Review of Corporate Entrepreneurship Programmes in HEIs

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«Review of Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) Programmes in HEIs», prepared as part of the European Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) curriculum (EMBRACE) project, reviews CSE Programmes in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Europe and other relevant jurisdictions. The report is the first step in the development of a multidisciplinary European Corporate Social Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ECSEC) to be incorporated into HEI education programmes across all disciplines. The output of such a curriculum will be more rounded, employable graduates capable of contributing immediately to the intrapreneurial and social responsibilities of their employers.

The review of CSE activities in HEIs was based on methodological guidelines developed to facilitate the EMBRACE project partners perform the review. In total, HEIs in 34 countries were reviewed. With a more in depth review being performed in the 9 EMBRACE project partner countries (Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Spain and The Netherlands). The in depth review involved 63 interviews (seven in each project partner country) and 19 focus groups with relevant stakeholders (a minimum of two focus groups per project partner country).

Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) in HEIs programmes

Based on this considerable undertaking, the findings suggest that CSE is still a relatively new concept at its preliminary stages of development as only 2 (Belgium and Ireland) of the 602 HEIs reviewed offer CSE specific courses. There is, however, an abundant amount of CSE related courses offered such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, corporate entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, community engagement and social awareness (in total 1,129 were identified). Our finding show that these courses are offered, mostly (98% of the time), by Schools of Business at both postgraduate and undergraduate levels. Based on the review of the 602 HEIs, the majority (54.3%) of the CSE related programmes were delivered at postgraduate level; 41.9% of the programmes were presented at undergraduate level and only 3.8% were in the category of Life Long Learning (LLL) [the LLL category is usually associated with industry related courses/programmes]. The most common CSE related course is entrepreneurship followed by social entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility.

General awareness about Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE)

The overall level of CSE awareness in the 34 countries reviewed is very low. However, there is a lot of awareness as regards CSE related activities in each country, such as social enterprise, entrepreneurship, and Corporate Social Responsibility. But very little specific knowledge or awareness exists about Corporate Social Entrepreneurship. What we found during our research is that most respondents, when they think they are talking about CSE are in actual fact talking about CSR instead. Therefore, there appears to be confusion as well as a clear lack of awareness and knowledge as to the essence and benefits of CSE. Twenty-one of the 34 countries reviewed have CSE related policies but none have CSE specific policies.

Therefore our findings reaffirm the need for the development of the European Corporate Social Entrepreneurship curriculum (EMBRACE) and the EMBRACEedulab.

Teaching Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE)

Because of the newness of the CSE concept and the overall lack of awareness of the specifics of CSE, developing and teaching CSE courses is more challenging than teaching established business topics. Therefore innovative teaching and learning methods will be required. These courses should be hands-on and implemented in collaboration with industry employing methodologies such as learning-by-doing, gamification and working on mini projects so that students can understand the ‘real business picture’ with all its aspects. The training should be experiential with organisations creating and implementing CSE projects as part of the CSE training process.

Updated definition of Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE)

Based on the review, the EMBRACE project team has redefined its definition of CSE to be:

Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) is ‘a way of doing business’ so that all staff in any given organisation (public, private or third sector) are fully aware of their role, responsibility and contribution to the sustainable socioeconomic enhancement of their organisations and the communities in which they live and work. The CSE process includes: creating an enabling entrepreneurial environment, fostering corporate social intrapreneurship, amplifying corporate purpose and values as well as building strategic alliances in order to solve economic and social problems and to promote the success of emerging innovative business strategies.

CSE – existing policies and policy recommendations

Of the 75 policies cited in this report, 23 Social Enterprise policies, 22 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies, 16 are environmentally or social economy related, 9 are specific to innovation/entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship and 5 human rights and/or human capital related. None of the 75 policies cited are specific to Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE).

Policy recommendation CSE made during the individual and focus groups interviews are:

  • Establish laws/policies specifically promoting CSE private sector, public sector and Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) to defend CSE for the benefit of society by getting businesses involved specifically
  • Relax tax legislation for organisations using CSE procedures, procedures and practices
  • Provide incubator space and grants for companies using CSE
  • Target young people, from a very early age, to understand and realise CSE activities
  • Companies submitting projects for government grants or funding should need to
  • Include a section detailing how their project supports societal challenges and CSE
  • Promote training programmes on CSE awareness in public sector organisations

A complete report can be downloaded at the following link:

#CSE4EU #CSEmbrace #CorporateSocialEntrepreneurship #SocialIntrapreneurship

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