There’s no doubt that the UK’s appetite for enterprise education is growing steadily. Indeed, a study by Santander at the end of 2015 showed that over a quarter of students wished to start their own business, with an estimated 600,000+ new companies being created in 2015 alone.
Conclusive statistics are not yet in for 2016, but we’re already thinking ahead to what’s in store for budding entrepreneurs in 2017. Whilst forward-thinking educators are making substantial strides in student engagement, introducing creative learning practices and exploring new, interactive processes (see our blog entitled ‘Three New Ways to Engage Students in the Classroom’ for an insight into Warwick Business School’s recent innovations), we feel there are still many challenges to overcome. Here are a few trends that we’ll be watching out for in 2017:
Though progress has been made, inclusion presents one of the biggest challenges to the future of enterprise education.
The question of inclusiveness should not be taken lightly. The gender imbalance in the tech startup world is both well documented and symptomatic of a wider problem; there’s no real reason for women to be sidelined, yet – with 93% of venture deals over the past six years going to startups led by men – the current setup is clearly not making space for them. As Erin Griffith comments:
Women are more likely than men to build a personal blog, follow a brand or celebrity, or have a social networking profile, according to Nielsen. Women check their phones more often than men and play mobile games more often than men, according to Experian. More teenage girls use Snapchat than male peers of the same age. When today’s young women become adults, they will influence more spending decisions than anyone else in their household. Yet nearly all the tech products women adopt are created, financed, designed, and built primarily by men.
Harnessing the power of social media could be one possible solution for this imbalance, as it provides a way to break through pre-existing networks (thus putting female entrepreneurs in front of the right people). The model adopted by venture capitalists like BBG Ventures, which invests exclusively in startups with at least one female founder, is equally promising.
A greater sense of diversity and inclusion can also be fostered through education, however. Here at Crowdfund Campus we’d love to see compulsory business classes being introduced into the curriculum before university, as well as practical applications of traditional subjects (statistics in a mathematics class being applied to a real-world business scenario, for example); this would encourage all students, regardless of gender, race, or background, to develop their interest in entrepreneurship.
Shifts in power
In this world of instant information, students have almost unlimited resources at their fingertips; and this means that a shift in the power balance between educator and educated must occur. Indeed, experimental moves beyond the ‘master/pupil’ relationship are already being trialled in some institutions via the notion of co-designed courses; we’d love to see more of this in 2017.
Added to the above, the ‘on demand’ environment we now live in means that universities must be more proactive than ever in terms of recruitment; no longer can an institution rely on its decades-old reputation. Students used to shopping on Amazon or even using Netflix expect customised experiences in everything they undertake – and a university or course will soon be no exception.
Indeed, with so many remote courses – and so much information available online – how can universities ensure that students still see value in a campus-based programme? The universities that succeed will be inventive, closely in touch with their students, and will adopt creative learning processes and innovative technology.
New learning spaces
‘Makerspaces’ is a buzz word that we’ve started to see more and more, with many educational communities embracing the idea of providing non-traditional spaces purely for creation. Trial makerspaces – including tools, materials, and training – have been tested, with the aim of creating models for replication; but whilst there are now ‘one-size-fits-all’ blueprints that can be adopted by universities, educators will still have to work hard in 2017 to provide alternative learning spaces that really fit their institutions. These spaces should foster team building, spark learning, and be absorbed quickly into the existing framework of campus life.
Of course, there’s no reason that these spaces can’t be both physical and digital – and online platforms are also being developed to support active forms of learning, play, and team building. Crowdfund Campus’s own Sandpit tool provides an alternative learning space through which students can test ideas – and track the consequences – in an inspiring, interactive way. Users of the Sandpit will work as a team to achieve their goals, but can also feel safe to take risks and push their ideas to the limit.
If you’d like to learn more about our Sandpit tool – and how it can be used as an effective, alternative learning space – please do contact us today. We look forward to helping you.