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Academic entrepreneurship in MMU: a case study of the Centre for Enterprise

Jones, Oswald and Macpherson, Allan and Woollard, David (2007) Academic entrepreneurship in MMU: a case study of the Centre for Enterprise. UNSPECIFIED. Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Within the UK, universities have been obtaining additional income by engaging in the commercialisation of scientific knowledge and general economic development. This has become even more urgent for new universities (ex-polytechnics) which have been largely excluded from research funding as a result of the RAE. This paper examines the creation and growth of a centre for enterprise, based in a new university, which was established to give coherence to small firm related activities. The CfE now has 21 full-time staff and a number of associate researchers who are engaged in a wide range of activities associated with the management of SMEs and the support of nascent entrepreneurs. In the paper we draw on the concept of 'tipping points' (Bessant et al., 2005) to demonstrate the way in which a number of crises were negotiated during the CfE‘s growth. We demonstrate that issues of strategy and people management were particularly significant in pursuing a growth strategy, although strategy was incremental and evolutionary rather than based on the classical rational model associated with Ansoff. In summary, the CfE‘s strategic orientation focused on building an organization which was entrepreneurial, flexible and responsive to new opportunities.

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