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Archive for the ‘Entrepreneur’ Category

The message from Japan – joint conference investigates science/technology innovation and entrepreneurship

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

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A recent conference held jointly between the Management School and Kobe University, held at Osaka Innovation Hub, investigated science and technology innovation and entrepreneurship.

Alongside Kobe’s Vice Dean for the Graduate School of Science, Technology and Innovation Prof Kenji Kutsuna, Dr Naoko Komori, lecturer in accounting at Sheffield, organised and delivered the successful event which was funded by the Compass to Healthy Life Research Complex Programme.

Dr Komori invited a number of renowned scholars and practitioners to speak at the conference which considered ‘the message from Japan’ in the context of science/technology corporations seeking to improve their competitiveness by fostering entrepreneurship.

About 100 attendees, including academics and business representatives, enjoyed the lively programme which welcomed three keynote speakers. Prof Kentaro Nobeoka, Dean of the Institute of Innovation Research (Hitotsubashi Uni) and author of ‘Thinking Beyond Lean’ led the programme, followed by Prof Dimo Dimov (University of Bath) and AJ Van Bochoven (Head of Strategic Innovation, ‎Cambridge Consultants). They discussed innovation strategies between Japanese and European/UK corporations.

Following the formal programme, a popular networking event was held at the World Beer Museum.

Dr Komori said: “This is a landmark conference that introduces studies on Japan that are largely missing in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship. The kick-off event, held on 21 October, has enabled us to develop a strong research team in the UK that will start to develop research on translating cultural knowledge on Japan in an international arena”.

“This was the third event held by Kobe’s Graduate School of Science, Technology and Innovation. I’m delighted with the feedback we received from attendees and look forward to starting work on the event for 2018.”

This is the Management School’s second collaborative event with Kobe. Click here to read about prior activities.

Click here to see the conference website.

Taking flight: International summer placement inspires Stephanie

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

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Whether it’s for a summer or a whole year, our students are all encouraged to engage in practical work experience while at Sheffield. BA International Business Management student Stephanie Taviner has just completed an 11-week placement in Uganda, ahead of spending her next year of study in Hong Kong. She is having a truly global Sheffield experience!

She spoke to the University of Sheffield Placements Team about her experience, which she’s delighted to share with other students considering an international placement.

As they partner with the International Citizen Service, where the government funds volunteers to travel and support organisations, Stephanie found and applied for her summer placement through Balloon Ventures’ website. Balloon Ventures is a social enterprise which enables micro-finance in Ghana, Uganda and Kenya, helping entrepreneurs and start-ups to grow their businesses.

Ahead of the placement, Stephanie had to go through a comprehensive application process including an online form and an assessment day). She explained: “Questions mostly focused on why I wanted to join the programme. After I was accepted, I was asked to raise a minimum of £800, which fundraises for the project. All other expenses are paid for such as flights, visas and vaccinations I was also given a weekly stipend.”

After arriving in Totoro, Uganda, Stephanie settled in and got to grips with her responsibilities which were mostly shaped around managing four micro-businesses and one start-up entrepreneur, upholding the objective of facilitating growth and development on their business ideas, consequently alleviating them from poverty. She also worked in a team to empower local entrepreneurs and monitored Balloon Ventures’ impact on entrepreneurs and the community. She described her typical day: “My group would attend meetings with entrepreneurs in order to prepare for their pitching document. Additionally, we trained them about marketing, strategy, and their finances such as record keeping, profit analysis and cash flows in order for their business to succeed. Moreover, I was chair for the socials committee whereby I planned weekly social events for the team.

“I lived with a host family, sharing a room with a Ugandan counterpart. This gave me a cross-cultural experience as I learnt a lot about their lifestyles and made me feel part of the community.”

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Stephanie cites teamwork and analytical skills as being core to her success – both of which have been developed through her first year on BA International Business Management. Discussing how the summer placement has influenced her career aspirations, she said: “My placement has confirmed that I would like to go into a career of development, specifically supporting businesses abroad. Having this experience has made me feel that working in the third sector is where I would like to start my career after doing a masters in International Development.

“This placement has been a two-way process. I have learnt a lot about cultural experiences, living overseas and being part of a new community – meanwhile I have passed on business knowledge which will support my entrepreneurs for the future so they can have a sustainable and profitable business.”

Click here to visit the Management Gateway, where students can explore placement and internship opportunities.

