A group photo of this year’s IEEC attendees.

Swansea University recently hosted academics, researchers and enterprise educators from around the world at the first in-person International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference (IEEC) in three years.

Organised by Enterprise Educators UK (EEUK), the IEEC has gained international recognition as a platform for sharing best practice, enabling insightful discussions, and connecting educators.

Held at the University's Bay Campus, 7-9 September, the conference was a celebration of achievements and a time to exchange knowledge on how to embed excellence and lead enterprise education in further and higher education institutions.

Swansea University has an outstanding reputation for Enterprise, including being shortlisted for Outstanding Entrepreneurial University at the 2021 THE Awards, with activities supported by Welsh Government through the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Fund and Higher Education Funding Council Wales (HEFCW) via the Research Wales Innovation Fund (RWIF).

The event covered a wide range of topics, such as the Welsh Way Panel, which examined how collaboration between institutions can further benefit start-up journeys, and featured members from the Welsh Government, Development Bank of Wales, Federation of Small Businesses and Welsh Universities.

Keynote speakers included Swansea alumna Joelle Drummond and her wife and Drop Bear Beer Co. co-founder Sarah Drummond, who provided their award-winning alcohol-free beers during the conference's Sunset Social.

The duo established Drop Bear Beer Co. in 2019 and are leading the way in female-led, alcohol-free brewing in Wales, as highlighted by their five wins at this year's Wales Start-Up Awards.

The IEEC conference allowed the University to celebrate and showcase the regional partnerships and the support it offers student and staff start-ups, like Drop Bear Beer Co.

Several student and local businesses collaborated with EEUK throughout the conference:

  • Lowri Wilkie, who is studying for a PhD in Psychology, hosted a sunrise mindfulness session, encouraging delegates to take time for their well-being and start the day on the right foot.
  • MEng Civil Engineering student Ashima Anand provided centrepieces for the Gala Dinner from her plant and corporate gift business, Aspera.
  • Photography was delivered by MChem student Jacob Isaac, owner of Alpine Photography.
  • Student Ambassador and MS Mechanical Engineering student Samuel Yeung provided the videography.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: "Greater support for entrepreneurship is central to my ambition to make Wales a place where more young people feel confident in planning their future here.

"We see this as the start of a new era, which is why we are taking bold action to build a vibrant economy that provides opportunities for all as we sustainability invest in the industries and services of the future.

"This involves embedding a culture of entrepreneurship and fostering a business environment that supports and encourages entrepreneurial thinkers and start-ups to flourish.

"Swansea is a city which is regularly cited as in the top five best cities in which to start a business in the whole of the UK, while Swansea University plays a key role in our eco-system of enterprise education.

"I am delighted the Welsh Government is sponsoring this important conference and demonstrating our commitment to building a greener, fairer Wales which offers pathways to prosperity for all young people, regardless of background."

Helen Griffiths, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research & Innovation, said: "Swansea University was delighted to host this year's International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference and explore innovative approaches to encourage and support students and staff to start-up businesses and develop their entrepreneurial skills. Sincere thanks to the Enterprise team and Conference Services for their support throughout the conference, as well as EEUK for an excellent conference."

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