Using EntreComp to revise Business School offer and strengthen the focus on entrepreneurial skills and attitudes

The following article by Corina Edwards, Senior Lecturer, School of Management, Swansea University and David Bolton Enterprise Support Manager, Research Engagement and Innovation Services, School of Management, Swansea University was originally published in EntreComp into Action: Get Inspired Make it happen – A user guide to the European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework

School of Management Exterior BuildingEntrepreneurship education at School of Management: focus on business planning & ideation

Swansea University School of Management has identified the provision of enterprise and innovation as a strategic pillar both in terms of business engagement and learning and teaching. As with most business schools, the approach taken with entrepreneurship modules has traditionally been focused on the relevant theories of business planning, ideation and leadership. However, this approach was limited in terms of the practical application of entrepreneurial skill sets and as a consequence of that the development of entrepreneurial mind-sets within their students and graduates.

Identifying gaps in the curriculum through mapping of EntreComp competences

It has been widely accepted that the development of entrepreneurial traits and enterprise skill sets are greatly enhanced by a practical pedagogic approach. With this in mind, a number of academic leaders in the field of entrepreneurial education development globally have been invited to assess the Business School’s approach so it can change direction.

Internally, colleagues adopted a pragmatic approach to assessing the current suite of taught modules and to identify gaps in the curricula. It was identified fairly quickly that the enterprise modules and indeed the existing pathway contained a heavy theoretical bias with very little, if any, practical entrepreneurship. Module learning outcomes were then mapped against the EntreComp framework. As suspected, it was evident that around 75 per cent of these outcomes were aligned towards the ideation competences and less towards the resource management and action competences. As a result, this curricular “gap” became the focus of redevelopment and to enable wider entrepreneurship competences to be recognised.

New focus on Resources and Into Action areas of EntreComp

The new approach is currently in its early stages as the modules on the entrepreneurship pathway are aligned. An example of action that has been taken is on an existing business planning module with learning objectives heavily weighted towards ideation competences. A new applied entrepreneurship module has been introduced as a co-requisite of the existing business planning module. This is aimed at level 5 undergraduate (year 2 degree level) students. In addition, funding has been secured from private sources as well as internally to allow students on the modules to pitch their ideas to gain funds to test-trade their business. This now shifts the focus to the resource and action competences of the EntreComp framework.

EntreComp has been used as a tool in order to balance the learning outcomes of the entrepreneurship modules more evenly between theoretical knowledge, academic rigour and practical experience. This has had the additional effect of increasing levels of interest in the entrepreneurship programme pathway as well as assisting the Business School in achieving synergistic transferable skills and levels of student satisfaction.

“Essentially, we have used the framework as a tool in order to balance the learning outcomes of the modules more efficiently between theoretical knowledge, academic rigour and practical experience in entrepreneurship and enterprise skills.” – Corina Edwards and David Bolton.