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RENT XXXIII Entrepreneurship Conference

RENT XXXIII Entrepreneurship Conference

27 November, 2019

The RENT Conference, which stands for Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business, is the premier conference in Entrepreneurship and Small Business in Europe and this year, 2019, was highly competitive. Less than half of the academics who submitted papers were selected to present. RENT also saw a record number of attendees with over 300 academics, researchers and practitioners taking part. The RENT Conference theme was “Embracing uncertainty: entrepreneurship as a key capability for the 21st century”.

The conference took place in Berlin, Germany between 27th and 29th November. Professional development workshops, a career progression consortium doctoral and postdoctoral workshops were offered on the pre-conference programme. Lisa Murphy, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship represented the Department of Management and Enterprise in CIT. The Hincks Centre was represented by Sarah Davis, a PhD student with a research interest in older entrepreneurship and healthy ageing.

Lisa presented a paper which asks the question “Social Entrepreneurship: a nice-to-have or a must-have?” in the context of third level education in Ireland and Sarah presented her poster entitled “Exploring existing entrepreneurial relationships with healthy ageing in older persons”.

After a warm welcome from the President of ECSP (École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris) and the EIASM director in the Seminaris Hotel, the keynote session began. Saras Sarasvathy is the Paul M. Hammaker Professor in Business Administration at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, and the Jamuna Raghavan Chair Professor in Entrepreneurship, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. Saras is a world renowned academic, famous for introducing the effectuation theory in entrepreneurship. Gerd Gigerenzer is a psychologist and the director of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute of Human Development in Berlin, as well as the author of many books (e.g. “Risk Savvy”). These two renowned keynote speakers spoke with René Mauer, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, ECSP about differences in meaning between risk and uncertainty and the implications this has for entrepreneurship. They explained that when all variables are known then risk is calculable and can be used for prediction, however, it is not possible to calculate risk in uncertain situations such as early stage entrepreneurship where many variables are unknown, in this instance, heuristics is a key tool in managing uncertainty. They both confirmed the need to better link the concept of uncertainty to entrepreneurship theories in a lively and instructive keynote discussion.

In terms of the presenters from CIT who were selected to attend RENT, Lisa Murphy lectures in Entrepreneurship in CIT, is a faculty advisor to Enactus CIT, the international student social entrepreneurship society and is also a Researcher with the Hincks Centre. Co-authoring with Dr.Helen McGuirk, Head of the Hincks Centre, she presented their paper which asks the question whether social entrepreneurship education is a nice-to-have or must-have in third level education? Using Ireland as a case study and an on-line survey as the research instrument, a unique dataset of 531 observations from students attending ten Irish based Higher Education Institutes (HEI’s) was gathered. These students’ interest in Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise intentionality were gathered, along with students’ demand to study Social Entrepreneurship as part of their degree. In addition, the research provided insights into the level of availability of Social Entrepreneurship Education (SEE) in the same ten HEI’s in Ireland.

The results indicate that the vast majority of students are curious about Social Entrepreneurship, want to find out how to start a Social Enterprise and are interested in studying Social Entrepreneurship, however, limited availability of SEE is a reality in Ireland while conversely Entrepreneurship Education is in abundance. The findings of the research indicate that while SEE could be considered a must-have by students and policy makers, in the Irish third level education system it is a nice-to-have. This leads to the next question for exploration; Why are HEI’s lagging so far behind? This research contributes to the case for third level educators to consider SEE as a must-have rather than a nice-to-have and also contributes to a growing interest at national and public policy level in supporting Social Entrepreneurship. Overall the paper was very well received and led to a lively discussion on how the data might be further analysed.

Rísam PhD Student, Sarah Davis represented the Hincks Centre and CIT at the poster session showing preliminary exploratory analysis of 28 questionnaires which enquire about the relationships between healthy ageing and entrepreneurship. The poster was very positively received and reviewed by five independent judges. Specifically, this explored existing entrepreneurial competences, level of entrepreneurial activities and entrepreneurial self-efficacy alongside self-reported quality of life, wellbeing, resilience and cognition. The analysis appears to indicate that entrepreneurial competences and entrepreneurial self-efficacy relate to some aspects of healthy ageing in a moderate or a small way indicating that there is potential in entrepreneurial skills training for over 65s that aligns to the goals of healthy ageing. This is preliminary reporting and a larger dataset is currently being gathered. It was great to get early feedback from experienced researchers on the potential in this work.

This was a historic year to be in Berlin, it was exactly thirty years since the Berlin Wall fell and Germany was reunited. Berlin is a dynamic city where a new business is set-up every twenty minutes and it’s a great location to find out about the latest research in Entrepreneurship among international colleagues with the support and shared knowledge of experienced researchers and practitioners. Without a doubt, the RENT conference lived up to its name as the premier Entrepreneurship conference in Europe.

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