Universities need more entrepreneurship in the arts

Student Hub: OECD/EU report says Ireland should increase the level of entrepreneurship taught at higher education institutions

Universities should increase the entrepreneurship taught in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, according to a recent report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The review looked at five higher education institutes selected by the Department of Education and the OECD. They included Galway-Mayo IT, Limerick IT, University of Limerick, University College Cork and Dublin City University.

The size, location and focus of each university were considered as part of the review.

Several of the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) demonstrated that they have embedded enterprise within the organisation as a whole but that entrepreneurialism is less developed in these faculties.


An entrepreneurship lecturer in DCU said that engaging students from departments outside of the business school needs to be addressed.

“If we want to get people from different schools involved then we need to have incentives. In DCU, we had the STEAM hackathon, which interwove arts with STEM, we have Ustart and we have an entrepreneurship conference on November 21st in the Helix. It has a huge line-up of speakers which would be really beneficial to students,” Roisin Lyons said.

She also said that emotional support is vital when students are looking to take on a business venture.

“We need to be more congratulatory. We should applaud the bravery of the people who are from different courses, wanting to set up their own business, seeing the fear but facing it anyway. There should be no fear of failure, only congratulating on trying,” she added

While HEIs have made progress in expanding entrepreneurship into other courses, the report suggests methods of increasing it further.

It suggests an increase the number of activities that branch into multiple disciplines, enhance collaboration with small and medium-sized enterprises and support the exchange of knowledge between staff and students.

Minister for Higher Education in Ireland, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said that this report will be a useful tool to enhance the success of students’ entrepreneurial endeavours.

“The findings and recommendations from the review will inform policy and in particular the new Entrepreneurship Education Policy Statement and the revised System Performance Framework for HEIs which we are currently working on,” she said.

Deputy secretary general of the OECD Mari Kiviniemi said: “Students need incentives and support to engage with entrepreneurship. A recognition of what students learn in entrepreneurship courses is important. Diploma supplements on entrepreneurship competencies that graduates can show their future employers are a good example,” said.

Shauna Bowers is a student at DCU