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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)

Lightbulb above a group of people to represent entrepreneurship

This autumn sees ICE launch a new Undergraduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship: Venture Creation. Why has the Institute designed a course aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs? Course creator, one-time Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year and O’Bleness Professor of Entrepreneurship at Ohio University, Prof. Luke Pittaway, explains. 

“We’re aiming this course at working professionals looking to start some form of business,” says Luke. “That includes people running businesses now or thinking about doing so, but it doesn’t have to be in a start-up environment. They could be working in a company trying to get a project off the ground, for example, or in a public body trying to kick off a social venture or even just trying to be more entrepreneurial in their working lives. It’s an opportunity for many people to upskill for the future.” 

Inspiring the UK’s entrepreneurial ‘hotbeds’ 

With entrepreneurship increasingly seen as a vital skill set in the workplace and society, ICE’s new Undergraduate Certificate in Venture Creation aims to help students acquire an intellectually sound understanding of the field while developing the behaviours and skills needed to thrive as an entrepreneur. And, as Luke points out, there’s plenty of promising talent in the area to tap into: 

“The Cambridge region is known as Silicon Fen for good reason – there are lots of technology-based businesses and people working in hi-tech, entrepreneurial environments. This course reflects that and presents an opportunity to build on that success. 

“If people working in those companies – and others around the world – are trained in venture creation, they’ll learn from both their career and academic experiences, which could see them spin out the next generation of prosperous businesses. We hope to help grow the UK’s entrepreneurial pipeline.” 

Alongside introducing fundamental concepts of entrepreneurship, such as the ideation process, business model creation and planning and launching a new venture, the Certificate provides many practical, transferable skills, including business communication skills, leading diverse teams and self-management. By the end of the course, students will have developed new capabilities that could have wide-ranging value. 

“While there are undoubtedly challenges, risks and uncertainties to being an entrepreneur,” acknowledges Luke, “There are also all sorts of motivations for people to develop their entrepreneurial skills: greater independence, more day-to-day life control and an opportunity to lead something valuable, for instance. Maybe they’ve already got a great idea that others could benefit from and want to realise a latent vision. And, of course, if they’re successful, there are potential financial and wellbeing gains too. 

“From a wider economic perspective, you only have to look at the Cambridge region itself to see the benefits of entrepreneurship. It’s become one of the UK’s hotbeds for high-value-added entrepreneurial activity, which has positive spillovers for employment and spending locally too.” 

Flexible learning for busy professionals 

The one-year, part-time course begins in October 2022 and will be delivered fully online. It recognises that students will be at different stages of their careers and have important work and family commitments, structuring content so that learners can fit it around their usual busy schedules.  

“My research background is in entrepreneurship education, but one of my roles at Ohio University is Associate Dean for Graduate Programmes,” adds Luke. “So I have a lot of experience in delivering online education for people balancing study with the rest of their lives. 

“This is an important addition to ICE’s portfolio. Entrepreneurial skills are highly relevant to an increasingly wide group of people, and it’s good to see the Institute engaging with its community. I expect the Undergraduate Certificate in Venture Creation to be a popular course.” 

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Find out more about the new Undergraduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship. 

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