Last month the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies (CEES) hosted the fourth European Council of Small Business Entrepreneurship Education (3E) conference at the University of Leeds. A record 120 participants from across Europe, the US, Russia and Asia attended over the three days.
With an emphasis on advancing research and innovative practice in entrepreneurship education, the conference followed the previous years in Denmark, Germany and Finland by adopting a uniquely innovative format, with Powerpoint-free (unplugged) sessions. The conference focused on problems and questions rather than on ready-made solutions and presentations of research findings. This format provided opportunities for discussion, debate and dissemination of the latest developments in entrepreneurship education research.
During the sessions, participants engaged with cutting edge issues in entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial learningincluding: embedding enterprise and innovation into non-Business curriculums, developing innovative cross-cutting pedagogy design, entrepreneurial development through education and entrepreneurial education ecosystems.
Delegates included researchers in entrepreneurship, education studies, finance and regional policy as well as university educators, startup incubators, regional development associations and venture capital firms.
The conference was launched by Dr Raphael Hallett, Director of the new Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence and Innovation. Dr Hallett noted the key link between the new Institute and the conference, as an example of the University’s commitment to developing and supporting world-classn innovative teaching excellence and advanced pedagogy scholarship and research.
One of the highlights of the conference was a debate on turning teaching innovations into high quality publications. Panel members for the debate included Professor Robert Blackburn (European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship President, Editor of the International Small Business Journal and Research Excellence Framework panel member); Professor Siri Tjeresen (Associate Editor of the top 4* ranked journal, Academy of Management Learning and Education), Professor Helle Neergaard (Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Aarhus University) and Professor Andy Penaluna (Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds, Entrepreneurship Education policy advisor to the European Commission and United Nations).
The debate provided insights into the positioning of entrepreneurship education research in leading academic journals as well as highlighting new and emerging research field opportunities for impact. This proved to be an engaging and inspirational session for scholars wishing to take their research forward.
The conference reflected the innovative teaching and research being conducted at the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies and was hosted at an opportune time, being held the day after the launch of the Leeds University Business School Academy of Innovation (AI).
The event provided the opportunity to celebrate the CEES’ role in the University’s success through winning four national entrepreneurship awards in 2015/2016 along with the University’s Spark business mentoring service and InTechnology Incubator programme.
The conference was also an excellent opportunity for CEES members to build on existing networks and develop new collaborative opportunities for international research projects. The CEES team is currently developing funding bids around experiential entrepreneurship education and ecosystems (with Aarhus University, Denmark and Chalmers, Sweden), developing research on gender and entrepreneurship (with Aarhus, Denmark), as well as numerous other opportunities with partners in the US and elsewhere in Europe.
Overall, the 3E conference was a fantastic way to bring leading international entrepreneurship education researchers together in Leeds, to not only celebrate the various successes Leeds have had, but also to build on these with future collaborations.
Further information about the European Council of Small Business may be found here: http://www.ecsb.org
Further information about the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies may be found here: http://cees.leeds.ac.uk/research/