The NSW Government has announced $25 million in funding for the establishment of a Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, a joint venture between NSW universities and TAFE NSW, to “[place] NSW at the epicentre of entrepreneurship in the Asia-Pacific region”.
Announced as part of this year’s budget, the School will look to bring together high performing students from various disciplines to learn and collaborate as part of their degree or TAFE course, receiving training and mentoring. About 1,000 students are expected to go through the School each year.
Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said, “Entrepreneurship is critical to driving innovation and that is why it’s so important we educate and encourage young people to create new businesses focused on the global market.
“This School will foster collaboration and use the expertise within our world-class universities across a range of disciplines. We want to help create a critical mass of informed, dynamic and enthusiastic professionals with the practical skills required to thrive as an entrepreneur. The SSE will foster the emergence of small innovative companies with the potential for rapid growth, and that means job creation.”
The School, which is expected to be up and running in 2017, will be modelled on Sweden’s Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, which has five member institutions. It offers three types of courses: core courses which follow the four stages of the venture creation process, from pre-idea to managing a growing business; context courses, which look at s ubject in the context of a specific area of industry, such as design; and skills courses, which aim to teach practical techniques across a variety of skillsets, such as negotiation and financing.
One in three of its graduates have gone on to launch successful startups such as SoundCloud, while other graduates include the executive chairman of H&M.
Anthony Roberts, Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, said the SSE will look to achieve similar results, and is well-primed to do so given the number of startups already based in Sydney.
“The SSE will not only ensure we remain number one in the nation, it will put NSW at the epicentre of entrepreneurship in the region,” Roberts said.
The question of whether entrepreneurship can be taught and whether universities are best placed to teach it – at least when it comes to the particular brand of entrepreneurship required in startups – has been debated over the last few years, but with the state’s major universities all implementing their own startup programs and opening hubs – UNSW has UNSW Innovations, for example, with its FoundersLab and MVP Fund to help fund the development of its students’ MVPs, while UTS is looking to grow its Hatchery pre-incubator, and the University of Sydney’s Incubate gears up for its next program – bringing their efforts together in a more structured, course-like capacity could prove powerful.
With both talk of cuts to TAFE funding swirling and the fact that TAFE is also left out of the conversation when we discuss fostering entrepreneurship in higher education, bringing TAFE students into the School is also important.
John Barilaro, Minister for Skills, said the partnership between the education providers and industry will ensure that students acquire skills that are central to building a workforce of the future, and that it is important that the opportunity is open to students from metro and regional areas equally.
Image: Gladys Berejiklian. Source: Daily Telegraph.