May 18, 2024

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University of Stirling pioneers shape Scottish Government entrepreneurship policy | About

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Two University of Stirling staff have played a formative role in developing a major Scottish Government policy paper.

Ross Tuffee and Professor Joe Little, both Entrepreneurs in Residence at University of Stirling Management School, authored the paper entitled ‘The Entrepreneurial Campus’,  which was launched by First Minister Humza Yousaf MSP on 27 June.

The publication sets out a 10-year plan to foster a world-class culture of entrepreneurial thinking within Scotland’s universities and colleges, as trends such as ‘Industry 4.0’ (the rapid changes to manufacturing and services enabled by connectivity and digitisation) disrupt established career paths and ways of doing business.

Explaining the background to the report, Professor Little said: “Traditionally, graduates would leave university and go out into the workplace where they would learn on the job, developing the awareness and acumen to succeed in a commercial environment.

“Today, in a fast-paced digital world that’s constantly responding to the latest advances and where industry is less likely to invest in graduate development, graduates need to immerse themselves in digital and entrepreneurial skills in order to hit the ground running. It is critical that universities and colleges empower students for that challenge, and our report sets out how to make that happen.”

Headline recommendations include inspiring students by embedding interdisciplinary challenges across the curriculum to help foster an entrepreneurial mindset, and attracting alumni and experienced entrepreneurs back onto campus to act as mentors and share their wisdom with the next generation.

Greater collaboration between education providers is also encouraged, alongside provision for more spinouts and enhanced support for commercialising research.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Mr Tuffee said: “Scotland’s universities and colleges have an opportunity to strengthen their socio-economic impact through inspiring and supporting a new generation of entrepreneurs. Investing in talent now means that the next generation of business founders can have the confidence to make informed decisions, and identify and exploit new opportunities. 

“Entrepreneurship involves a degree of risk, but by equipping our students and staff with the capability to address this and other challenges we can ignite economic growth, kickstarting a positive cycle of prosperity that benefits the whole of society. By bringing together successful entrepreneurs with students and staff, and coordinating support across Scotland, we can normalise entrepreneurship as a valid career path, building solid foundations for economic growth.”

Encouraging entrepreneurship in universities is a key action in the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation, which sets out a suite of actions needed to maximise Scotland’s economic potential and achieve ministers’ vision for a wellbeing economy. The paper sits alongside the Scottish Government’s recently launched National Innovation Strategy and Ana Stewart’s Pathways: A new approach for Women in Entrepreneurship.

A graduate of the University of Stirling, Professor Little spent 30 years in the oil and gas sector, working with technologists and academic researchers to inform BP’s future business strategy. In 2021, he joined the Management School as its first Digital Entrepreneur in Residence to help students and staff prepare for a digitally defined future.

Mr Tuffee is a co-founder of tech start-up of Dogfish mobile, and a specialist in scaling-up businesses. Building on more than 20 years’ experience working with FTSE100 companies, between 2020 and 2023 he served as Chair of Skills Development Scotland’s Digital Technologies Skills Group, which brought together experts across the public and private sectors to address Scotland’s digital skills gap. He was appointed an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Stirling in December 2022.

Writing for the University of Stirling Policy Blog Professor Joe Little reflects on his time in business, working with researchers, and how this experience has informed the thinking behind the Entrepreneurial Campus report.


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