Putting words into action – sale of text-to-speech start-up linked to Sheffield MBA director

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

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Dr Vasilis Theoharakis proves that tech start-up deals don’t always happen in Silicon Valley.

As director of the MBA, Vasilis hasn’t only built up an exceptional programme of experiential learning for students – he’s putting the relevant skills and theory into practice. A recent article by leading industry news site TechCrunch covered the sale of text-to-speech start-up Innoetics for whom Vasilis created the advisory board – he also managed part of the negotiation with buyer Samsung.

Innoetics’ product is ideally suited for application on intelligent interfaces, such as Samsung’s Bixby which works much like Siri on Apple products, or across other consumer electronic products and voice-powered services.

After starting his career in tech at IBM, Vasilis is now involved with a number of start-ups and does have links in Silicon Valley. He is a member of the management team at a prominent venture capitalist fund which provides seed money for the sector and passes his knowledge on to Sheffield’s MBA students who frequently interact with businesses and entrepreneurs through modules or the Career Accelerator Programme and Leadership Dinners. He said: “My experiences with companies like Innoetics ensure that I’m still at the sharp-end of business so our MBAs benefit from a realistic, up-to-date view of entrepreneurship and the start-up eco system.

“I make sure that our students put these learned skills into practice through the programme – it’s exciting to see their knowledge and abilities develop in this area via modules such as the New Venture Planning Challenge.”

This project-based core module, delivered in the second semester of the MBA, sees students work in groups to create a business plan and pitch it to a team of investors. Each team is mentored throughout by Vasilis, who guides them on selecting an entrepreneurial idea which leads into a comprehensive, fully-researched plan and presentation.

Vasilis concluded: “Entrepreneurship is one of the three key stands of our MBA programme – alongside leadership and consultancy. It’s a key skill, whether within an organisation or setting up on your own. I’m proud of what our MBAs go on to achieve and that my experience has contributed to their future.”

 

Click here to read more about the Sheffield MBA.

Click here for the full TechCrunch article.

Comment: SMEs Going International – Capacity Building in SMEs for internationalisation, confidence, connections and capability

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

By Marian Jones and Melanie Hassett

In June, researchers from the University of Sheffield, Melanie Hassett, Marian Jones, Junzhe Ji and Tina McGuinness, along with Karl Warner from Edinburgh Napier University, hosted a sandpit event on the internationalisation of SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises). During the event they engaged in conversations with guests from local SMEs, government support agencies, and other facilitating bodies.

ABOVE: Capturing experiential knowledge. The stickers on the world map illustrate locations where workshop participants have done business.

ABOVE: Capturing experiential knowledge. The stickers on the world map illustrate locations where workshop participants have done business.

The aim of this event was to capture the entrepreneurial voice from lived experiences of ‘going international’ and to understand how entrepreneurs, intermediaries/support organisations and academics can create and share knowledge with potential to enhance sustainable success for SMEs in international markets.

The mechanisms through which a firm becomes international are well known, yet research shows that many firms find that building confidence and capabilities can be as problematic as dealing with exchange rates, freight forwarding and export guarantees. From that starting point, the group enjoyed an afternoon of lively conversation and shared narratives, and collectively generated a series of issues on which to build an agenda for future engagement, research and collaboration.

Participating were 13 entrepreneurs, four representatives from three intermediary/ support orgnisations, six academics and three doctoral researchers.

 

Enablers and barriers to internationalisation

The first set of issues emerging from the group conversations concerned enablers and barriers to internationalisation.

Home country enablers were reported as: institutional factors such as government programmes, availability of financial support, services provided by private and public sector intermediaries or support organisations, and availability of knowledge. Company/ firm enablers mentioned included, having:  product, technology, or firm expertise; financial and digital capabilities, capability to access and understand information on international markets, and having a wide network and established product and corporate reputation in the UK.

International/ foreign country enablers,included having people in the right places such as culturally aware contacts (Chinese students was mentioned by one participant), access to the overseas networks of UK institutions, universal standards, internet and digitalisation beyond the home country (including understanding search engines), cultural awareness and experience, being aware of trends in international markets and industries, and interaction at international trade fairs.

Barriers to internationalisation within the home country  were reported as: risk averse boards, parochial organisational culture, shortage of experienced human resource, financial resources and managerial time, and lack of support for development of young and new companies. Conversations revealed a long list of barriers stemming from the international environment and the firms’ own difficulties in knowing how to overcome international institutional and cultural barriers. Factors mentioned included: regulations and regulatory compliance and bureaucracy: risks (including IP, currency, corruption and general uncertainty); knowledge on where to go for support and market intelligence; understanding the fit between the the firm’s capabilities and scale and scope of opportunity; and problems associated with logistics. It was pointed out that many enablers can also be barriers and a “double-edged sword” for internationalising firms.

