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UK-US College Partnerships for Entrepreneurship Education

The British Council and the Association of Colleges in the UK are inviting expressions of interest from US Community Colleges which are interested in working in partnership with UK Further Education Colleges on the theme of entrepreneurship education.




How To Submit and Proforma

Briefing Paper based on the 7th Annual NACCE Conference



UK Prime Minister's Initiative for International Education is a 5-year programme, the primary aims of which are to attract international students to the UK and to build mutually beneficial strategic alliances with other countries.

The funding of the initiative as a whole has included contributions from the governments of all four UK nations, the British Council and the Further and Higher Education sectors.

The Further Education Partnerships Fund within PMI2 is jointly managed by the Association of Colleges (AoC) and the British Council. This provides grants to support UK and international partner colleges in undertaking a range partnership projects which target PMI2 priority countries and contribute to the achievement of PMI2 aims and objectives.

Further information about PMI2 can be found at:

The USA is considered to be an important strategic partner for the UK in the context of PMI2. During 2009, the British Council in the UK and the US commissioned a piece of research into the potential for collaboration between Higher Education institutions in the two countries.

The benefits of partnership working between UK FE Colleges and US Community Colleges are also well-recognised and a funding stream to support related project activity has been included within the PMI2 plans. AoC has an existing relationship with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the British Council and AoC have consulted with national agencies in both countries about a central theme for the programme.

In October 2009, representatives of the AoC, Greenwich Community College, Oxford and Cherwell Valley College Westminster Kingsway College and Wirral Metropolitan College participated in the 7th Annual conference of the (US) National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). The UK delegates also led a workshop session at the conference, the key objective of which was to explore the feasibility of entrepreneurship as a core theme for the UK-US college partnerships programme and to ascertain whether this could yield benefits for both countries. The workshop created an opportunity for UK and US colleges to consider the scope for collaborative working around this theme and to identify some priority areas of focus. Further information, including full details of the workshop, can be found in the briefing paper based on the conference, which has been produced by AoC. This paper also contains some web links to further information about entrepreneurship education in both countries.

The workshop and wider consultation indicated that:

  • there is significant interest in transnational partnership working on the part of colleges in both countries
  • though the specific context may vary, US and UK colleges are grappling with many of the same challenges in relation to the embedding of successful entrepreneurship initiatives
  • there are many similarities between the models used in the US and the UK
  • there are opportunities for mutual learning based on areas in which each country has particular strengths: e.g. industry responsiveness in the UK and running business incubator facilities in the USA.

Entrepreneurship education' is interpreted as: the embedding of an entrepreneurial approach/entrepreneurialism within the vocational curriculum, building the knowledge and competences required to run enterprises and supporting the development of these enterprises.

The UK-US College Partnerships Programme for Entrepreneurship Education

It is envisaged that areas of focus for partnership projects may include (but will not be limited to) the following:

  • Exchange of experience and good practice in relation to pedagogy, entrepreneurship programme or curriculum design, assessment methodologies, forging progression routes and pathways. Development work around this latter area and programme articulation may underpin credit-bearing transnational exchanges and provide a useful contribution to a ‘global campus' model
  • Co-operation on entrepreneurship programme or curriculum design - either to enhance the offer in each country or to facilitate student/entrepreneur mobility between the two countries. This may relate to the general entrepreneurship curriculum or that which has a specialist focus (e,g. based on industry sector or social enterprise)
  • Co-operation on programme/curriculum design and assessment linked to industry standards/certification – in this case the college partners may wish to involve additional stake-holder bodies in each country* such as industry bodies. Internships for students or staff may be a valuable feature of this type of project
  • Co-operation on vehicles for engaging and/or supporting entrepreneurs and students such as business plan competitions, mentoring programmes, incubation services: This may create opportunities for international activity between the students and entrepreneurs themselves (e.g. introducing a physical or virtual international element to business incubators)
  • Use of new technology within teaching and learning or entrepreneurship support as well as to provide a mechanism for transnational activity between faculty, mentors and students/entrepreneurs
  • Co-operation on the design of any formal Continuing Professional Development programmes for faculty or mentors, in relation to any of the above areas

Two key principles emerged from the discussions which underpin all the potential areas of focus detailed above:

  • Recognition of the enormous value of an authentic international experience and the importance of ensuring that this is multi-faceted as far as possible
  • The benefit of awarding credits or some kind of formal recognition of the international experience, wherever this is possible and appropriate

Potential mechanisms for collaboration (as identified via the workshop) are likely to include the exchange of faculty and students and industry internships for both of these groups. Partnership models may be bilateral or based on relationships between consortia of colleges in each country which would help to maximise the impact. Technology may be used to extend the core partnership to a virtual consortium as well as contributing to the sustainability of the partnership activities.

