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Enterprise and Innovation in the Curriculum

Vice Chancellor’s Inspiring Enterprise Week

24th to 28th March: for staff to enable their students to develop a mindset & capability for enterprise. 

What do we mean by enterprise? Enterprise is not just about business.  It is a skillset which enables someone to spot a problem or identify a need, seize the opportunity and put their own ideas into practice. This includes skills such as creativity, innovation, opportunity recognition, networking, negotiation and commercial awareness. Enterprise is about more than simply having ideas: it is about the subsequent action and making those ideas happen.

For student activates click here

*Dr. Colin Jones & his teaching philosophies* (this event has now ended). The event offered a chance to consider teaching that enables student futures through the teaching philosophies of award winning author and educationalist Dr. Colin Jones.  Colin argued that entrepreneurs are 'found' and educators must be aware of this to ensure all students' develop a capability for enterprise.  21 staff from across Cardiff University attended.  

*A Day of Dangerous Ideas* (don’t be afraid, it's just one day)

Mon 24 March | 12.00-14.30  |  Seminar 4J, Students’ Union | email: enterprise@cardiff.ac.uk

Do you have thought provoking or downright dangerous ideas to change the way Cardiff students have the opportunity to develop their skills?

Is embedding skills such as enterprise and employability within every subject a dangerous idea?  Does a University even have a role in skills development? Enterprising, entrepreneurial, employable:  which skills do graduates really need?  How can I make enterprise or employability relevant to my discipline?

This event aims to consider questions such as those set out above and give both staff and students an opportunity to share views. However, to ensure discussions are relevant, the delegates will themselves get involved in setting the topics to be discussed and will be asked to bring along their own dangerous ideas for improving Cardiff University students’ experience and embedding skills development in the curriculum.  Students and recent graduates will also be invited to put forward their views. This event will start with a free buffet lunch.

*Embedded Enterprise Exchange* (examples of enterprise/innovation across the disciplines)

Weds 26 March | 10.00-16.00 | Aberdare Room | info/booking

Can enterprise actually be contextualised and made relevant to all HE disciplines? Or are there disciplines which are impossible to reach? This Enterprise Educators UK event will bring together academics with practical experience of contextualising and embedding enterprise/innovation in four key HE areas: Biomedical and Healthcare, Physical Science, the Creative Arts, Humanities and Social Science. We might not quite manage every letter from A to Z, but delegates will be able to take home examples to try out themselves and fill in the gaps! 

*Audience with Enterprise Educators* (apologies this event has now been cancelled by the HEA)

Thurs 27 March | info/cancelled. This event has unfortunately been cancelled by the HEA due to low numbers registered one week in advance.  Apologies. 

*Curriculum ideas - drop in & eat donuts (for academic staff interested to chat about invigorating their teaching with enterprise)

Friday 28 March | 13.00-16.00 | Centre for Skills, Enterprise and Volunteering, Students Union 

Bring your module descriptors, open minds and lets start a conversation around how we can add value through the sparkle of enterprise and innovation skill development in your teaching.  We're also happy to talk you through the start up support we have available...let's eat donuts, drink coffee and chat.


Inspiring Enterprise Week: Did you know you could run your own event? Download: Inspiring Enterprise Week 


Enterprise in your degree

Cardiff University Enterprise has worked with students to develop their personal enterprise capability and potential new venture start-ups since inception in 2008.  From October 2012 the team broadened it's focus from direct extra curricula support of students to supporting academic staff to drive enterprise through their subject discipline.

Over the last twelve months we have hosted three academic sharing forums and discussed the application of enterprise with colleagues from architecture, bioscience, business, chemistry, law, computer science, English, engineering, geography, healthcare, journalism, mathematics, medicine, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, physics, psychology, religion, social science and Welsh.  

From an essence of ‘taking an idea and making it happen’, we have found and supported many examples of where contextualised enterprise goes on to aid subject learning and a student’s ability to ‘make a difference’.  Over the next year we pledge to continue our support of individual academic staff in their quest to embed skill development within their programmes using enterprise as a relevant and real way of applying research led teaching to the employability agenda. 

