Lamidi, Kafayat. K, Mswaka, Walter and Smith, Kelly (2015) Universities and Regional Contribution to Enhancing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Insights from the UK. In: Academic Proceedings 2015 University-Industry Interaction Conference: Challenges and Solutions for Fostering Entrepreneurial Universities and Collaborative Innovation. University-Industry Interaction Network (UIIN), Berlin, Germany, pp. 364-386. ISBN 978-94-91901-15-7

An institution engaged in fostering and nourishing an entrepreneurial ecosystem (EES) must be strong and grounded in its own entrepreneurial culture. In the development of an environment where knowledge is optimised, new discoveries are generated and people are transformed, an entrepreneurial university (Entre-U) must clearly demonstrate a stimulated heartland, strong commitment and capacity. The main aim of this study is to explore the role of an Entre-U in supporting and developing EES. Recently, there is a hype surrounding call for regional economic development in order to strengthen EES. This article therefore highlights the ways an Entre-U can contribute to fostering EES and contains good practices from different domains: enterprise and entrepreneurship initiatives, start-up support, knowledge and technology transfer projects, and university-industry collaborations. Thus, EES constitutes series of factors: markets, policy and culture. The paper is based on a case study of the University of Huddersfield (UoH), a Yorkshire and Humber (Y&H) region-based institution. Since the study is based on the experience of the UoH, which operates in the North England region where there is a historic centre for world-changing innovation in computing. With the ICT capacity of the region among others, it is controvertibly axiomatic to claim that the paper delivers a comprehendible and comprehensive synthesis of UK situation so as to increase our understanding of EES. The analysis of the best practices of the University’s entrepreneurial activity and enterprise actions could possibly be a road to follow. Perhaps, varied policies such as the European Transnational Cooperation have emphasised the need to exchange information, share experience and/or good practices (EC, 2013, p. 6). Therefore, the empirical contribution is that it is not only beneficial to institutions and businesses but also advantageous to many other nations as it can provide strategic implications for policy makers in designing the appropriate policy to support ecosystem strategy. Evidence from the findings indicates four-type models to foster EES, these are: university/academicoriented, economic-oriented, political-oriented and socio-cultural oriented. Substantially, this may enrich our knowledge in understanding the concept better and thus add to the pool of knowledge in entrepreneurial literature.

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