaptive technologies to facilitate scaffolding
  • problems with focus on traditional grading
  • linking innovation, creativity and the arts

Click on the image above to view the video or go to WEF link to view:  Educating innovative societies  

Contact me at to discuss implications for you, your institution and your students.

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Education in 2030 - will it be different?

by Simon Gifford -

The future of education

HolonIQ have just released their latest report on education in 2030

Future of education scenarios

The big picture: among thousands of responses gathered from over 50 countries, only 5% of respondents chose “Education-as-Usual” as their preferred scenario. However, on average the global cohort estimated it was still 45% likely that “Education-as-Usual” is how 2030 will look when we get there. 

Education in 2030

Read the highly visual report to obtain an interesting view on how education may unfold in the futue, where 5 different scenarios are considered.

The question is why do so many people believe that education will not change as much as most seem to want it to? Where is the inertia built into the system and what will it take to overcome that and start producing the type of education fit for purpose in the next decade and beyond? 

Leave a comment with your thoughts below?

Universities must allow "constructive failure"

by Simon Gifford -

Lino Guzzella

At the Times Higher Education World Summit,  heads of leading European and Asian universities have suggested that Universities must create an educational environment where “constructive failure” can flourish if they are to foster a culture of innovation,

Lino Guzzella, president of Switzerland’s ETH Zurich, said that failure is more important than success “because in success you usually learn very little but in failure you learn a lot”.

Speaking at the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit in Singapore, Professor Guzzella said that ETH Zurich has “a rich tradition of project-based learning” but has recently combined this with an approach of “constructive failure”.

“We try to formalise this process by bringing students in a friendly environment, in a safe environment, to the breaking point where they fail. And we provide an environment where they can learn from their failure and really grow,” he said, adding that this approach allows students to develop both technical and personal skills.

For example, ETH Zurich brings students across all disciplines together for a week ahead of each semester to work on team projects.  

“In a week-long setting, in groups of 20, they develop crazy ideas. Not all of these ideas are viable or very useful, but that’s not the point. The point is that they learn how to interact in a diverse environment, they learn how to solve problems where there is no concrete solution,” he said, during a panel discussion on the role of research universities in creating societal impact.

“If you teach your students how to solve research problems which have no answer, you teach them how to solve the common problems of the world.”

Professor Guzzella added that it was important that such programmes start at undergraduate level.

Eng Chye Tan, president of the National University of Singapore, said that his institution was also trying to embed “constructive failure” into its educational programmes.

“We hear too much about success but it is true that students learn the most from failure. And if you can [foster this] through an experience, all the better,” he said during the same session.

Professor Tan said that NUS creates this environment by sending hundreds of students abroad each year to locations including Silicon Valley and Shanghai, where they work at start-ups during the day and study at partner universities in the evening.

He said that one student recently went to Israel through this programme and worked at a company that “collapsed” during his internship.

“If you were working after graduation in such a company you would have lost a job. But being a student on an attachment, actually you experience the tribulations of success and failure and that’s extremely valuable,” he said.

Another way of of allowing constructive failure is through the use of simulations (refer Mashauri simulations ), whereby students are given challenges and need to take decisions - and then get immediate feedback. Normally they are then able to repeat the exercise and see the impact of different decisions.

Contact me at if you would like to find out more about these simulations.

Africa 2018 - call for participation

by Simon Gifford -

Call for participation in Africa 2018: a pan African virtual accelerator programme

Association of African Universities and Mashauri

Call for participation image

Mashauri have developed an online programme that teaches university students how to be an entrepreneur while they actually start a business. This form of experiential eduction has proven to be the best way to acquire an entrepreneurial mindset that not only encourages entrepreneurship but also allows the student to stand out from the rest if they seek to become employed.

Our model has been tested in South Africa and India and we are now looking to roll it out to other African universities across the continent. Recognising that every geography has their specific challenges when it comes to implementing such online education, we are seeking up to 6 universities to work with us in co-creating and running a pan-African venture accelerator in October and November of 2018.

The Programme

We will take students through a process of conceiving a business idea through to developing and testing their value proposition in the market. The programme will end with a pitching event and graduation at each of the universities; and a final "pitch-off" among the winners from each participating institution.

Our programmes are housed on our online learning platform that include training, mentor input, tools, templates, motivational material, quizzes and project based activities.

