Lessons from the ACEEU Triple E-Awards

First as a member of the University of WaIes Trinity Saint David team, I would like to thank all of our friends and colleagues on LinkedIn for their kind words and support with respect to the two awards received at least week’s Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial and Engaged Universities (ACEEU) awards in Florence. It was good to see so many Entrepreneurship Educators in attendance. I was delighted not only with UWTSD as The European Entrepreneurial University of the Year Award, but the Lifetime Achievement Award that I received. The latter came as a complete surprise and was very humbling.

After the results had been announced, we were asked what we needed to do to win the Award. My response was:- be persistent and determined.

At a time when Doan Winkel is comparing universities to glaciers, because they move so slowly, and asking how we can drag universities into the 21st century, we need to remind ourselves of the words of  the Ancient Greek philosopher Sextus Empiricus “The mills of Gods grind slowly but they grind small” – things take time.

Almost forty years ago to the day I, and a small team, introduced entrepreneurship education to Wales, training SMEs, students, the unemployed and women. At that time inward investment was the preferred economic development strategy, the academic argument being that if Wales was to compete in a global economy it would need global companies. So we faced both practitioner  and academic opposition but we persisted and put in motion the actions that have led to the University of Wales Trinity Saint David now being recognized as  the Triple E Entrepreneurial University of the Year. That apart entrepreneurship and indigenous small business development is now an integral component of the Welsh Economic development strategy, while entrepreneurship education is being developed in the country’s schools, colleges and universities, thanks to people like Emeritus Professor Andy and Associate Professor, Dr Kathryn Penaluna, as well as Harmonious Entrepreneurship’s own Felicity Healey-Benson

We  must also  acknowledge that universities do move – providing WE, entrepreneurship educators and scholars, continue to drive the change. It is not easy not least as academics, like most humans, dislike and resist change, but it can be done, as we have demonstrated – providing you stick to your mission and believe in it. We were supported by people like the late  Lord Morris of Castle Morris (Professor Brian Morris) in the 1980s and the University’s present Vice Chancellor (Professor Medwin Hughes), but we were also opposed and certainly subjected to Alexander Pope’s famous “damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer. And without sneering teach the rest to sneer”.   

 In “The Prince” Machiavelli makes the point that “it should be borne in mind that there is nothing more difficult to handle, more doubtful of success, and more dangerous to carry through than initiating change…”  He was right  – to succeed you have to be courageous, determined and patient but if you are you will eventually be able to look back, as I have been able to do, and see the changes. But that is not all. You will also be able to look to the future, as the Harmonious Entrepreneurship Society is now  doing, to see how entrepreneurship can change and save the planet and its people.

It can be a lonely path to follow but these days you are part of a movement – you are not alone as the Triple E Awards have demonstrated.

1 comment

  1. UWTSD winning such a prestigious Award (ACEEU) was a huge achievement, congratulations to all involved. As Professor David says in this piece, it takes a long time to initiative change but it is taking place. Now the real work starts as all those competing Universities across Europe will be watching UWTSD to see what is coming next. The UWTSD/Harmonious Entrepreneurship partnership could be the conduit to set the new paradigm for enterprise education in Higher Education.

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