Goldsmiths, University of London’s academic lead for enterprise has been recognised at the National Enterprise Educator Awards for her work supporting entrepreneurs in creating sustainable, diverse and culturally relevant business models.
Siân Prime, Deputy Director of the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths and Academic Lead: Enterprise, received both the NEEA People’s Choice Award and the Inclusive Enterprise Education Award at a ceremony on Thursday 9 September.
Run by Enterprise Educators UK since 2009, the NEEAs recognise excellence within enterprise and entrepreneurship education in UK higher and further education and aim to reward and celebrate those who have demonstrated an exceptional and inspirational commitment to supporting student and graduate entrepreneurship.
Recognition is given to individuals or teams in four categories (enterprise catalyst, entrepreneurship catalyst, rising star and pioneer) with two additional prizes – those won by Siân – conferred to a shortlisted person or team nominated in the other categories. NEEA winners receive a cash prize, and a glass trophy and certificate.
The Inclusive Education Award recognises excellence in, and commitment to, driving change in equality, diversity and inclusivity in the areas of enterprise and entrepreneurship education and practice.
Siân was nominated by Gerald Lidstone, founder of the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, whose submission detailed Sian’s career, bringing her experience at Nesta to her role at Goldsmiths, founding an MA, creating the Goldsmiths SYNAPSE programme which helps develop entrepreneurial thinking for Goldsmiths students, and working with colleagues to create a student and alumni business support service, among other achievements.
Siân’s ethos, which she explains in a short video filmed as part of the nomination process, is to work with entrepreneurs to give them an understanding of how their activities impact on their communities as well as themselves, while always thinking outside traditional business modelling.
She said: “I’m really aware that unless we look elsewhere, we are just using downloadable templates – I’ve written a lot of them myself! But I recognise they come from a safe space, my space, as a white middle-class academic.
“I’ve been working much more inclusively, developing new forms of business modelling techniques to ensure we understand culture as business and we look more broadly at what an appropriate business is and what an appropriate business model is. From those different spaces – looking at black cultural business models, queer-culture and queering business models, feminist approaches to business modelling – from that I think we can develop sustainable forms of enterprise and new forms of enterprise education.”
Speaking after the online ceremony, Sian said: “It meant so much to me to be nominated for the award as an Inclusive Enterprise Educator, and then to win the People’s Choice as well is incredible. I have no doubt that learning from, sharing and amplifying voices and types of enterprise that have been excluded is essential to our future, as well as good pedagogy.
“I’m thrilled, and can only think that this is evidence that I have, perhaps, succeeded at being inclusive, not only for the award, but seeing the number of people who voted for me. Goldsmiths is definitely the place for this work, and I’ve been supported to take this approach to enterprise education since I joined.”