Understanding student engagement with social entrepreneurship: a case study of the University of Northampton
The development of skills for social enterprise is a key learning outcome in UK higher education. Using semi-structured interviews and questionnaires with students at the University of Northampton, this study aimed to examine the key factors that impacted upon student engagement with social entrepreneurship. The study showed that while levels of engagement were generally low, there were significant opportunities to improve these levels. A range of psycho-sociological factors (e.g. behavioural intentions, fears of debt, and awareness), as well as socio-demographic factors (e.g. gender), were found to have impacted upon student engagement with the concepts. Recommendations for increasing engagement including improving awareness, being mindful of terminology used, access to funding, and the need for greater cross-faculty working are suggested. While this is only a limited case study, the implications of the findings for wider UK HEIs such as provision of adequate funding and support, and the need to address key concerns such as student perceptions of links between grants and loans to debt, and limited awareness of social entrepreneurship, are also discussed.
Social entrepreneurship; University of Northampton; HEIs; social innovation; social enterprise
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