 

The lived experience

There was a general concensus that some of the biggest challenges stem from how we as human beings respond to internationalisation as a lived experience.  One participant described the feeling as “being comfortable with being uncomfortable”.The group discussed this as being about learning to understand cultural differences and breaking cultural barriers as well as creating business relationships while feeling out of one’s comfort zone.

Another participant expressed fustration that examples of internationalisation provided by supporting bodies are about the most successful firms whereas she felt it was important to understand the complexities of the process, the hard work that goes into it and the failures that firms experience along the way. An issue that came out strongly from conversations was that widespread negative reporting in the media about international business and political issues is creating a very difficult atmosphere for firms trying to engage in international business.

ABOVE: Balloons and stones – discussing the barriers and enablers of SME internationalisation.

ABOVE: Balloons and stones – discussing the barriers and enablers of SME internationalisation.

 

Where do we go from here

In the concluding conversation the group explored areas identified by participants as deserving attention from service providers such as intermediary organisations, support organisations and universities. In summary the main themes identified were:

  • Support for the SMEs in the ‘middle bit’, after the start-up phase
  • Need to share positive and successful stories of internationalisation
  • Need to share non-traditional success stories including the honest reality and hard work
  • Learning-by-doing, and learning-by-engaging in, or constructing communities of practice
  • How to change attitudes about culture and diversity at home and abroad
  • Making international connections and networking (crossing cultural and institutional barriers and mindsets) at home and abroad
  • Extending the multicultural university experience to local business communities.

The team would like to thank everyone who participated and aims to continue the conversation towards building a research agenda to better understand how confidence, capabilities and connections contribute to successful SME internationalisation.

Please send any comments to: m.v.jones@sheffield.ac.uk or melanie.hassett@sheffield.ac.uk

Thank you to the Sheffield University Management School Research Impact and Stimulation Fund for enabling this sandpit to take place.

 

PICTURE CAPTIONS:

ABOVE: Capturing experiential knowledge. The stickers on the world map illustrate locations where workshop participants have done business.

ABOVE: Balloons and stones – discussing the barriers and enablers of SME internationalisation

Collaboration for Inclusion: Social Inclusion Works

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

SIW

Social inequalities affect us all. From a social and economic perspective, collaboration between organisations and researchers is beneficial to promote equality of opportunity, eliminate discrimination, enable inclusive growth, give voice, and change societal norms and infrastructure to catalyse inclusive communities, workplaces, and societies.

Dr Andreana Drencheva, lecturer in entrepreneurship at the Management School, is making the first steps towards doing so in partnership with University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE) and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). She’s behind Social Inclusion Works, an innovative duo of events in Sheffield (4 April and 6 June, 2017) designed to bring together social entrepreneurs, academic researchers and entrepreneurship support organisations.

By running a creative space for individuals and organisations to learn with and from each other, the first event of the series on 4 April will result in mapping the common challenges organisations working toward social inclusion face in Sheffield. In the time that passes between the two events, participants will work together to collate and co-create evidence and insights to address these challenges. On 6 June, in the second part of the event series, participants will share actionable insights that social entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship support organisations, and researchers can take forward.

Andreana said: “The aim is to find better ways to catalyse social inclusion based on best practice and evidence. Together, we can share best practice, build capacity, and collaborate on new research or training projects that can make meaningful contributions to our communities. We are excited to host these events at Sheffield, where there’s lots of positive energy already in this area.

“The fact that the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), USE and the RSA are working together is a testament to the collaborative approach of these events. Collaboration is the key here – we would like to engage with a diverse range of sectors and disciplines relevant to social inclusion such as education, housing, social and health care, political studies, technology, urban planning, and finance, to name just a few examples.”

Social Inclusion Works has a co-creative focus. The approach of the events recognises that social entrepreneurs, researchers and entrepreneurship support organisations bring different knowledge and skills. Focusing on the current challenges of social entrepreneurs, the events will not just enable a safe space to share what works, but also to co-create new initiatives related to research, training and public engagement to improve current practice. Because of this collaborative approach, it is essential that individuals and organisations register only if they can attend both dates (4 April and 6 June, 2017).

Join the events to make social inclusion work. Click here to book your place.

