Skip navigation to content

Enterprise Education Capabilities

Enterprising behaviours, attributes and skills are highly interconnected. The following capabilities show how behaviours, skills and attributes can be highlighted to students and brought into teaching and learning (adapted from QAA, Enterprise and entrepreneurship education: Guidance for UK higher education providers 2012 and 2018).

Creativity and innovation

Ideas led by enterprise and entrepreneurship are founded on the ability to think and act creatively.

Students should be able to:

  1. generate multiple ideas, concepts, proposals, solutions, or arguments independently and/or collaboratively in response to identified problems and opportunities
  2. think speculatively, employing both convergent and divergent approaches to arrive at appropriate solutions.

Delivery should include opportunities for:

  • creative thinking
  • conceptualisation
  • innovation
  • problem solving
  • understanding the value of intellectual property.

Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation

Enterprise and entrepreneurship rest on recognising real opportunities from a spectrum of possible ideas.

Students should be able to:

  1. identify, analyse and respond to relevant opportunities
  2. develop and produce multiple solutions to identified problems, shortfalls and similar challenges
  3. be flexible and adaptable, seeing alternative perspectives and offering a choice of solutions
  4. review and evaluate multiple solutions in contexts that anticipate and accommodate change and contain elements of ambiguity, uncertainty and risk.

 Delivery should include opportunities to:

  • recognise or create multiple opportunities through actively making connections
  • make connections as a result of problem solving, evaluating and assessing ideas, and iterative development strategies involving critique and enactment
  • develop relevant subject expertise, as well as awareness of contemporary issues, both of which should feature strongly in any strategies for recognising opportunity.

Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement

Enterprise and entrepreneurship, by their intrinsic association with newness, rely on an ability to make decisions; even where these must be based upon limited or unclear data. Decisions to act are made within a context of uncertainty and through iterative processes.

Students should be able to:

  1. source and retrieve relevant contextualised information
  2. evaluate information and formulate arguments, both independently and in a team
  3. combine analysis with intuition and intuitive decision making, drawn from subject expertise and evaluation of critical incidents.

 Delivery should include opportunities to:

  • research and collect evidence
  • critically analyse data and other information
  • intuitively make decisions under uncertainty
  • use judgement to take calculated risks
  • take the initiative to make things happen

Implementation of ideas through leadership

Successful enterprise and entrepreneurship depends upon the ability to take action, and implement decisions, through social processes.

Students should be able to:

  1. manage resources in response to a problem or need, demonstrating an enthusiasm for enquiry and the motivation to sustain it.

Delivery should include opportunities for:

  • leadership and social and team management within projects and other activities
  • productively linking intention, context and process with outcome and dissemination,
  • development and maintenance of effective relationships with audiences, as well as with participants, and co-creators
  • evaluation of resilience and adaptability, using effectiveness in relationships as a gauge.

Reflection and action

Students should be able to:

  1. reflect upon, review and evaluate the solutions they have explored
  2. identify personal development needs and other changing factors through the reflective process
  3. evaluate their own learning and respond to identified shortfalls (skills gaps)
  4. show resourcefulness in seeking development guidance or mentoring from both external and internal contacts.

Delivery should include opportunities for:

  • developing reflection techniques
  • skills analysis
  • reviewing networks
  • self-development
  • action planning
  • use of iterative, discovery and learning processes, including learning from failure.

The experience of generating novel and associative solutions in response to perceived problems may be more meaningful and useful than the final outcome itself.

Communication and strategy skills

Successful enterprise and entrepreneurship depend upon clear and impactful communication to gather support. Clear communication and interaction with others, alongside effective planning, is a key tool for developing and implementing strategies.

Students should be able to:

  1. employ visualisation and flexible planning skills to interact effectively with others, articulate ideas, and present information or outputs to audiences
  2. draw on the views of others to inform the development or enhancement of their work
  3. provide research and other evidence to suggest how ideas can be taken forward over time, taking changing environments and emerging technologies and concepts into account.
  4. communicate enthusiasm to 'sell' new ideas, concepts or solutions

Delivery should include opportunities for:

  • thinking about and visualising the future, scanning the environment, planning,
  • communicating, directing, and rationalising
  • building relationships, building trust, influencing, networking, negotiating, and reviewing progress
  • multiple forms of communication for a range of audiences including new media technologies
  • learning how intellectual property and issues of confidentiality impact on communication.

Related Links


Enterprise Educators UK (EEUK)

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP)


Dr Ian Smith
Associate Dean Education (Arts and Divinity)

Dr Jon Issberner
Acting Dean of Science

Dr Kevin McNamara
Academic Policy Officer (Taught Degrees)