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UWE Bristol: Team Entrepreneurship

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Published on August 2, 2017

Image: UWE Bristol @tom_sparey

Business degree embraces innovative teaching model which avoids the traditional classroom format

Bristol Business School’s Team Entrepreneurship programme is one of the first business degrees to embrace the innovative ‘Tiimiakatemia’ model in the UK. Pioneered in Finland, the model avoids traditional classroom formats. Instead, students launch their own business ventures. They work in a dedicated office environment within ‘team companies’ supported by a ‘team coach’.

Learning is built around three clear strands which combine to develop knowledge, skills and mindset:

  • Individual strand: students use self-managed learning principles to complete their own programme of individual development and learning, completing a personal learning contract they agree with their team companies (rationale: entrepreneurs need to manage their own learning)
  • Team strand: students develop leadership, followership and collaborative skills within team-based projects and ventures (rationale: entrepreneurs need to work with others). Each team company has its own open plan office space in the dedicated Team Entrepreneurship Hub.
  • Venture strand: students launch and run their own businesses and social enterprises (rationale: entrepreneurs need to create organisations that generate value).

Assessment focusses on enabling students to learn by doing while assignments include active engagement with external businesses. This allows project teams to address real business problems.

Each week students engage in ‘creative conversations’ with external employers and entrepreneurs, including amongst the alumni network.  In some cases this has led to longer-term mentoring for the students.

Businesses being run by graduates of the programme include Crowdreach, an agency that helps entrepreneurs raise capital through crowdfunding and Unique Insights, which offers universities sophisticated analytical software to reduce undergraduate drop-out rates.

The first cohort of students graduated in July 2016. DLHE and NSS data shows high levels of attainment and satisfaction, with 100% of graduates saying that the programme prepared them well for starting their own business. Graduates not running their own companies are proving to be highly employable within professional and managerial roles.

Students are actively involved in developing the programme – the final year project requires their input into the future of the programme which benefits future students.

I can genuinely say that I am proud to have been on this course. I am proud of the person I have become and I am proud of the team that is around me. I would not change the process I have been through. Toby Bartholomew, who established innovation consultancy services company Creative Monkey Solutions while on the course.