Mashauri entrepreneurial learning platform

Students are individually tracked through the process and encouraged to keep progressing to the end. Real mentors assess their inputs; and offline activities also encourage interaction between students and professors.

Selection of participating universities: 30 September 2018

Programme timing: programme commence in October 2018

Programme length: 6 to 8 weeks

Student numbers: 20 to 30 per institution

Benefits for your institution

Virtual incubatorThe benefit of participating in this initiative is that it will allow you to position your university as one of the African leaders in entrepreneurial education. Furthermore, it will create an opportunity to reach out and play a role in your local community and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The programme itself will offer a wonderful opportunity for up to 30 of your students to gain some valuable life-skills as they develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

What type of institution should apply

We are seeking higher education institutions who recognise the importance of imbuing students with the cognitive skills that go with obtaining an entrepreneurial mindset - including elements such as initiative, problem-solving, attitude to risk, self-confidence, communication and opportunity seeking.

Your university should be open to testing innovative ways of education and be prepared to work with us in co-creating and managing the programme.

Specific requirements:

> Approximately 3 hours per week from an entrepreneurial professor or a project manager, for the duration of the programme (6 to 8 weeks).

> A space large enough for the student entrepreneurs to meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis with a projector hooked up for online interaction

>Management (with Mashauri support) of the final pitching competition.

> Management (with Mashauri support) of the student selection process

> $4,000 contribution to the programme (which represents a 60% discount on the standard price) billed in local currency

Mashauri rationale

Although as a virtual organisation, Mashauri is global in nature; we have a stated goal of making a difference in developing economies and specifically Africa.

In our experience, it is not entirely straightforward to simply launch a generic online programme in any geography and still expect high completion rates. Most countries and regions have their own challenges be it technology infrastructure, perceptions of entrepreneurship and institutional capacity. We are therefore launching this programme to help us better understand these contextual issues across a number of African countries simultaneously.

In so doing, we believe we will uncover and learn to address these challenges in a way that will allow us to best tailor our programmes to optimise the benefits in the continent.

Application for the programme

If you would like to be considered as a participant for this pan-African programme, please complete the short application form below and we will get back to you to set up an initial discussion.

Deadline for application 28th September 2018

Note that completion of the application does not guarantee you will be able to participate, but neither does it commit you to do so either.

Application form

Startup resources: how to get users to try your product

by Simon Gifford -

User experience

This question came up a few times in this weeks' office hours: how do we get a list of users to try your product and give you feedback?

Jesse Leimgruber from NeoReach put together the following ranked list of ~300 places you can submit your product at launch:

These are services where you can list or launch your startup to a broad, preexisting community in an attempt to encounter new user types. Experimentally, systematically launching to everyone on this list of communities will yield a few hundred to several thousand signups.

It's important to note that these are typically unqualified sources of traffic – early adopter communities and similar – so when analyzing the outcomes here, you should be looking for patterns in feedback from users to find reproducible user personas, versus treating this as a scalable way to get growth.

The "A" ranked places on Jesse's list are worth starting with, and summarized below along with his comments. (I wouldn't bother with anything past "B"– you should be more focused than that.)

  1. Reddit Programming. "Very strong community. Great leads if your product is for devs."
  2. Reddit-Entrepreneur Appreciates good storytelling.
  3. Social Influencers – Jesse can intro.
  4. PR Log – "Free press release distribution service"
  5. F6S "Platform to features startup deals"
  6. Mashable Press – go in through an intro.
  7. Techcrunch Press – go in through an intro.
  8. Android Authority "I know him. Have worked with him."
  9. Startup List "Some people say it's hit or miss. I love it."
  10. Fiverr Tactics "Lots of spam, sift through the noise"
  11. Slack List and "Join (and ask for feedback) in a private Slack Group"
  12. Hackernews "Most active community of hackers and entrepreneurs."
  13. Top Bloggers "Network of bloggers."
  14. Shoutcart "Network of influencers $20-$200/each"
  15. Beta List "Really really good. 25k+ Audience"
  16. ProductHunt "The undisputed leader in my opinion. Thousands of visitors."

How can you succeed as a startup

by Simon Gifford -

Sam Altman

We at Mashauri greatly admire Y Combinator (the San Francisco based accelerator - and in fact the first ever accelerator). They began a Startup School a few years ago and I would like to share this video from Sam recorded in 2017 where he talks about how you can succeed as a startup. We are adding it in here for our Ashoka students - but is valuable for anyone in this field be it entrepreneur or educator.



