About the Centre

The Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship (HCfE) was established in 2007 with a remit to provide entrepreneurship education within Henley Business School and across the University of Reading, to conduct high quality research in the field and to engage externally with the local business community and public organisations.

The HCfE co-ordinates and conducts a range of activities, including the teaching of University-wide entrepreneurship modules, the provision of extracurricular initiatives (ranging from the Business Incubator and the student Entrepreneurship Society to the IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition) and supporting the growth of local SMEs. HCfE also offers its students the opportunity to learn, pursue placements and projects and improve their employability.

In 2017 HCfE celebrated its 10th anniversary and summarised its history and aspirations for the next ten years, which you can read here: HCfE_Origins__Mission_and_Aspirations_2017.pdf

In 2017 HCfE was honoured as among the best in the world by the AACSB accreditation agency as part of its Spotlight Challenge. Read more here.

Entrepreneurship Education

The HCfE provides several modules that are open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students across the University.

HCfE faculty is also responsible for the portfolio of programmes in entrepreneurship, available through the Henley Business School. These include the MSc Entrepreneurship and Management and the MSc Entrepreneurship and Financing for postgraduates, as well as the BA Entrepreneurship and Management and BA Entrepreneurship for undergraduates. We also supervise an active community of PhD research students pursuing doctoral research in the area.

The HCfE welcomes successful entrepreneurs and business professionals to share their wide-ranging experiences and expertise through guest lectures, case studies and speakers’ panels to complement the teaching.

Keep up to date with all HCfE’s news by having a look at our biannual newsletter, which you can read here.

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The HCfE is one of thirteen research centres which drive research at the Henley Business School.

A key aim of Henley Business School’s research is to provide managers, corporate partners and students with the means to manage more effectively and contribute actively and fully to the growth of their current and future organisations.

The research outputs of the HCfE includes leading-edge management tools and techniques and case studies illustrating best practice, as well as a wide range of research papers, publications and reports.

The highlight of research at the HCfE is the work of Prof Mark Casson. His research was the first successful attempt by any economic theorist to synthesise the mainstream economics approaches to competitive markets and entrepreneurship, developing what has become known as the ‘Reading approach’. By any estimate the Reading approach to entrepreneurship has become enormously influential among scholars researching entrepreneurship, with Casson alone now having 20,000 Google Scholar citations, making him one of the most influential social scientists in the world.

Find more information about research and outputs delivered by HCfE.

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External Engagement

The University has long been renowned worldwide for its research links with business. Since its establishment, the HCfE has extended the University’s longstanding collaborative links with large and medium sized firms (especially through the University’s award winning Knowledge Transfer Centre) to develop close connections with the local Thames Valley SME business community. Drawing on content from Reading-based scholars following the Reading approach (and in collaboration with key local partners such as the Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub, Thames Valley Local Economic Partnership, Chambers of Commerce and Institute of Directors, among others), the HCfE hosts regular SME focused events, including speaker panels and talks on enterprise development. Attended by hundreds of local SMEs, these events serve the purpose of sharing best strategies for business growth, sales and marketing, financing, recruitment and development of staff.

Recent research by the Financial Times concluded that Reading had now risen to be the third most entrepreneurial city in the UK (after London and Cambridge) and tenth most entrepreneurial city in Europe. The investment by the University of Reading in entrepreneurship, in particular through the HCfE, has made a truly significant contribution to that achievement and impact on the Thames Valley economy.

The HCfE initiatives have assisted the University to build on its longstanding commitment to the local economy to become the key partner in the recent creation of the Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub. Building on the large existing provision for SMEs on-campus in our Science and Technology and Enterprise Centres, the University of Reading is about to become one of the UK’s leading proponents of university-affiliated science parks, opening the new Thames Valley Science Park in 2016. Many of these SMEs in turn benefit from their collaboration with University researchers by providing the University with contract research income and research grants, alongside offering placement and consultancy opportunities for our students and recruitment opportunities for graduates. Indeed, the University of Reading graduates disproportionately enter entrepreneurial careers, with many successful start-up ventures among our alumni community including Airbyte, KYMIRA, Rendez-Vous and Shine Media.