London lags in enterprise

September 15, 2006

London's universities and colleges are the least enterprising in English higher education, new research findings have revealed.

The capital's institutions under-perform compared with the national average in every aspect of support for entrepreneurial activity among students and staff, according to the results of a study designed to map entrepreneurship in universities across the country.

Research conducted by a team of academics from Aston University and the University of Central England shows that London's institutions score poorly across all 28 areas of support and enterprising activity identified in the study compared with other higher education regions.

In many measures - such as the presence of departmental staff who are trained in enterprise education, the offering of development sabbaticals for staff, the provision of business incubators for students, and the possession of faculty-level enterprise action plans - the proportion of London institutions supporting enterprising activity is less than half the national average.

The findings are contained in a report commissioned by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE), which staged the first international entrepreneurship educators' conference in York this week. They suggest that institutions in the North East and in Yorkshire and Humberside are the most enterprising, with the former performing at or above the national average in all but six categories.

After London, the West Midlands was the least enterprising region, but it still significantly outshines London in all but one area of activity.

Paul Hannon, the director of research and education for the NCGE, said London's apparently poor performance could be partly explained by the larger number and wider diversity of institutions in the area compared with other regions.

He also pointed out that London fared far better in other aspects of entrepreneurship measured in the research, such as student extracurricular activity.

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