It's not an exact science: teaching entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland

Cecilia Hegarty (Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship, NICENT, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Publication date: 1 June 2006



The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the approach to embedding entrepreneurship within third level education in Northern Ireland by assessing the perceptions of lecturers and learners and monitoring the effectiveness of teaching methods.


Surveys and focus groups were conducted with lecturers and learners from different disciplines as part of a pilot investigation under the Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship (NICENT) with a view to establishing a longitudinal study.


Evidence suggests that NICENT has increased interest and positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland. E‐learning can meet high demand, intensive programmes are equally effective in improving the skills set. Entrepreneurship education needs sub‐sequential support.

Research limitations/implications

The study provided preliminary findings for entrepreneurship teachings in different disciplines. Further dissecting of lecturer/learner analyses by course/year etc. is possible. Effectiveness could be assessed through graduate behaviours in the future in order to build longitudinal data.

Practical implications

The results prove that lecturers/learners are willing to embrace new subjects (entrepreneurship for scientists) and new teaching methods when blended with traditional approaches. Whilst WebCT environment can facilitate a comfortable action‐learning zone, entrepreneurship education needs personalisation and industry engagement.


The study reports from the developing face within Northern Ireland and provides insightful observations of new subject adoption, the learner's curve and changing cultural attitudes within tertiary education.



Hegarty, C. (2006), "It's not an exact science: teaching entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland", Education + Training, Vol. 48 No. 5, pp. 322-335.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.