Incubation Centres and the Teaching of Entrepreneurship: Bridging Theory and Practice
Keywords:pedagogy, entrepreneurship, non-business students, incubation centres
This paper argues that collaboration between Higher Education Institutions and Incubation Centres can contribute to the embedding of entrepreneurship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The study aims to address the dearth of research on the teaching of entrepreneurship to non-business students, and to provide a framework to implement a proposed pedagogical approach. Enterprise Ireland has funded business incubation centres on college campuses across Ireland in order to provide a supportive environment for start-up companies. The study presented in this paper is based on the work of the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) which has two Incubation Centres. The research question addressed is: How can incubation centres support the teaching of entrepreneurship to engineering undergraduate students? The theoretical framework for the study is based on Donald Schön’s seminal work on reflective practice. Action research - with particular emphasis on “doing action research in your own organisation” as proposed by Coghlan and Brannick – forms the basis of the methodological approach. The study makes a contribution by developing a process for collaboration between engineering students and incubation centres that can be replicated in other pedagogical situations.
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