Entrepreneurship conference showcases regional business expertise

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

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A conference hosted by Sheffield University Management School (SUMS) is taking full advantage of the city region’s vibrant business community.

Organised in collaboration with EFMD, a European management development network based in Brussels, the conference (8-10 March) explores the theme of entrepreneurship within organisations and launches in the Management School’s Middleton lecture theatre with a panel event featuring guests from organisations including Plusnet, Tech North and KPMG.

Attracting academics from all over Europe and the US, its influence, which draws on Sheffield’s business strengths, will have global impact. Chair of the conference, Professor Tim Vorley, said: “Researchers and practitioners in the field of entrepreneurship continue to push the boundaries about what we understand about entrepreneurs and how they operate. This has important implications for entrepreneurship education, both in terms of what leading businesses and management schools teach and how they teach it.

“Entrepreneurship inside organisations is an area of management education that is growing in interest. We’re delighted to be pairing with EFMD on leading this renowned annual event – welcoming input from the region’s business community is essential to its success.”

Guests on the panel include Andy Baker, CEO of Plusnet whose career at BT saw him take leadership roles in WiFi and gaming; business leader Douglas Dawson from the Liberty Industries Group who brings his exceptional global knowledge; Laura Bennett from Tech North, whose experience in entrepreneurship and organisational development sees her lead their Founders Network; KPMG’s Head of South Yorkshire region Philippa Sanderson; and Palie Smart from Cranfield School of Management whose interests encapsulate innovation and technology management.

EFMD runs and awards the EQUIS accreditation, one of SUMS’ triple crown accreditors which positions it in the top one per cent of business and management schools worldwide.

Click here to view the programme for the conference.

Real-world insight: Our students pitch AECOM entrepreneurship expertise

Friday, December 9th, 2016

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Entrepreneurship is about more than individuals starting businesses – in fact increasingly, big businesses are thinking and working more entrepreneurially.

As a part of our MSc Entrepreneurship and Management, students pitched ideas for entrepreneurship inside an organisation to directors at AECOM, a multinational engineering firm.

The module leader, Dr Chay Brooks, emphasised the importance of working with AECOM on the module, explaining: “Visiting AECOM is a great opportunity for our students and is a part of the learning experience, the contribution of AECOM to the module brings the realities of entrepreneurial activity in a corporate setting to life.”

This semester, students have studied the theory and practice of how big businesses are looking to create environments that encourage employees to be more entrepreneurial, while continuing to deliver their core business. Our collaboration with AECOM gives students a unique opportunity to see how an organisation with over 90,000 employees is changing its working practices to become more innovative and entrepreneurial. As a part of the module students have had guest lecturers by AECOM staff that provide real-world insights, and as a part of their final assessment they presented their recommendations for them to become a more entrepreneurial organisation.

Professor Tim Vorley, Director of the Centre for Regional for Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), who developed the relationship with AECOM, said: “Taking our students out of the Management School to present their work in a corporate environment is a fantastic opportunity for them, and it is great to see them rising to the challenge as they pitch their ideas.”

The MSc Entrepreneurship and Management provides students with an understanding of entrepreneurship in different countries and contexts, as well as from start-ups to corporate organisation.

In 2017 Sheffield University Management School is hosting the EFMD Entrepreneurship Education Conference, the theme of which focuses on ‘Entrepreneurship inside Organisations’. This area of entrepreneurship education is of growing in interest to business and management schools, and is one in which Sheffield is a leading by example.

Click here to find out more about the conference.

CREED opens doors to promoting social entrepreneurship in Europe

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

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Breaking down barriers to business creation – the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED) is joining eight organisations from across Europe in piloting a digital course in social entrepreneurship for women and students from non-business studies backgrounds.

The initiative, called Open Mind, is an Erasmus+ project which over two years will develop a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in social entrepreneurship; a gamified online platform which serves as an inspiring learning environment, and an impact assessment report. Members of CREED, Dr Robert Wapshott, Dr Chay Brooks, Kate Penney and Prof Tim Vorley, attended the kick-off meeting in Athens with other academic partners. Tim said: “This is an excellent EU project drawing on CREED’s collective experience in entrepreneurship teaching and research. We are excited to be part of the partnership, aimed at developing new ways to foster entrepreneurship for social change.”

This project is key for social and economic progress in Europe. Despite the positive impact that social enterprises have, the majority of entrepreneurship courses are offered in business and economic studies so most students can’t take part. Data shows that two-thirds of young people and women in EU believe they do not have the knowledge or skills to start a business – the outcomes from this project will address this gap.

