The head of a Scottish school for entrepreneurs brims with positivity.
Professor Nigel Lockett is delighted to be at the helm of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, at the University of Strathclyde the UK’s largest – and leading – school for entrepreneurship.
As Professor of Entrepreneurship, he feels fortunate to be able to teach in a “highly energetic, supportive, collaborative and forward thinking” institution.
Perhaps even more exciting, Lockett is confident that entrepreneurship is of huge benefit to the country’s future. “The economy needs entrepreneurs,” he says, assuredly. “Entrepreneurs bring positive change in business, they create companies, they boost jobs and, ultimately, they help the economy to grow.”
It was Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter who founded the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship in 2001 as one of a number of social investments made by the Hunter Foundation.
Sir Hunter’s continuing support is based on the simple premise that education changes people's lives, including their aspirations, sense of purpose, skill base and what they can achieve.
Lockett joined the centre’s strong academic team in January this year, arriving from Lancaster University Management School, where he was also Professor of Entrepreneurship, and having held a previous post of Professor of Enterprise at Leeds University Business School.
As a serial entrepreneur himself, Lockett was attracted by the Hunter Centre’s growing reputation as the place to study entrepreneurship and also convinced of the importance of being at the heart of the burgeoning Scottish Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.
The Ecosystem comprises a network of innovation centres, incubators, accelerators, support organisations and co-working spaces all with the aim of stimulating a culture of innovation and a growth mind-set among a diverse mix of entrepreneurs.
Lockett explains: “Strathclyde University is a leading technological university at heart, and it has the ambition to engage with industry and business. Within the university is the Hunter Centre, which creates a living laboratory for entrepreneurship, in particular for small to medium-sized enterprises [SMEs].
“The aim is to teach and nurture a new generation of entrepreneurs who can be attuned – or plugged into – the economy, whether they are working within existing companies or as founders of their own businesses.
“It’s a collaboration between academics, students and the players and drivers of the economy.”
The Hunter Centre offers a range of courses, from undergraduate to post-graduate and research, with a focus on equipping students with real-world skills that are highly valued in an increasingly competitive employment market.
In particular, the two MSc programmes, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology and Entrepreneurship, Management and Leadership, have become highly sought after on a global stage.
Lockett says: “It used to be that international students might choose to go to a business school in America as first choice, but now Scotland is their number one choice.
“In the current year we have students from Thailand, India, Spain, Italy and Turkey, as well as England and Scotland, to name a few.”
The Hunter Centre looks for students who have a “growth mind-set”. Lockett explains: “The typical student will be curious about the world, what is going on internationally, and how they might take action for change.
“Generally they are hungry for this change to happen. Whether they work within an existing organisation, are keen to start up their own business or become inventors, they will want to bring about some kind of change. These types of people are really good at getting things done.”
Lockett is not convinced it is possible to teach people to be entrepreneurs, but he does believe that the Hunter Centre can provide a learning environment to develop the right mind-set and develop entrepreneurial skills and thinking to the full.
In turn, he sees an almost limitless number of benefits to business and the economy. Lockett says: “Our economy needs entrepreneurs to grow and thrive. We need people with good ideas and fresh ways of taking action.
“We want to create leaders in business that can ‘plug and play’ - that is, to work in any environment, from large corporates to small start-ups, to bring about positive change.
“The Hunter Centre really is an exciting environment to be a part of and I am confident that we are set to become Europe’s largest university-based centre of entrepreneurship.”
The MSc Entrepreneurial Innovation and Technology and the MSc Entrepreneurial Management and Leadership can be studied on a full time (12 month) basis, the next cohort starts September 2019.