The lessons in summary:

  • A product so good people tell friends
  • Easy to understand
  • Exponential growth of the underlying market
  • Evangelical founder
  • Ambitious vision
  • The harder the better
  • Confident and definite view of the future
  • Huge if it works
  • Team
    • Optimists
    • Idea generators
    • We'll figure it out
    • I've got it
    • Action bias
    • The blessing of inexperience
  • Momentum
  • Competitive advantage
  • Sensible business model
  • Distribution strategy
  • Frugality, focus, obsession and love
  • Why startups win
    • One no versus one yes
    • Fast changing market
    • Platform shifts

Enterprise and entrepreneurship guidance

by Simon Gifford -

Enterprise and entrepreneurship education guidance

This article gives you an overview of the excellent 2018 UK QAA Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education Guidance and includes a free model that designs an entrepreneurial program for your university based on your specific requirements.

Mashauri entrepreneurship online

Executive summary.

In January 2018, the UK QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) released an excellent paper: The Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education Guidance (referred to as EEE in this article) to provide direction to the provision of entrepreneurship education in the UK. It reads like a set of best practices and has been accepted at EU level as an important element to their thinking. Click on the image to download a full copy of  the Guidance

This is important to read for any involved in entrepreneurship education anywhere in the world. However, as a content-rich, 36 page document that covers many aspects of EEE, not everyone will want to read it in its entirety. Therefore the purpose of this article is to

  • 1. Give an overview of what is discussed in the Guidance

  • 2. Summarise the key aspects of the student learning experience

  • 3. Enable you to use the Guidance to develop a high level entrepreneurial course design

NOTE: Free customised entrepreneur course design at end of article

QAA Enterprise and entrepreneurship education guidance 2018

1. Overview of the Guidance

First off, I would like to say that if you have the time, I recommend you read the actual paper. Andy Penaluna and his team have done a remarkable job of maintaining the document to within 36 pages, given the richness of the content. However, for those of you who are more time-strapped, our overview will give you a useful summary of the contents and help you quickly reach the parts of most interest. In addition, we have added a little more value by suggesting how the Guidance may be used in designing your own entrepreneurship program.


1.1 The introduction and context (pages 1 - 6) gives a context to the Guidance. It states the purpose of the document, why EEE is important and then lists initiatives at a UK, European and international level that are supporting and driving this education.

Useful quote
“ Learning about and experiencing Enterprise and Entrepreneurship while at university can have several benefits. It gives students alternative perspectives on their career options and ultimately, the confidence to set up their own business or social enterprise. Enterprise competencies will be useful to those in employment, or those who become self-employed and work on a freelance or consultancy basis.

It can help develop a ‘can-do’ confidence, a creative questioning approach, and a willingness to take risks, enabling individuals to manage workplace uncertainty and flexible working patterns and careers.

Enterprising competencies, such as teamwork and the ability to demonstrate initiative and original thought, alongside self-discipline in starting tasks and completing them to deadline, are essential attributes that have been identified by employers as priorities. The potential for portfolio career trajectories also suggests that these learning experiences will support the needs of our students.”

1.2 Definitions and distinctions (pages 7 - 10) suggests some definitions and should help with conversations around entrepreneurial education. I have some doubts if these definitions will stick forever as they sound too similar, but they are a useful start. The section ends with a comment on the relationship between employability, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

The three key distinctions made are:

  • Enterprise Education is defined here as the process of developing students in a manner that provides them with an enhanced capacity to generate ideas, and the behaviours, attributes, and competencies to make them happen. It extends beyond knowledge acquisition to a wide range of emotional, intellectual, social, cultural and practical behaviours, attributes and competences, and is appropriate to all students.
  • Entrepreneurship Education aims to build upon the enterprising competencies of students who are capable of identifying opportunities and developing ventures, through becoming self-employed, setting up new businesses or developing and growing part of an existing venture. It focuses on the application of enterprising competencies and extends the learning environment into realistic risk environments that may include legal issues, funding issues, start-up and growth strategies.
  • Entrepreneurial Education is used here as a ‘catch all’ term that encompasses both Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, and may be used when discussing the combination of both.

