Published: 17th September 2009
A SCHEME to turn undergraduates into entrepreneurs has earned the University national recognition.
Starting a business is not only good for the economy, it has become fashionable through TV shows like Dragon's Den and most universities now put students though pitching competitions such as Flying Start.
But MMU is going one step further with a project to build entrepreneurial skills into its degree courses – notably business but also the sciences, arts, humanities and professional programmes.
The Ideas, Creativity and Entrepreneurship 80/20 Scheme aims to create an enterprise option on every degree course and has created a flurry of excitement in higher education, culminating in a prestigious prize at last week's inaugural Annual Enterprise Educators Awards.
The prize from the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Educators UK was handed to Anthony Taylor, David Taylor and Fernando Lourenço of MMU Business School for their work which has already seen enterprise become an option in almost all of the school courses.
"We piloted the module with first year undergraduates last year and they can follow it through to the second year where they draw up a business plan," explained senior lecturer and deputy programmes coordinator David Taylor.
"The third year will allow students to potentially launch a real business at Innospace, our in-house graduate business incubator.
"80% of the module is based on transferable skills, which are designed to nurture enterprise and creativity, while 20% will be specific to their major degree - be it languages, physiotherapy, computing or whatever.
"The plan is to extend 80/20 across all eight faculties of MMU," he said.
Having launched a degree in enterprise in the early 2000s and a specialist Centre for Enterprise, MMU Business School also boasts one of four regional 'Enterprise Champions', Dr Claire Schofield.
Staff also support a number of initiatives from the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship and recently cultivated a new student enterprise society SIFE at the university.
The MMU team beat off competition from York, Sheffield and Queen's Belfast to win the Enterprise Educators award, collected at a ceremony at Heriot-Watt University.
Judges said: "Congratulations to the winners for looking to the future. They have also been recognised for collaboration and integration that clearly supports creative endeavour, as well as a fantastic team effort that simply hit all the buttons."