Lancaster University

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Centre to boost entrepreneurship in arts and social sciences

01/12/2012 00:00:00

​Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage in the Lake District might seem an unlikely place to find a group of entrepreneurs but Lancaster University has been using poetry to inspire creative thinking in business.

Professor Simon Bainbridge of the Department of English and Creative Writing uses Wordsworth’s poetry to help business people from the UK and overseas to think creatively about problem solving in their own working lives. Groups of managers and entrepreneurs from businesses as diverse as airlines and IT businesses have been drawing inspiration from the Lakeland poet and his work as part of a series of leadership development days.

This work is an example of just one kind of cross over between academia and business that the University is hoping to expand with the launch of a new enterprise centre dedicated to social science and the arts.

The University already has thriving enterprise centres in Science and Technology as well as Management but with a significant proportion of new graduates setting up their own business, Lancaster University is investing in a similar resource for arts and social sciences.

Students and academics from the Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FASS) will have their own enterprise centre dedicated to bringing the worlds of the arts and the social sciences together with business and social enterprise to find mutual benefits.

The new centre, launched on January 17, will provide a range of practical and financial support to FASS students and academics. This includes; industry placements for academics, financial help for students undertaking unpaid internships, intensive coaching for students with business start-up ideas, networking opportunities and master classes.

Associate Dean for Enterprise Professor Chris May, who leads the centre said: “There’s a common misconception that entrepreneurs come from a business background but more than 50 percent of students setting up their own business with support from Lancaster University are from an arts or social science background. FASS graduates have skills and talents that are uniquely suited to many areas of enterprise such as creativity, critical thinking, flexibility and solid research skills.

“Lancaster University has been carrying out unique work with the student union enterprise and volunteering wing LUSU Involve for a number of years, setting students up for their future career through community volunteer projects and helping them start their own businesses. Demand for this kind of opportunity among arts and social science students is greater than ever.

“Our enterprise centre will be a hub for businesses and academics to meet, share ideas, skills and opportunities and will go a long way towards supporting the growing culture of entrepreneurship across the faculty.”