1.3 Delivering enterprise and entrepreneurship education: educators (pages 11 - 12) discusses the role, attributes and tasks of EE educators. As this is something of a best practice guide, it does end up sounding as if these educators should be able to scale tall buildings in one bound - but (more seriously) includes lists of

  • > The role of the entrepreneurial educator (partly dependent on their job position)
  • > The attributes of such an educator
  • > The tasks of that person

Useful quote

“These educators are often tasked to tackle the ‘wicked’ problems of preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that have not yet been invented, and spotting and solving problems that we have yet to define clearly. To face this challenge, we need to develop students and graduates who are enterprising, flexible and innovative. Students should be able to identify and respond to opportunities using their ideas, knowledge, skills and confidence to create interventions that will address the challenges they meet. In this context, defining the goal as either enterprise or entrepreneurship is helpful, especially when it comes to assessing and evaluating learner performance.”

1.4 Delivering enterprise and entrepreneurship education: delivery (pages 13 - 17) dives into how entrepreneurship education might be delivered depending on the behaviours, attributes and competencies they wish to develop. It includes a useful section distinguishing between: ‘ learning about’, ‘learning for’ and ‘learning through’. It then discusses assessment, evaluation and impact including a description of the Entrecomp framework developed by the European Commission (to be discussed in some detail in our next blog).

Useful quote:

“In designing and delivering assessment, educators should consider the following:

  • learning ‘about’ entrepreneurship is normally evaluated through analytical texts such as essays and knowledge retention exercises such as examinations
  • learning ‘for’ entrepreneurship requires practical activities where students demonstrate their development
  • learning ‘through’ entrepreneurship is primarily a reflective process, where a student engages in entrepreneurial activities and maps their own learning and (supported) progression.”

1.5 The student learning experience described on pages 18 to 25 is (to me) the heart of this document from an educator’s perspective. It considers the learning experience through formal and informal activities, how “the role of wider experiences can contribute to the development of entrepreneurial effectiveness.”

This section is discussed in more detail below.


1.6 The supportive institution (pages 26 to 27) ends the Guidance. This section discusses how an entrepreneurial institution should support EEE and considers the importance of a centralised unit to coordinate this. It also mentions the need to educate the educators:

As Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education has matured it has become more complex in terms of depth and breadth. This has resulted in an increasing need to develop staff and to build expert teams that have the necessary skills, vision and support to deliver the required learning to an appropriate standard.

2. The student learning experience

The section on student learning experience is at the heart of the Guidance - at least from the perspective of someone who is interested in developing and delivering entrepreneurial education to students. However, on reading the guidance, we found it difficult to gain a holistic picture, because of the multi-dimensional and inter-relatedness of the elements discussed. These are:

1. The 4 steps in the journey (which are not necessarily linear) and what is included in each step or what the student should learn. 
See figure 1.

  • > Enterprise awareness
  • > Entrepreneurial mindset
  • > Entrepreneurial competencies
  • > Entrepreneurial effectiveness

2. The locus of the education re the curriculum

  • > Curricular
  • > Extracurricular
  • > Co-curricular

3. What sort of thing should be taught at each step; and whether that is in or out of the curriculum.
See figure 2.

4. The 7 themes that flow throughout all of the steps

  • > Creativity and innovation
  • > Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
  • > Decision making supported by critical analysis, synthesis and judgement
  • > Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
  • > Action and reflection
  • > Communication and strategy skills
  • > Digital and data skills

5. The graduate outcomes for each of these 7 themes

6. What should be practised by the student to reach these outcomes.

Figure 1

The journey towards entrepreneurial effectiveness

Figure 2


An alternative model is mentioned in the Guidance: the European Commission EntreComp framework.

This framework considers 15 competencies and then allocates them across 3 areas (see figure 3).

The full EntreComp article is also useful and we plan to unpack this in  similar way (to as we are doing in this article) in the near future

Figure 3

The European Commission EntreComp Framework

  1. 3. Using the guidance to develop a high level course design

We initially thought about how to visually represent all these element in some sort of a multidimensional model. However, on consideration of the extreme (where every node has an element of each of the dimensions) and even ignoring the EntreComp framework, there would still be in excess of 2000 nodes which would not result in a practical (ie usable) model.

