BCU’s research on how to improve entrepreneurship education (EE) has shaped policy in institutions around the world. Their approaches have been utilised in educational institutions in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, supporting over 1260 new start-up businesses.
Research into financial literacy EE also resulted in lending institutions better advising entrepreneurs in the UK, Ghana and Pakistan.
Research from Dr Charlotte Carey, Professor Javed Hussain and Dr Inge Hill highlighted the need for entreprenuership education to be contextually focused, rather than teaching the principles of entrepreneurship more generally.
Through educator surveys, interviews and an analysis of market needs, researchers found that tailoring entrepreneurs’ education to their specific industry, geographic or cultural context produced more successful outcomes.
Approaching entrepreneurship from different contexts, the researchers also worked with a national housing association. The work centred on developing entrepreneurial capacity amongst long-term, unemployed, female housing tenants, equipping them with the tools and confidence to improve their circumstances.
The team also investigated the relationships between culture and money lending in the case of female entrepreneurs, equipping lending institutions with the right information to present to lenders in cases where there could be family-wide consequences for defaulting on a loan.
Traditional methods of entrepreneurship education tend to avoid mention of specific fields, contexts and disciplines, instead focusing on a one-size-fits-all approach.
This strategy can leave nascent entrepreneurs lacking specific skills they might need for fringe areas of entrepreneurship, such as creative and social enterprises that have different orientations and requirements when considering starting a business.
The team’s research into entrepreneurship education has not only changed educational policy in several institutions but has also led to them working with potential entrepreneurs in different contexts.
Their work with the housing group built on their entrepreneurship research by developing recommendations centred around pre-entrepreneurship education, allowing those who might not have thought it possible to start a business to realise their potential.
Research into microfinance in multiple contexts revealed a range of issues for female entrepreneurs who apply for funding. The research showed that, in Ghana, family relationships often suffered when female entrepreneurs took out a loan. This was due to concerns around the potential repercussions of not being able to pay back the loan, and the effect that would have on the family unit.
Working with higher education institutions in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the team’s entrepreneurship research was used to create teaching materials that enhanced EE across each university.
Their research helped shape the institutional policy of all the participating institutions, which led to the new teaching materials supporting over 1260 new student/graduate business start-ups.
Collaborating with educators across 6 EU countries, the team also developed further materials enhancing entrepreneurship education in the context of social enterprise, climate change and sustainability. This work equipped the universities with more focused tools to assist future social innovators.
Working in collaboration with a UK national Housing association, their research led to a new (more nuanced) understanding and approach to supporting tenants when developing their entrepreneurship training needs. In addition, it led to a greater awareness of the role of the housing association within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, supporting entrepreneurship in some of the most deprived wards of Birmingham.
The team’s microfinance research led to new practices for lending institutions in several countries, resulting in better mechanisms that responded to the customer’s circumstances before approving the loan. In Ghana for instance, the affected businesses changed their approach to engage with the household of the lender so that the process and obligations were understood by all, reducing conflict within family groups.