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Making Universities More Entrepreneurial. Dr. David Woollard Special projects Manager. Making Universities More Entrepreneurial. Entrepreneurship in universities is not new To me , issues seems to be: broadening scope scaling up. What is an Entrepreneurial University?.

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Making universities more entrepreneurial

Making Universities More Entrepreneurial

Dr. David Woollard

Special projects Manager

Making universities more entrepreneurial1
Making Universities More Entrepreneurial

  • Entrepreneurship in universities is not new

  • To me, issues seems to be:

    • broadening scope

    • scaling up

What is an entrepreneurial university
What is an Entrepreneurial University?

First coined by Etzowitz (1983) to describe

“institutions that are critical to regional economic development”

What is an entrepreneurial university1
What is an Entrepreneurial University?

Third Mission (1998)

“To be an integral part of regional economic development”

Ergo – “entrepreneurial universities are those that effectively deliver on the third mission”

What is an entrepreneurial university2
What is an Entrepreneurial University?

  • Etzkowitz’ original definition related to “research intensive” universities

  • Current dominant view (especially held by policy makers and funders) is that the “third mission” is about the commercialisation of science

  • Therefore, entrepreneurial universities are those that produce patents and spin-out companies

Policy context
Policy context

  • Science policy

  • Distribution of research funding

  • Growing pressure to specialise

Problems with this approach
Problems with this approach

  • Science represents a (significant) minority of overall university activity – what do the rest of us do?

  • Push for spin-outs but major problems of attracting STEM students

  • Strategy is questionable. For example:

    • Only 7 US universities made net return on patenting

    • 90% of returns from handful of patents

    • Spin-outs rarely grow into large businesses (Laredo, 2007)

  • What about technology adopters?

  • Commercialisation of IP represents less than 15% of GDP in the UK

Problems with this approach1
Problems with this approach

  • Even Etkowitz later recognised the need for a broad engagement (mid and low tech firms)

  • Economic development should be stimulated through a range of engagement activities

  • Business Schools and Enterprise Centres can be used to serve both agendas

How do we get to the promised land
How do we get to the promised land?

  • Clark (1996,1998) – 5 pathways to transformation

  • Tailored individual entrepreneurship - Gibb (2002)

  • Corporate Entrepreneurship Kirkby- (2006)

Characteristics of an entrepreneurial university
Characteristics of an entrepreneurial university

  • Management support

  • Rewards/reinforcement

  • Work discretion / autonomy

  • Expanded development periphery

    From Woollard (2010) based on Corporate and University Entrepreneurship Literature

Still have a big issue with the approach
Still have a big issue with the approach

  • Introspective

  • Universities are very diverse

  • Most do not have “strong” science base

  • Policy instruments are blunt

  • Wider entrepreneurial impact rarely considered

Entrepreneurial impact
Entrepreneurial Impact

  • Universities can have major entrepreneurial impact without necessarily being an entrepreneurial organisation

  • Biggest impact on economy and society of any university is its through graduates

Entrepreneurial impact1
Entrepreneurial Impact

  • Creating commercialisable IP

  • Patent licensing and spin-out companies

  • Supporting the creation of non-IP based companies

    • Students and staff through enterprise programmes and incubators

    • Start-up support for the wider community

  • Assisting existing businesses

  • Developing enterprising graduates and staff


Enterprise Education has the scope to have the greatest entrepreneurial impact on the economy and society

3s theory woollard 2010
3S Theory – Woollard (2010)

Management efforts need to focus on generating entrepreneurial activities that are:

  • Systemic – widely distributed

  • Significant – of a scale to make a difference

  • Sustained – become accepted norm of behaviour

Making universities more entrepreneurial




Funding at institutional and project level


Commercialisable core competencies

Time availability


Organisational process driven by

Systemic, Significant, Sustained

entrepreneurial behaviour through performing actions to:

Find and evaluate opportunities

Endorse, refine and shepherd opportunities

Identify, acquire and deploy resources


Individual level

Financial rewards

Professional development

Impact on career

Institutional level

New products/services

Spin-out companies

Wider market penetration

Competitive advantage

New structures/systems

Better service capability


Financial returns

Diversified funding base

Strategic Choice (autonomy)

Entrepreneurial culture



Recruitment and staff development policies

Organisational context

Scope to invest

Institutional focus

External context

Perceptions of institution among external academics



Formal incentive systems

Scale of external interaction

Numbers of staff involved in entrepreneurial projects

Devolved budgeting

Organisational Context

Size of institution

Institutional focus

Number of research centres

Structural flexibility/rigidity

Adaptable systems

External Context

Economic environment

Policy environment

Existing collaborative arrangements



Investment appraisal systems

Risk assessment systems

Outcome targets

Commercialisation infrastructure

Organisational Context

Structural flexibility/rigidity

External Context

Government pressure to commercialise



Initial commitment

to entrepreneurship

Desire for change

Organisational Context

Dominant culture

Resistant staff

External Context

Funding regimes


Management support (Kuratko et al and Clark)

Rewards/reinforcement (Kuratko et al)

Work discretion/autonomy (Kuratko et al)

Expanded development periphery (Clark)