We then decided that using the excellent raw material that was in the Guidance, we should consider it from a user (in this case, educator and student) perspective. From there we built a simple decision tree commencing with two factors:

  • Desired outcome (educator-led) in terms of stage of the journey to be reached
  • Desired outcome (student-led) in terms of what they would like to achieve

Then taking into account educator and student constraints; and the other key elements from the Guidance, one can move through the decision tree to reach a high level design for the program. This is shown in the diagram below:




We have analysed the Guidance into its basic components and based on the decision tree above, developed a simple algorithm that takes inputs and converts them into a suggested high level design for your enterprise or entrepreneurial program. You simply need to answer the questions (it should only take about 5 minutes) and you will receive a report within 24 hours. In addition, we will also keep all respondents up to date with the development of this tool.



If you are interested in finding out more about how we help universities create entrepreneurs, develop entrepreneurial mindsets and position themselves as entrepreneurial institutions, please drop us a mail at or


Mashauri in a tweet


We impact employment & economic growth by training students to be entrepreneurs via online acceleration programs while leveraging off the strength of universities.

How entrepreneurial is your university

by Simon Gifford -

Developing an entrepreneurial mindset

 Article synopsis

Developing an “entrepreneurial university” is becoming increasingly important to universities across the globe to impact on the success of their graduates and in positioning themselves in both the community and the market. The process of instilling an entrepreneurial mindset in students is not yet an exact science, but through understanding the entrepreneurship ecosystem within the university and its links to the outside world, we can obtain some perspective on what is being done and what requires further attention.

We believe that through using a mapping system (such as the UEEC mentioned here) and beginning to measure the entrepreneurial outcomes, rapid progress could be made in moving towards the objective.

The article contains 2 free downloads: an infographic summarising the key elements of the two foremost HE league tables measuring entrepreneurship and a tool that helps review and measure the entrepreneurial ecosystem inside your institution. Download them here.


Are you producing innovators who are changing the world?

Are your students seeking creative ways to solve the social problems of the community or the world?

Are your alumni running their own businesses - that they started thinking about while studying?

Do local investors recognise your institution as a source of new business creation?

As a vice-chancellor, professor, incubator leader or technology transfer head, these may not be the things keeping you awake at night ….. but perhaps they should be!

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship defines the entrepreneurial mindset as “the set of attitudes, skills and behaviours that students need to succeed academically, personally and professionally. These include: initiative and self-direction, risk-taking, flexibility and adaptability, creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving”.. See sidebar below for more details.

Developing an entrepreneurial mindset among students is rapidly becoming an important desired outcome for students, parents and institutional heads alike. Clearly such a mindset is important for potential entrepreneurs, but these characteristics are as important for graduates seeking “normal” employment as it equips them with skills and an outlook that increase their value to would-be employers. This in turn is important to the institutions themselves as they strive to stay relevant and increase employability - which in turn helps them to attract the top students.

This is why there is increasingly more attention paid to how “entrepreneurial” are universities and there are some respected agencies rating universities and business schools against this scale. The two most important ones being the Times Higher Education Entrepreneurial University of the Year Award and Princeton Review’s entrepreneurial rankings. (Note there are several other “League Tables” such as the FT and the Guardian, but they do not rank entrepreneurship per se. If you are interested in finding out more about these League Tables, what they measure and some of the issues around them, take a look at HEPI’s report: A Guide to UK League Tables in Higher Education).

What makes a university “entrepreneurial”

Many institutions provide a range of entrepreneurial activities from curricular courses on entrepreneurship to extra-curricular activities such as hackathons and bolt-on services such as incubators - and so it becomes challenging to find a rating score that provides a comparable measurement of how “entrepreneurial” is a university. We have therefore unpacked the scoring system of the two agencies mentioned above, added in a little more from our personal knowledge of the topic and skimmed the web for other clues to help institutions think about measuring themselves on some entrepreneurial scale.

At a high level, although both research studies looked at inputs and outputs, the US studies tended to be more outcome focused (number of spin-offs, amount of funding), while the European studies had a greater focus on the intention and inputs such as vision, strategy and policy.
The diagram below shows an infographic of the key measurements used and grouped into 5 areas that inter-link. I am certain that over time (probably with the help of some big data type analysis) we will really be able to identify the key factors that make the difference and focus on those. Unfortunately at the moment, the list of factors being measured is too long and if you have too many measurements, you lose sight of the essence. Furthermore, as George Orwell said: ““All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”; and although all these factors are important, some should definitely earn a higher weighting when measuring entrepreneurship in universities.

