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IEED wins ESRC award for impact on business

15 May 2013

The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (IEED) at LUMS has won a national award from the Economic and Social Research Council, in recognition of its outstanding impact on business.

The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (IEED) at LUMS has won a national award from the Economic and Social Research Council, in recognition of its outstanding impact on business.

The award was made to Professor Mary Rose and Dr Ellie Hamilton, both founder members of the IEED, who came second in the business category of the ESRC's new 'Celebrating Impact Prize'. The awards ceremony took place at Church House in London on 14 May, and the awards were announced by BBC broadcaster and former economics editor Evan Davis.

The award to IEED, which brings with it £5,000 to invest in future impact activities, celebrates a variety of initiatives undertaken by the team during the past six years.

"We are thrilled that the ESRC has recognised the value of what we are doing here, and the linkages between different strands," said Professor Mary Rose. "When the IEED was set up, it was very much driven by our belief that the best way to study, teach and support entrepreneurship is to ensure there is integration between research, teaching and business engagement activities.

"A research grant from the ESRC in 2007 enabled us to focus on how universities establish productive knowledge-exchange relationships with SMEs. It brought out sharply the need to recognise the value of ‘soft skills’, and demonstrated mechanisms by which networks of SME owner-managers could work with universities on entrepreneurship education for practitioners."

Translating research into practice

The insights from that project fed into a series of business development programmes designed to build business capacity and support growth in SMEs within the North West region. The impact has been considerable.

Benefits to business

The LEAD programme, a growth programme for owner-managers focused on both business and personal development, now has more than 1,600 alumni. Together, they employ an estimated 30,000 staff and have an estimated turn-over of around £1bn.

“With clear and demonstrable benefits such as a 13.8% average increase in growth rate, a £360,000 average increase in annual turnover and 16.8% mean annual employment growth, businesses value the return on their investment from this programme,” said Ellie Hamilton.

So successful has the model been that in 2009 it was rolled-out across the South West, and, via the Work Foundation, is being expanded into London this autumn.

Offshoots from LEAD include GOLD, a simulation for non-executive boards, and Top Team, launched in autumn 2012 for senior managers within SMEs. In many cases, LEAD alumni have gone on to enrol for these additional programmes, in order to continue the strategic development of their businesses.

Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

Another of IEED’s key innovations was the introduction of an Entrepreneur-in-Residence in 2008. The first incumbent was Ian Gordon, who had managed the expansion of an international telecommunications training company and was active in a number of other enterprises.

“His brief was to act as a kind of ‘cultural irritant’ for us in IEED - challenging our working assumptions about how best to engage with business and provoking us into refining our programmes for SMEs,” explained Hamilton. He was also involved in all other areas of the IEED’s work, including teaching, and played a major role in designing and implementing the GOLD programme.

An Innovator in Residence came next: the first appointee was Mike Parsons, whose collaborative work with Mary Rose has included an award-winning book, Invisible on Everest: Innovation and the Gear Makers, together with teaching programmes on innovation and a series of Innovation for Extremes conferences.

The creation of a Guild of Residential Entrepreneurs in spring 2012 has dramatically expanded the ‘in residence’ concept: a further 20 entrepreneurs-in-residence, drawn from many different sectors, are now active in teaching, piloting new programmes and supporting the work of the Institute.

“We have seen how effective such partnerships can be for businesses and host universities,” said Hamilton, “and we are very much looking forward to what the future will bring in terms of new ways of ensuring practitioner voices play a central part in shaping the development of entrepreneurship education.”

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