The Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership proudly managed, co-sponsored, and participated in eleven enterprising activities with several international partners during the first Global Entrepreneurship Week, from November 16-22, 2008. Launched in the UK by Prime Minster Gordon Brown, Global eWeek’s mission included inspiring the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs to share their venture ideas and network across the world. Prime Minster Brown’s challenge to students was simple: “Believe in your ideas and make them happen; because entrepreneurial spirit changes the world and it changes it for good. You can be making a difference, so be bold, be imaginative, be brilliant. That’s really what this week is all about. Enjoy it.”
The Academy hosted several international lecture and video conference exchanges, including an opportunity discovery lecture with Techion University in Israel, and a technology transfer discussion with the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. Additionally, students in Bruce Litchfield’s engineering class were delighted to hear a creative virtual lecture about great engineering failures from University of York Professor Tony Ward.
Senior administrators and enterprise centre directors from the universities of: Nottingham (UK), Coventry (UK), Cardiff (Wales), Glyndwr (Wales), and the Academy, held a virtual Access Grid meeting to discuss best practices for making global universities truly entrepreneurial. Participants had the opportunity to introduce the history of enterprise at their institution, experiential learning opportunities that resonate with students, and incentives for motivating faculty to introduce entrepreneurship into the curriculum.
The group also discussed successful methodologies for embedding enterprise across campus disciplines, and the strategic implications of uniting institutions in entrepreneurial creativity and innovation. Dr. Gideon Mass, Co-Director of Coventry University’s Institute of Applied Entrepreneurship expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration: “In order to promote entrepreneurship, we ourselves need to be entrepreneurial. The ‘entrepreneurial university’ is a relatively new concept. Access Grid Meetings, where new ideas are shared and debated, can be regarded as truly enterprising. To learn from other university’s experiences, and to communicate face-to-face brings a tremendous advantage that can help academics better understand the concept of the entrepreneurial university, while supporting the accelerated application of the concept. As such, Coventry University highly values these virtual meetings, and will always be an active participant.”
Global eWeek activities also included a dynamic presentation from Academy Scholar in Residence, Robert Nelson. Bob talked about the need for entrepreneurship education around the globe, and his experiences working for the International Labor Organization. His tremendous work spreading enterprise education in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, has made a very large impact on young leaders. On his travels, Bob has seen the difference that entrepreneurial thinking can bring to impoverished communities, and he was delighted to share his experiences with Illinois students.