Infographic of key elements of an entrepreneurial universityEntrepreneurial university infographic

Enter your details and we will send you a pdf version of this infographic

Side panel: developing an entrepreneurial mindset

From the document: “The entrepreneurial university: from concept to action" by National Centre for Entrepreneurship Education

Thanks to the NCEE for this useful input.

The Enterprise Concept focuses upon the development of the ‘enterprising person and entrepreneurial mindset’. The former constitutes a set of personal skills, attributes, behavioural and motivational capacities (associated with those of the entrepreneur) but which can be used in any context (social, work, leisure etc). Prominent among these are; intuitive decision making, capacity to make things happen autonomously, networking, initiative taking, opportunity identification, creative problem solving, strategic thinking, and self efficacy. The ‘Mindset’ concept focuses not just upon the notion of ‘being your own boss’ in a business context but upon the ability of an individual to cope with an unpredictable external environment and the associated entrepreneurial ways of doing, thinking, feeling, communicating, organising and learning.

The Entrepreneurship Concept focuses upon the application of these personal enterprising skills, attributes and mindsets to the context of setting up a new venture or initiative of any kind, developing/growing an existing venture or initiative and designing an entrepreneurial organisation (one in which the capacity for executive use of enterprising skills will be enhanced). The context is therefore not connected to business but is equally applicable to social enterprise, education, health, NGOs and mainstream public organisations (e.g. universities and governments).

Entrepreneurial mindset

What to measure

The first challenge is in framing the problem and thinking about the desired outcome. This could fall anywhere on a spectrum from encouraging students to start entrepreneurial ventures through to improving employability of graduates. At Mashauri, we frame it as the degree to which a university encourages an entrepreneurial mindset among its students. There is plenty of evidence suggesting the link between an entrepreneurial mindset and improved employability as well as the obvious connection between students who are exposed to this thinking who end up launching a venture - either at university of after graduation.

Developing such a mindset cannot be simply taught in a classroom session. It requires an experiential, more immersive experience involving doing as well as learning - in fact more of the doing! It has long been recognised that the strength of an entrepreneurial ecosystem (be it at national, city or campus level) plays a significant role in developing successful entrepreneurs and offering this immersive experience. We therefore believe that a useful way of assessing how entrepreneurial is a university would be by measuring the strength of their entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Therefore, if you are prepared to follow this somewhat-experimental approach, we have developed a “University Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Canvas” (UEEC) roughly adapted from the ecosystem canvas developed by the Founders Institute. The canvas can be used to:

> Map what is currently available in a systematic format - and then identify areas that could be improved.

> Allocate responsibility to the critical areas and establish a focal point or group to manage this

> Make the output available to all the ecosystem players (obviously students but also faculty, alumni and external partners to encourage them to use it.

Our UEEC Canvas is a work in progress that we will continue to develop with our partner universities and the industry, but we have started with 8 elements:

> Leadership and commitment

> Events, clubs and promotions

> Teaching (curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular)

> Faculty entrepreneurial experience and interest

> Available space

> Support of entrepreneurs

> Networks (internal and external)

> Measurement of outcomes

We have developed a digital beta version of the Canvas that incorporates all the above elements and has been designed to be a practical tool that helps a university consider what they might do to strengthen the ecosystem and thereby their entrepreneurial drive. If you would like a copy of this UEEC which includes examples of how it might be used and some clearer definitions around the elements, please request a download below. We would be delighted to get your feedback.

Name of HE institution

(If you have any problem with the download or format, drop us a line and we will help:

Front page of entrepreneurial ecosystem canvas


Developing an “entrepreneurial university” is becoming increasingly important to universities across the globe to impact on the success of their graduates and in positioning themselves in both the community and the market. The process of becoming entrepreneurial is far from an exact science, but through understanding the entrepreneurship ecosystem within the university and linked to the outside world, we can obtain some perspective on what is being done and what requires further attention.

We believe that through using some standard mapping system (such as the UEEC mentioned here) and beginning to measure the entrepreneurial outcomes, rapid progress could be made in moving towards the objective.

If you are interested in finding out more about how we help universities create entrepreneurs, develop entrepreneurial mindsets and position themselves as entrepreneurial institutions, please drop us a mail at or


Mashauri in a tweet


We impact employment & economic growth by training students to be entrepreneurs via online acceleration programs while leveraging off the strength of universities.