Celebrating 40 years of entrepreneurship education


Throughout this year, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) has been celebrating the bicentenary of higher education in Wales and the role of its Lampeter campus in that story. This milestone marks the laying the foundation stone for St David’s College Lampeter in 1822.

Pic of staff receiving Triple E Award

The year has also provided an opportunity to reflect upon the way in which our universities have adapted to respond to social and economic imperatives over the past two hundred years. The sector continues to evolve to respond to today’s ever-changing needs, providing a diverse range of offers - from world-class translational research and innovation, to applied technical skills and enterprise – so that we can build capacity, support employers, facilitate job creation and attract investment.

With Wales leading the UK with the highest number of graduate start-ups per capita we are also leading the way in developing new models of enterprise and innovation.  Earlier this year, UWTSD was awarded the Triple E European Entrepreneurial University of the Year and Professor David A. Kirby, an Honorary Professor of Practice, received a Lifetime Achievement Award.  In addition, the Higher Education Statistic Agency (HESA 2020/21), ranked UWTSD 1st in the UK for the number of graduate businesses and for the number that have been running for more than 3 years.

As we look to Global Entrepreneurship Week (14-20 November) it is fitting to celebrate the University’s contribution to entrepreneurship education over the past 40 years.  The discipline was first introduced to higher education in Wales in Lampeter during the 1980’s under the directorship of Professor David A. Kirby, then a member of staff.

Since then, the University has been at the forefront of developing entrepreneurial education and practice in Wales and has facilitated the transition from education to self-employment and business start-ups.  UWTSD’s International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development (IICED), under the leadership of Professor Andy Penaluna and Dr Kath Penaluna, helped to develop the new Curriculum for Wales, and has become an internationally recognised leader in the field, advising government policy and practice in Wales, the UK and internationally, including influencing the work of the United Nations, the European Union and OECD.  UWTSD was also a lead partner in EntreCompEdu, an Erasmus+ 6 partner country project to support educators to teach entrepreneurial competences.  Partner countries included Belgium, Spain, Finland, North Macedonia, Sweden and Wales. UWTSD’s Felicity Healey-Benson, a governor of Dafen Primary School in Llanelli, introduced EntreCompEdu to the school which was subsequently awarded the status of first Global EntreCompEdu Pioneer School out of 52 countries involved in the project.

The University has also launched the Harmonious Entrepreneurship Society to integrate traditional economic, eco, humane and social approaches to entrepreneurship to address sustainability challenges.  A partnership with Ship Shape, a venture capital search engine that enables entrepreneurs to find potential investors also supports UWTSD’s mission to connect great ideas to investment opportunities for the benefit of our students.

Kath Penaluna, Director of IICED and UWTSD’s enterprise manager said: “During the University’s bicentenary celebrations we have launched a new publication celebrating our work over the past 40 years and the contribution of those who have driven this agenda forward at the University. It also features some of our enterprising graduates and their companies whose creativity and determination are making a difference”.

40 years of Entrepreneurship Education is available to download and includes case studies of UWTSD entrepreneurial graduates.