The world’s foremost entrepreneurship study has been used to look at entrepreneurship at the University of Calgary. Led by The Centre for Innovation Studies (THECIS) and authored by University of Calgary professors Cooper Langford and Chad Saunders, this is the first time the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) methodology has been used to assess a post-secondary institution — finding a high level of innovation across campus.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship are fundamental to the University of Calgary, and the GEM report captures what we’ve achieved so far,” notes Ed McCauley, vice-president (research) at the University of Calgary. “In undertaking the first-ever GEM study on a university campus, we have gained vital insight into how our campus community can be better served to translate discoveries and technological advances into solutions and economic opportunities — and we’re already applying what we’ve learned.”
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor is the largest study of entrepreneurship in the world, covering 70 countries in 2016.
“The GEM is done annually in over 100 countries, so we wanted to be able to bring that bench strength to evaluating the entrepreneurial activity at the University of Calgary, using a proven approach that allows for global benchmarking and insights,” said Chad Saunders, assistant professor in the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary.
GEM is unique in that it examines entrepreneurship from the perspective of the individual rather than the company, and seeks to understand the attitudes of the public towards entrepreneurship, the activity at the University of Calgary and the aspirations of entrepreneurs.
“There is a high level of entrepreneurial activity happening at the University of Calgary and this activity is spread almost equally across health, science and engineering, and social science and humanities disciplines,” explains Saunders. “The ‘surprising’ finding here for us was the high level of entrepreneurial activity in the social sciences and humanities since these disciplines are not typically associated with such work.”
The next steps for the Calgary-based Canada GEM team include disseminating the findings and applying what they’ve learned to guide and benchmark the university’s ongoing efforts to close the gap on some of the opportunities for improvement.
“A lot has happened since this data was collected, so putting these findings in that context, and also planning another data collection cycle in the future to see how far our collective efforts have moved us from this baseline, would also be high on our agenda,” says Saunders.
The University of Calgary’s current entrepreneurial strategy is guided by the Advisory Committee on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. One of the key strengths is the university’s partnership with Innovate Calgary, which provides full-service training, technology transfer and business incubation support for researchers, students and entrepreneurs in the campus community. The university recognizes the successes of their innovative leaders at an annual celebration of entrepreneurship, innovation and knowledge engagement as part of the Peak Scholar Celebration.
UCalgary GEM report summary:
What is GEM and what’s unique about it?
What did the report find?
What were the recommendations?