Students on a pioneering new business degree course at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln won’t spend their time sitting in lectures and reading books on business theories.
Instead they will call themselves team entrepreneurs, create their own start-up companies and take part in business coaching sessions in creative labs. The new Business (Team Entrepreneurship) degree course starts in September and Elinor Vettraino, the new Academic
Co-ordinator for Business and Enterprise at BGU, is busy recruiting students.
“Team Entrepreneurship is a very exciting opportunity because it straddles the business world and the academic world,” said Elinor. “It’s pioneering: we’re only the fourth university in the country to offer a course of this sort. We’re part of a small, select group of like-minded institutions which want to push the boundaries of business education away from traditional delivery and towards a full experiential learning experience.
“Our students will be known as team entrepreneurs – that’s important because they will see themselves as being business people. Our job is to help them balance the duality of being an entrepreneur and being a full-time student. We will coach the team entrepreneurs how to run their own business; their job is to learn by doing.”
BGU intends to recruit 20 first-year students of all ages and from all backgrounds to make up the first cohort in September. “We’re marketing the course not only to schools and colleges but also to more experienced people who may want to set up their own business,” said Elinor. “It would be lovely to get a mix of ages as people with a bit more experience have a better understanding of life and can contribute different things to the group.”
Unlike other students, who attend lectures and tutorials, take exams and write dissertations, BGU’s team entrepreneurs will set up their own businesses in order to make real money.
“The idea is that by the end of the course they will have made enough money between them to send every student on a round-the-world trip for six months. The target is 10,000 euros each.”
But the Team Entrepreneurship course is not about making a profit at the expense of everything else.
“The students will also need to understand the social responsibility aspect that goes along with running a business, and they’ll be working with Karen Lowthrop from the social enterprise Hill Holt Wood near Lincoln to develop that,” said Elinor. “It’s very important that the team entrepreneurs get excited about giving something back to the community. In their third year, for example, they will go overseas and support a social enterprise.”
The academic discipline known as Team Academy originated in Jyväskylä in Finland in the early 1990s and now there is a global network of academics running this kind of programme.