What is ‘enterprise capability’?

Enterprise capability has a connection to employability, innovation, commercialisation, knowledge transfer and business start-up, however there is a distinction between the generic use of the term ‘enterprise’ in reference to business venture creation and a sense of practical action. The development of an entrepreneurial capability moves beyond knowledge acquisition to a range of intellectual, emotional and social skills that allow for the application of creative ideas and innovations.  It can include ideas development, taking the initiative, critical thinking, identifying opportunities, innovation, problem solving, making things happen, networking, communication, strategic thinking and decision making.  Development of one’s enterprise capability could be considered as a modern teaching theory that is trans-disciplinary.

Two approaches to embedding enterprise into teaching

The QAA (2012 p6) draws a distinction between ‘learning about enterprise’ and ‘learning for enterprise’. ‘About’ refers to traditional lectures and theoretical underpinnings of a particular theme from within the enterprise and entrepreneurship agenda (eg intellectual property, establishing a small firm).  ‘For’ is more experiential by nature drawing students into a meaningful and relevant theory led context that allows for self-learning, reflection, visualisation of opportunities for innovation, and then builds towards gaining an insight into what it means to be enterprising.  When considering enterprise each approach has a place, as does the combined approach.  There is no conflict with research led teaching as subject driven theory should lead in each case, with enterprise activity being woven in and often unstated.


National Enterprise Educator of the Year 2013 - Sponsored by the Higher Education Academy, Enterprise team member Neil Coles won a National Council for Entrepreneurship Education and Enterprise Educators UK Award for his work in supporting academic staff to develop enterprise through their teaching.  

Exceptional Enhancement of the Student Experience Award Building on his UK-wide Award, towards the end of 2013, Neil Coles was also awarded a Cardiff University Celebrating Excellence Award for Exceptional Enhancement of the Student Experience, demonstrating how enterprise through the curriculum can advance the student experience in preparation for life after university.  


Driver Documents


Internal Publications


Curriculum Showcase

“The module has allowed me to appreciate both the scientific and business aspects of my degree and resulted in a drastic improvement in my ability to present, work as part of a team and exhibit initiative and leadership qualities. The course has also dealt with real-life business examples allowing me to gain hands on, practical experience of problems within the bio-business sector. In addition the module has broadened my career opportunities and highlighted prospective career pathways that I was previously unaware of.” – An extract from the case study write up of the Biotechnology and Business module which was recently implemented within the Biotechnology programme at Cardiff University.

“At the time of commencing the business module, I was confused as to the relevance that enterprise and commercial awareness had on my chemistry degree . . . It soon became apparent that in the post–degree economic working environment, a knowledge and awareness of commercialisation would stand me in good stead for any career path I choose to follow.”- An extract from a piece of student writing which reflects upon the relevance of the recent Chemistry enterprise education sessions.

“A business strategy game that simulates the founding and development of a business whilst fostering creativity, communication, decision making, team collaboration and business planning skills. . . students were provided with a brief scene setting scenario which challenged them to generate business strategy and plans for founding and developing a new private optometry practice” – An extract from the case study write up of the recent Optometry enterprise session.

“The core aim of the lab to market simulated exercise is to show students how all the basic science they have learnt during their degree is integrated in the real world. This is particularly evident in the pharmaceutical industry in the development of novel therapeutic entities. Requiring students to develop a novel drug makes them think about many different aspects of their course and allows them to consolidate their individual knowledge.” – An extract from the case study write up of a recent enterprise and industry oriented Pharmacy module.


Direct contact with the enterprise through the curriculum team can be made by email or phone - 

Neil Coles (ColesN@Cardiff.ac.uk), Athena Tonis (TsonisA@cardiff.ac.uk) or Jahanara Begum (BegumJ1@Cardiff.ac.uk)Central telephone / email -  02920781442 / enterprise@cardiff.ac.uk