Centres for Entrepreneurship at a cross road: Quo Vadis

Gideon Maas, Paul Jones, Lester Lloyd Reason

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


    Objectives: The aim of this paper is to critically reflect on the current and future role of UK based entrepreneurship centres within Higher Education institutions.

    Prior Work: Finkle et al. (2013:67) point out that “much of the growth of entrepreneurship education and research at universities can be related to the existence of a university-based entrepreneurship centre”. Despite this obvious success of entrepreneurship centres they tend to experience a lack of resources and high expectations from various and sometimes diverse set of constituencies. Within this context, the goals of entrepreneurship centres varies between new firm creation, researching market opportunities, developing enterprising and entrepreneurship skills among students and staff, and contributing to the capitalisation of knowledge (Del-Palacio et al. , 2008). Finkle et al. (2006) identified specific problems directors of entrepreneurship centres experienced such as the lack of time because of the multiple constituencies they need to deal with, obtaining enough funding for the centre to fulfil its obligations, appointing qualified staff specific to the needs of the centre, developing legitimacy within the political-institutional framework, and faculty jealousy. There are indications that some entrepreneurship centres became “profit centres” in order to support and improve the financial health of institutions which then have a negative impact on the ultimate aim of such centres. With the above discussions as background, one can argue that there is currently a proliferation of aims, roles and location of entrepreneurship centres. This proliferation adds to the debate what the role and functions of entrepreneurship centres should be?

    Approach: Due to the magnitude of this research and to enhance analytical conclusions, the researchers decided to divide the research into three phases namely the first phase consisted out of gathering data from secondary literature focusing on the role of HEIs in socio-economic development and the role of entrepreneurship centres within HEIs. The second phase focused on gathering data from entrepreneurship centres within the UK, and finally, this research focused on analysing various cases within the UK context. In this study, the first two phases of this research is reported.

    Results and Implications: Critical areas include the need for clear institutional strategies on enterprise and entrepreneurship which may influence staffing and allocation of sustainable resources to entrepreneurship centres. It might be seen that entrepreneurship centres are opportunist in finding new sources of resources to survive financially but that can have a detrimental impact on the focus of their activities such as policy formulation.

    Value: The contribution of this research focuses on improving the effectiveness of entrepreneurship centres within the UK.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication38th Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship conference
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-900862-28-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event38th Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship conference - Technology and Innovation Centre, Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Duration: 11 Nov 201512 Nov 2015
    Conference number: 38


    Conference38th Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship conference
    Abbreviated titleISBE 2015
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


    • Entrepreneurship
    • Entrepreneurship centres
    • Third mission


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