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Professor Paul Coyle on the Entrepreneurial Mindset Workshop Designed for Higher Education Professionals

Professor Paul Coyle is the Director of Executive Education at UIIN and an expert on the entrepreneurial mindset concept. Paul is the developer of the ‘six characteristics’ model that defines the entreprecoyleneurial mindset of individuals and building on his experience as a university leader he enables others to become more entrepreneurial in their daily work and change the environment around them.

In this interview, Paul shares his insights about the workshops, which he leads and which is designed for higher education professionals.

Professor Coyle, the six characteristics of the entrepreneurial mindset are a core element of your view on entrepreneurship. Could you explain what this is and how this affects higher education institutions?

Universities are educating graduates so that they will be able to make economic, social and cultural impacts in society through employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship. Having an entrepreneurial mindset means graduates are able to identify opportunities and to take personal responsibility for getting things done. Using their subject knowledge and transferable skills, an entrepreneurial mindset also gives graduates the confidence to challenge the status quo and to make a real difference in the world.

Entrepreneurship has become an important topic in both academia as well as practice, what should universities do in order to stay on top of this?

If universities are going to support their students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, then academics must also adopt this way of thinking.  The mindset is in fact relevant to all subject disciplines.  There is a growing body of guidance available to help academics to embed entrepreneurial thinking into their curricula and research.  In order to bring a real-world experience to education, it is also crucial that there is greater university business co-operation.

You provide training to single individuals of universities in all layers of the organization. How can one individual change the organization?

The central premise of the entrepreneurial mindset is taking personal responsibility for actions that will resolve problems and make the most of opportunities. You ask yourself ‘what am I personally go to do about this, today?’.  The could include reaching out to other people.  Good collaboration is the key to success but change begins with the ideas and passion of individuals.

Building upon this, what do you believe are the major benefits of one obtaining a better understanding of what an entrepreneurial mindset is and how to apply this in practice?

Higher education is in reality very risk averse.  The benefit of the entrepreneurial mindset is that it enables individuals, teams and the whole university to start to become more innovative and to work in smarter ways.  Today, senior leaders must learn how to enable their academics and professional services staff to be more innovative.  A commitment to creating the right culture will over time help leaders to build a more entrepreneurial university.

As an expert on this, you also run the UIIN Entrepreneurial Mindset workshop, what do you think are the major benefit for workshop attendees?

The workshop is designed to give a step-by-step guide to developing your entrepreneurial mindset.  There is tremendous value to exploring these ideas in the small group exercises with other higher education professionals.  The goal of the workshop is to devise a personal plan with practical actions that can be taken on return to your university.  Therefore, each person will continue to benefit from having developed their entrepreneurial mindset.


Professor Paul Coyle will be running workshops on the Entrepreneurial Mindset, Entrepreneurial Universities and University-Business Cooperation on a regular basis at the UIIN headquarters in Amsterdam. If you would like to learn more, please visit


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