The British Council and AoC are delighted to confirm that NACCE has offered its support for the partnerships projects by participating in the engagement and selection of US colleges, commenting on project proposals, helping to raise the profile of the partnerships programme and assisting with the dissemination and embedding of partnerships project outcomes in the USA.

*UK colleges have been advised to bear in mind the federal structure of the USA which means that there is not a national system of defined industry standards and national qualifications as is the case in the UK.

Call for Expressions of Interest Details

Expressions of Interest are now being invited from both UK Further Education Colleges and US Community Colleges wishing to take part in a contact seminar in Washington on 24-26 April 2010.

During the seminar, Colleges will have the opportunity to learn more about the way in which entrepreneurship is implemented in their respective countries. Facilitated interactive sessions will enable them to explore common areas of interest, priorities and objectives and to identify potential partners. Partnerships will also have time to work on the development of the concept and outline plans for their projects.

Full partnership proposals will be submitted to the British Council in the UK by the lead UK college partner on or before 28 May 2010. These will be considered by the assessment panel.

It is anticipated that 8-10 Colleges from each country will be represented at the contact seminar. Places will be limited to one per college and in some cases this person may be a nominated representative of consortium of Colleges in the UK or the US.

Though bilateral partnerships between UK and US Colleges will be permitted, consortium proposals are strongly encouraged, in order that the impact of the projects can be maximized and chances of sustainability increased. This is especially significant in the light of the fact that this is the final year of PMI2 and thus, the grants will only be available for one year.

In the Expressions of Interest, both UK and US Colleges will be required to demonstrate that they have achieved at least satisfactory quality ratings for any specific vocational areas or other services or areas of the College's operations on which they would wish to focus via the projects. An existing track record in entrepreneurship provision (of any kind) and international partnerships working will be a strong advantage. Colleges will also be asked to outline their key areas of interest in relation to transatlantic partnership working on the theme of entrepreneurship.

PMI2 Partnership Projects

A total budget of up to £90,000 sterling will be available to support either bilateral partnerships projects with a maximum value of £15,000 or consortium projects with a maximum value of £40,000.

Though staff time of either UK or US partner Colleges may not be funded by PMI2, nor will the purchase of equipment be an eligible cost, the grants can be used to meet costs relating to overseas travel and subsistence on project business for colleges in both countries, as well as non-staff costs relating to materials production or dissemination.

US Colleges will be required to fund their own participation in the contact seminar.

Assessment and contracting

Expressions of Interest and subsequent project proposals will be assessed by a panel consisting of representatives of the British Council (UK and US), AoC (UK); AACC (US), NACCE (US). A representative of Enterprise UK (UK) may be invited to join the panel for the assessment of project proposals.

The decision of the assessment panel on project proposals will be final but the panel reserves the right to negotiate with applicants in relation to the total grant requested, individual items and/or specific elements of the proposal prior to the confirmation of the award.

Contracts will be established between the lead UK College for each project and the British Council in the UK and this College will be responsible for the distribution of the grant to other UK and US College partners and for the overall management of the project in accordance with the contract terms of PMI2.


Call for Expressions of Interest: 12 March 2010

Deadline for submission of Expressions of Interest 26 March 2010

UK-US contact seminar (Washington) 24-26 April 2010

Deadline for submission of Project Proposals 28 May 2010

Contracts from: 1 July 2010

How to Submit an Expression of Interest


The Expression of Interest relates to participation in the contact seminar in Washington with a view to developing partnership proposals with UK Colleges. Only Expressions of Interest submitted on the proforma provided will be accepted. Please do not convert the form to PDF format.

Proposals should be emailed to by 17.30 Greenwich Mean Time on 26 March 2010.

The hard copy version of all Expressions of Interest must be signed by the President of the applicant College. This should be post-marked no later than 26 March (local US area time) and should be sent to:

Christopher Leighton,

The British Council

Bridgewater House

58 Whitworth Street

Manchester M1 6BB.

Any enquiries relating to the application process should be addressed to:

NB Colleges will be given further guidance on the submission arrangements for Project Proposals.

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