Entrepreneurship Scholarship

Photo: James Connolly / PicSell805MAR13

IT Sligo and Foróige’s Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) launch Student Entrepreneurship Scholarship 

Scholarship launched by the leading expert in Entrepreneurial Studies Dr Heidi Neck

The cultivation of an entrepreneurial mindset in students of all disciplines is the ambition of a new student Entrepreneurship Scholarship launched at IT Sligo this week.

Joint funded by IT Sligo, Foroige’s Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and ACE (Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship) the scholarship is the first of its kind and is the first formal student pathway established between Foroige’s NFTE and a third level institution. It will take the form of monetary bursaries and entrepreneur-focused supports for eight students starting at IT Sligo this September. If successful, the scholarship programme will also be rolled out to other higher education institutions around the country.

The scholarship was launched by one of the world’s leading experts in Entrepreneurial Studies, Dr Heidi Neck, at IT Sligo today. Jeffrey A. Timmons Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Babson College in the States, Dr Neck lectures and teaches internationally on entrepreneurship. Heidi’s trip to Ireland was made possible by the Irish Institute at Boston College with funding from the US Department of State.

Students who are awarded the scholarship will be afforded a bursary and supported in an eco system which will hone their entrepreneurship skills. An academic mentor, a business mentor, access to support from the Institute’s Innovation Centre, and active participation in the Institute’s Student Enterprise Society will all form part of the experience.

Secondary school students participating in Foroige’s Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship will be eligible to apply and the scholarship will be open to students pursuing programmes in all disciplines from science and engineering, to business and social science, underpinning the work already underway at IT Sligo through the HEA-funded Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship (ACE) initiative in which entrepreneurship modules are embedded into existing non-business programmes. Applicants must have a concept they wish to develop.

Launching the scholarship, Dr Neck said; “The NFTE students have being given a great gift by NFTE and IT Sligo to create and execute new ideas within third level education environment to better themselves and others. This is what entrepreneurship in Ireland is all about.”

President of IT Sligo, Professor Terri Scott said; “We want our students to learn that entrepreneurship is about creating your own future and making a difference in your community. IT Sligo has a track record of nurturing entrepreneurship with graduates from all disciplines engaging in start-ups and making a real difference by bringing enterprise competencies to the work place. This scholarship will provide talented school leavers with additional mentoring support along with financial assistance to bring new ventures to market.”

Dr Perry Share, Head Department of Social Sciences at the Institute, said: “This scholarship is the result of a lot of discussion between the partners. Just as our most promising sports people are supported in their further education, this scholarship provides a package of supports and encouragement to our budding entrepreneurs. There is nothing like it in Ireland, but we hope that if this programme is successful, it will be adopted by other HEIs. Entrepreneurial skills and attitudes will not just lead to the establishment of more businesses in the region, but will also stimulate creative problem-solving in existing businesses, community organisations and the public sector.”

Maria Doherty the NFTE Programme Manager said; “It’s a very exciting time for the programme to be in a position to develop a pathway to third level for the NFTE participants with IT Sligo. It has always been the long term vision of the programme to facilitate an opportunity for participants to go on to further their education while developing their interest in business and entrepreneurship.”

The launch took place at a workshop at IT Sligo today by ACE (Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship) programme with the support of the ECSB (European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship) relating to the draft HETAC guidelines for the Review of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education (EEE).

For more information see www.itsligo.ie

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