Kate said: “The MOOC will introduce students to the fundamentals of social entrepreneurship, as well as covering areas such as identifying opportunities, creating a business model and business plan, attracting investors and getting your enterprise off the ground. An e-book featuring 50 inspiring female start-up entrepreneurs will also inspire the learners.

“The game elements incorporated into the learning environment will create a participative environment where students can explore business concepts, develop key skills and work on real-world case-studies. It will also operate in five languages, expanding the reach of the project.”

At the end of the two-year development stage, the team will outline the project’s major outcomes and establish support to sustain the project.

Click here to stay up-to-date with project news.

EU-Erasmus

Project No: 2016-1-BG01-KA203-023754. This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Global entrepreneurship education conference comes to the Management School

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

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Sheffield University Management School is hosting the 2017 EFMD Entrepreneurship Education Conference, from 8- 10 March 2017.

As home to the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), a team of researchers focused on enterprise and entrepreneurship, whose expertise feeds into our Masters in Entrepreneurship and Management, the School is committed to advancing knowledge through research insights and communicating its work to policymaking and practitioner communities to promote stronger entrepreneurial environments in the UK and internationally.

Director of CREED, Professor Tim Vorley, is leading the event. He said: “Researchers and practitioners in the field of entrepreneurship continue to push the boundaries about what we understand about entrepreneurs and how they operate. This has important implications for entrepreneurship education, both in terms of what leading businesses and management schools teach and how they teach it.

“Entrepreneurship education is no longer characterised by classes on start-up and business plan assessments. Over the past five years the EFMD Entrepreneurship Education Conference has showcased a range of pedagogic approaches and practices at the frontiers of the field. In 2017 the theme of the EFMD conference focuses on ‘Entrepreneurship inside Organisations’ as an area of entrepreneurship and management education that is growing in interest.”

Working closely with businesses and organisations of all sizes, both on our doorstep and globally, is essential to all aspects of Sheffield University Management School; by doing this our research is informed by practitioners, our students benefit from a comprehensive employability programme, and we know we’re teaching cutting-edge material across all courses.

Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, Dr Robert Wapshott, said: “Students at business schools, from graduates to executives, are increasingly concerned with the question of how to foster entrepreneurship inside organisations, which for academics and entrepreneurship educators leads us to rethink the learning environments we’re developing. Through the conference participants will be encouraged to reflect upon their own professional practice.”

The notion of entrepreneurial practices occurring within organisations is increasingly regarded as a driver of productivity and profitability. During the conference, keynotes, sessions and workshops will explore how companies have come to approach the challenge of becoming more entrepreneurial and what this means for entrepreneurial education and entrepreneurial educators.

Click here to find out more and book your place.

Management School joins ‘Startup Europe Comes to Universities’ initiative

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

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The number of university graduates willing to start new businesses—the largest producer of private sector jobs over the past 25 years—still depends heavily on the entrepreneurial focus and structure of the institutions from which they graduate.

Years ago, it was rare for a student to have entrepreneurship experience because the cost of starting a business was so high and they didn’t have the resources or expertise to pull it off. Times have changed with ‘Startup Europe comes to Universities (SEC2U)’.

SEC2U is an initiative endorsed by the European Commission (Startup Europe) to create a strong culture of entrepreneurship and innovation within universities across Europe. This consists of a series of events that bring together entrepreneurs, business people and representatives of local governments and universities in order to showcase the available support, share success stories and cases of failure, as well as network. Sheffield University Management School is joining the first edition of SEC2U which will take place from 17 to the 21 of October.

Two free events are taking place at the School, led by Prof Tim Vorley, Dr Robert Wapshott and EU project officer Kate Penney. On Wednesday 19 October there is a two-hour workshop (10am-12pm) for students with an interest in learning the basics of entrepreneurship, business and digital startups, followed on Thursday 20 October by an interactive discussion (Google Hangouts, 10-11am) on international and collaborative partnerships in entrepreneurship education. Click here to book.

This cooperation has been led by STARTIFY7 at the University of Sheffield, a step towards internationalisation also taken by Cambridge University, University Nova of Lisbon and Dublin City University.

This is a time to showcase the work of universities in the entrepreneurship area, build bridges between university communities and startup ecosystems, and facilitate connections.

Take the right step towards your future and don´t miss out on this opportunity. Click here to get your free ticket.