Around 250 enterprise and entrepreneurship educators and practitioners met at the International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference – the premier national and international conference on enterprise and entrepreneurship education. The University of Sheffield hosted this 8th annual conference, IEEC2013, and the theme was:
‘Putting Students at the Centre of Enterprise’
The focus of the conference was on student engagement, both as a theme and as an ethos for delivery. The entrepreneurial culture of an institution, combined with its enterprise and entrepreneurship programmes and activities, helping students to make ideas happen. The entire conference reflected this straightforward notion. Regardless of the stage they are at in their educational journey, students should feel empowered by their universities and colleges to take the type of entrepreneurial action that brings about economic, social and environmental change. This conference set out to engage the student voice, enable educators and institutional leaders to respond more effectively to students’ entrepreneurial needs.
Within the overall theme of Putting Students at the Centre of Enterprise there was a mix of plenary talks and parallel sessions focusing specifically on:
- Social enterprise and social innovation;
- Postgraduate enterprise and entrepreneurship education;
- International collaboration for entrepreneurial action;
- Research-informed enterprise and entrepreneurship education;
- University-business collaborations to support student and graduate entrepreneurs;
- Policy and strategy related to developing more entrepreneurial institutions;
- And demonstrations of practice – enterprise education in action.
The format followed our highly regarded participatory style with a wide range of educator-led interactive parallel sessions, a day one ‘unconference’ session to engage delegates from the outset, and keynote sessions led by highly regarded experts in enterprise and entrepreneurship education.
Prior to the conference attendees received challenges from students and graduates. During the conference there was a student and graduate entrepreneur panel session and, while it focused on being an educator conference throughout, every aspect was designed to help institutions and individual educators to meet the entrepreneurial needs of their students more closely.
On the first evening, attendees were welcomed with a drinks reception in the Millennium Galleries – a museum of art, craft and design in the heart of Sheffield boasting a wonderful view across the city.
On the second evening, enterprise was celebrated in style with a gala dinner and awards ceremony for the National Enterprise Educator Awards at the magnificent Sheffield Cutlers’ Hall. The Grade II listed building provided a unique atmospheric blend of grandeur, style and history for a memorable awards ceremony.