Friday, 26 November 2010

European Innovation and Enterprise Academy to be launched by Birmingham City University, Faculty of Technology, Environment and Engineering

From left: John Rainford - Strawberry Fields
Barbara Rainford - Strawberry Fields
Pilar Haro - AJE Zaragoza
Marc Banaszak - SAXEED
Professor Adrian Cole - BCU
Tom Mcdermott - BCU
Timo Nevalainen - TAMK
Beverley Nielsen - BCU

An innovative partnership between leading European providers of higher education focussed on developing enterprise and innovation within businesses has been launched by Professor Adrian Cole at Birmingham City University (BCU) that will result in a new European Innovation and Enterprise Academy.
In launching this pioneering initiative Professor Cole has brought together leading exponents in Enterprise and Innovation learning who have a track record of supporting enterprise activity within their regions.  The partners include Tampere University of Applied Sciences in Finland, AJE Zaragoza from Spain, SAXEED Centre for Entrepreneurship based in Chemnitz Germany and Birmingham City University.
Professor Cole, speaking at the launch said, “I am very excited by this innovative development in bringing together leaders in entrepreneurial and innovation teaching from across Europe.  We have a big challenge in Europe and in the UK to stimulate our economies again and get young people into exciting work that can provide future opportunity for them and others.  We are setting ambitious goals for ourselves and over the course of the next year we will be developing the details plans for the Academy.”
“Our goal is to have the Academy operational in a number of European locations with each location serving the enterprise development needs of its local region but also being able to take advantage of expertise and resources from across the EU”
The Academy partnership  brings a diverse and rich set of experience in developing entrepreneurial and innovation learning. 
Birmingham City University has established expertise in enterprise and innovation development at national and international levels. Support for 4000 plus smaller businesses has seen its technologies and skills transfer programmes result in significant product developments. Projects have included the EU Asia programme (with partners in India, China, Spain, Poland and Germany).  Industrial partnerships have included Microsoft and Cisco resulting in international computer and IT-networking academies. Further initiatives have resulted in links with Apple, Rolls Royce, NEC, SAP and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation
Tampere  (TAMK) University has over 10,000 student and 800 members of staff focussing on technology, business, tourism and culture with a partnership involving the School of Art and the School of Vocational Teacher Education.  TAMK cooperates successfully on R&D with institutions across Finland.  Its entrepreneurship unit, the respected and internationally-renowned, ‘ProAcademy’ is working to renew the education system by promoting early student entrepreneurship. Students establish new businesses on entry and engage in team learning involving the unit’s trainers, entrepreneurs and students. Their approach focuses on ‘values’ based learning encouraging a can-do attitude and the courage to do business through coaches rather than lecturers and where lecture theatres are replaced by offices where students engage in team enterprises with responsibility for their own learning and success. 2008 revenues generated by student businesses amounted to Euros 400,000 with 20% of graduates continuing as entrepreneurs following graduation that year and 40% of 2009 graduates continuing in entrepreneurial roles.
AJE Zaragoza in Spain supports the growth of entrepreneurship through direct incubator support for start-ups including a training support programme.  It has a partnership with the University of Zaragoza enabling it to provide expertise on financing and development of entrepreneurial culture and mindset.  During 2003 it hosted the first World Virtual Congress of Young Entrepreneurs and SMEs with more than 130 countries, 600 organisations and 3,500 individuals participating.
SAXEED Centre for Entrepreneurship in Chemnitz Germany offers entrepreneurship education and advice for start-up companies at 4 universities in South-western Saxony – Chemnitz University of Technology, TU Bergakamdemie Freiberg and the two universities of Applied Sciences in Mittweida and Zwickau. As a direct result of the Centre’s activities in the last 5 years more than 120 start-up companies have emerged out of 300 business ideas, creating more than 420 jobs most of which have been in the technology sector.
For further enquiries please contact Prof Adrian Cole at +44 (0)121 331 5400 or via email at

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