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What is Enterprise?

We recognise the importance of supporting student enterprise and entrepreneurship education. As an entrepreneurial university it is important that our students are supported to develop the skills and graduate attributes which are essential in today’s global labour market so that they can make a positive contribution to society. Graduates who are able to demonstrate this are highly sought after by employers across a whole range of industry sectors.

Enterprise is not just confined to starting up and running a business venture, it provides opportunities that guide students towards an understanding and contextualisation of a whole range of enterprise skills, attributes and capabilities as it relates to their course discipline and / or co curricular and extracurricular activities.  

Enterprise education integration into the curriculum facilitates a student’s capacity to generate and demonstrate how ideas are developed into innovative products and services which deliver cultural, economic, environmental, intellectual, and social value. It provides a gateway for students to explore their own understanding of its relevance for themselves through professional skills development and mindset development around personal values, motivation, risk-tolerance, and opportunity assessment. It also provides them with the opportunity to gain alternative perspectives on their career options.(Jarman 2017). Enterprise and entrepreneurship integration across the curriculum is “the process of equipping students (or graduates) with an enhanced capacity to generate ideas and the skills to make them happen” (QAA 2012).

Employers expect graduates to be innovative, adaptable, resilient, and flexible and have an enterprising mind-set. Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education aims to produce graduates with the awareness, mindset and capability to generate original ideas in response to identified needs, opportunities and/or challenges, and then take steps to making it happen. For many graduates they will use these skills intrapreneurially i.e. contributing to the development or growth of an existing venture. For the minority, it will lead to them developing their own business ventures.(QAA 2018).

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Definitions

  • Being enterprising: development of skills students need for the generation and application of ideas.
  • Being entrepreneurial: application of enterprise skills, behaviours and attributes for social, cultural or economic value. This can, but does not exclusively, lead to venture creation (HEA 2016).

The Model 

The Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education Framework

The European Commission’s Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (EntreComp), is a flexible and multi-purpose reference framework that will inform educators’ understanding of what is meant by entrepreneurship as a key competence for lifelong learning. These competencies are designed to act as a guide for enterprise educators when they are designing a new activity and/or a model to use or adapt for applied learning activities and assessments related to the development of students’ key entrepreneurial skills and attitudes.

The framework identifies the relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes that comprise an entrepreneurial mindset through three key competence areas, which are then subdivided into 15 competences each:

  1. Ideas & Opportunities,
  2. Resources, and
  3. Into Action

In Practice

An essential feature of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education is that it will equip students with entrepreneurial attributes and behaviour that can be implemented in a variety of ways into their working lives, for example, self-employment (including start-ups and freelance), social entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship within an existing organisation. 

Students’ enterprise and entrepreneurial learning is unlikely to be linear; they may pass through different stages in an iterative fashion, or engage simultaneously in different learning experiences. 

Enterprise Residency

An Enterprise Residency placement connects to a specific assessed module within a student’s course

The programme is designed to give students the freedom to develop their own ideas, enterprising skills and qualities. It is linked to the core SHU Graduate Attributes.

The Enterprise Residency programme may run for a single semester or throughout the academic year.  Students work individually or in a team (of up to 5) to develop an idea that can be a concept only, or taken to market as a commercial/non-commercial venture. Students also have access to dedicated workspace in the Hallam i-Lab.

See the range of Enterprise Residency case studies for in-practice examples.

For more information on Enterprise Residencies, visit the SHU Enterprise Team website.



Knight and Yorke (2003): Learning, Curriculum and Employability in Higher Education (Routledge)

Hytti. U. (2018): Critical entrepreneurship education: a form of resistance to McEducation 

Jane Owens and Maureen Tibby (2014): Enhancing employability through enterprise education: Examples of good practice in higher education. (HE) 

Professor Nick Williams (2019): Engaging students in entrepreneurship education: Thoughts on the present context and future challenges (Advance HE 2019) 

QAA: Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education (2018) 

EntreComp: The Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (2016) 

Entrecomp Into Action: Get Inspired Make it Happen (EU Commission 2018) 

Essential Frameworks for Enhancing Student Success (Advance HE 2019) 


Useful links

ENHANCING THE CURRICULUM: Enterprise & Entrepreneur Education Toolkit: https://www.etctoolkit.org.uk/ 

Enhancing employability through enterprise education: Examples of good practice in HEA: https://bit.ly/2TQiZ2W   

Embedding Enterprise in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: https://bit.ly/36AlP19  

QAA Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education: Guidance for UK HE Providers: https://bit.ly/2X7EM8g