Entrepreneurial Universities Can Boost Economic Development
A university is an institution of higher (or tertiary) education and research which grants academic degrees in various academic disciplines. Universities typically provide undergraduate education and postgraduate education. A university has two principal functions: providing instruction on matters of intellectual importance and conducting research on those same matters.
The capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. The most obvious example of entrepreneurship is the starting of new businesses. Entrepreneurial spirit is characterized by innovation and risk-taking, and is an essential part of a nation’s ability to succeed in an ever changing and increasingly competitive global marketplace.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced $5 billion Campaign for a Better World which includes Innovation and Entrepreneurship to accelerate “the path from idea to impact.” The university does well in the world through that translation into practice — converting the fundamental knowledge that grows at the university into real things and real actions that have real consequences for real people. And that translation at the university is entrepreneurship. The university in 21st-century would engage more fully with society than at any time in the past.
Universities have played a vital role in creating opportunities through entrepreneurship in the society. Like University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom has worked out to enterprise Nigeria. It objected on to tackle gender inequalities identified within Nigeria’s culture and develop strategies to address the findings. Additionally, to create an operational strategy for a new start up business incubation, subsequently providing a framework for other institutions within the Sub-Sahara region to support regional economic growth.
A study by the U.S. Department of Commerce has found that universities around the country promote entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration among students, faculty members, and industries across multiple sectors. Apart from academic activities, universities also play a role as entrepreneur. Like, the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) works with business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the state to facilitate business growth and improvement, and to launch successful new companies. Through no-cost consulting, low-cost entrepreneurial education and strategic facilitation, SBDC experts serve as resources for small and emerging mid-size companies.
Since 1999, Cambridge University Entrepreneurs have been supporting and accelerating business innovation and entrepreneurship, and providing training for hundreds of students, staff and alumni. They have awarded over £600,000 in prize money to more than 60 start-ups and have seen many of them develop into successful companies. These companies have contributed greatly to the local region and beyond, raising over £150 million of investment and producing over 500 full-time jobs. The centers contributing significantly include Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club and Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning
Entrepreneurship is important for economic development. The benefits to society will be greater in economies where entrepreneurs can operate flexibly, develop their ideas, and reap the rewards.
Entrepreneurs are of two types, first is “innovative entrepreneurs,” who bring new products and processes to the market and introduce new services, marketing techniques, or business structures, and second are “replicative entrepreneurs,” who enter existing markets with unique selling propositions.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced $5 billion Campaign for a Better World which includes Innovation and Entrepreneurship to accelerate “the path from idea to impact.” The university does well in the world through that translation into practice — converting the fundamental knowledge that grows at the university into real things and real actions that have real consequences for real people.
Universities can be a significant engine for economic growth in their local communities and beyond. They are frequently large employers in their communities and large purchasers of goods and services. They often spend significantly on building and construction. Attracting grants from the federal government and other sources, they spend large amounts on research. This research in turn can lead to intellectual property, such as patents, that is licensed to established companies and entrepreneurial spinouts. Often, this encourage businesses to locate near the origin of that intellectual property. Last, but certainly not least, universities prepare and train students to participate in the workforce.
Universities are considered as “powerhouse of research”. Therefore, university creates alumnus that work out and volunteer for university. Like the alumni of University of Virginia conducted a survey undertaken in 2013 to examine the entrepreneurial efforts of the alumni of the university. They defined entrepreneurial alumni as those who founded new ventures, who are one of the first five employees of a new venture, who serve on the governing or advisory board of a new venture, or who provide capital to entrepreneurial ventures (e.g., angel investors and venture capitalists). Ventures include for-profit businesses as well as non-profit organizations. Out of the 22,757 respondents to the survey, 6,564 indicated that they were entrepreneurial. These entrepreneurial alumni provided details on 8,979 ventures that they were involved in, suggesting an average of 1.37 ventures per alumnus.
On the track of university as an entrepreneur, the cutting-edge programs, resources, events and opportunities have helped to establish UT Austin as an essential engine of the booming innovation and knowledge economy, and they are proud to be at the forefront of the intersection between higher education, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurial universities boost economic growth by introducing innovative technologies, products, and services. Increased competition from other entrepreneurs challenges existing firms to become more competitive. Entrepreneurial universities provide new job opportunities in the short and long term. Entrepreneurial activity raises the productivity of firms and economies.
There is a close relationship between entrepreneur and the policy. According to the Independent Entrepreneurship Group “Without entrepreneurs there can be no prosperity. Without effective policies entrepreneurs cannot succeed”. The connection between entrepreneurs and policies for creating enabling environment for entrepreneurship has pushed enough success up to the organizations and their stakeholders.
Universities do not contribute only to academic and research purpose, it also provides with much attention to society’s culture, business uplift, and potential development for people and the environment. Universities’ projects based on entrepreneurship has provided opportunity to know cultures of other countries, like University of Wolverhampton’s project for enterprising Oman for Entrepreneurial students from Oman in either their final year of study or having recently graduated, had objective to deliver an enterprise programme, “enriched by cultural experience to a group of entrepreneurs”. Cultural experience gained during weekend down-time provided the entrepreneurs with a rich and personal understanding of United Kingdom culture. This was the first time away from home for most of the participants, providing was a unique contrast to their own lives in Oman.
The role of the university has continued to evolve along with the underlying economic forces shaping economic growth and performance. The investment in new knowledge have triggered a boosted economy. There is a huge space for universities to act as leader for economic development through investing in human capital, resources, and earn for itself.
If universities strive to gather students and researchers for creating ideas for (knowledge) economy, then it would parallel impact both the society and university. Economy based on competition, innovation and entrepreneurship fosters opportunities for better and sustainable economy for the communities and society as whole.
In my opinion, firstly, universities in Pakistan should build entrepreneurship centres like Mehran University of Engineering & Technology, Jamshoro has established Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre at its main campus in Jamshoro. This centre provides incubation and entrepreneurship facility to those startups which are selected on the basis of United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals particularly focused at Education, Energy, Food, Health, and Water.
Secondly, students must be provided with opportunity to develop their valued novel ideas for new small startups, thirdly universities should develop linkage with industry and make partnership for research on entrepreneurship, fourthly the faculty and students should be given chance to contribute their business models, fifthly universities must adopt society as pitch and make themselves the player for business development, sixthly universities must be fronting to contribute to the society through its capacity of knowledge transfer, and seventhly government should develop Entrepreneurship Policy to build strengthened entrepreneurship ecosystem benefiting youth considering as instrumental in economic development.
About writer: Mr. Furqan Hyder is an entrepreneurship mentor and development researcher. He works as Associate Program Officer in a public sector university in Sindh in a government-funded SDG-focused social entrepreneurship project. He tweets @furqanppolicy.