A PROGRAMME focused on giving Bangor University students an interdisciplinary approach to enterprise and creativity alongside industry has been recognised as one of the top initiatives in the UK. 

Bangor’s Enterprise by Design programme has been named the winner of the enterprise catalyst award at the 2021 National Enterprise Educator Awards.   

The prize was awarded on the strength of the programme’s impact on both students and regional development since its inception in 2010, with 72 per cent of all students who have taken part in the programme identifying an increase in their entrepreneurial skills. 

The awards, which have run since 2009, focus on excellence within entrepreneurial and enterprise education within higher and further education in the UK. 

The 2021 project saw Bangor University working alongside social enterprise Growing for Change, entrepreneur Emlyn Williams, and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. 

Students were challenged to develop proposals for food enterprises which addressed food poverty in a manner that is financially viable, can provide positive health benefits and help with the economic regeneration of the region. 

Undergraduates from the business, computer science and electronic engineering, psychology, music and media, and natural science courses took part in the programme this year.  

Academic lead for Enterprise by Design and director of Pontio Innovation at Bangor University Dr Andrew Goodman said the scheme aims to fill the void and provide students with the experience of working in interdisciplinary and intercultural teams.

The winning team not only secured a £2,500 prize to further develop their enterprise idea alongside other Gwynedd businesses, but also took part in a virtual idea ‘boot-camp’ with members of Vietnam’s Hanoi University of Science and Technology. 

The meeting was the first stage in a wider expansion of the initiative, with international pathways established to allow students to gain experience of collaboration with partners on a global stage.  

Enterprise by Design will also be extended to younger entrepreneurs, with the programme to be delivered to pupils in secondary schools across north-west Wales for the first time later this year. 

Academic lead for Enterprise by Design and director of Pontio Innovation at Bangor University Dr Andrew Goodman said: “We are thrilled to be recognised as a project which is pushing the boundaries for what enterprise-focused education can be and the impact it can make on students and local businesses. 

“A common problem we hear from employers is that students coming out of university have the know-how in their field but lack experience in how to work in interdisciplinary and intercultural teams, which are essential skills required for companies to create value in an increasingly interconnected and global environment. 

“Enterprise by Design fixes that; the programme works to create students who not only have a deep well of knowledge in their specific field but also gather a broader understanding of other disciplines and the skills needed to collaborate across industries. 

“For example, an engineering student will be able to pick up the vital creative media and entrepreneurial skills required to begin operating a business or approach a problem from a media-focused angle.” 

Bangor University’s academic staff behind the Enterprise by Design programme celebrate winning the enterprise catalyst award at the 2021 National Enterprise Educator Awards. 

Bringing together students from the business, arts, science, and engineering faculties and placing them into interdisciplinary teams, Enterprise by Design is a 10-week programme focused on developing student’s employability and enterprise skills. 

Students can currently register their interest internally with the programme to take part, however there are plans to further integrate the scheme with university courses going forward, with Enterprise by Design already installed within the curriculum of two of the university’s schools. 

Teams are provided with a design brief created in collaboration with local industry and challenged to research and create a new product, service, or experience which will enhance the local economy and address the request. 

Students are supported not only by academic staff, but also expert business consultants in areas surrounding the industry sector being focused on by each year’s brief, furthering the creation of a vibrant innovation ecosystem between the university and the local economy. 

Postgraduates and alumni entrepreneurs also facilitate the students’ work during the programme, helping to further emulate the collaborative experience found in today’s workforce. 

Dr Goodman added: “Being awarded as a nationally-leading scheme shows the work we are doing to prepare students for the workforce is making an impact, not just in terms of their professional development but also their personal confidence and talents as well. 

“By working alongside local businesses and organisations, students not only benefit from the practical experience of a simulated workplace, but these companies also get an insight into new and innovative ways to better the region and the local economy.”