NBS8134 : Business Enterprise Policy

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


Despite free market rhetoric governments continue to initiate and operate policies to support business enterprise and innovation. Any entrepreneur or established firm is likely to become involved with business enterprise policy at some stage whether applying for resources or to participate in activities that are otherwise not available. Entrepreneurs may also become involved in policy as agents who contribute to its execution, such as providing advice or other services to support other businesses. This course will address fundamental questions on business enterprise policy including (1) what support do new or established firms need? (2) why should government support firms? (3) how does government policy support firms? and (4) what are the rationale for policy interventions and how can these be identified and applied? Answering these questions requires a working understanding of theories, such as market failure, systems failure, network entrepreneurship and appropriability regimes, yet the module also intends to develop students’ practical skills in diagnosing business needs and delivering innovation support services.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module is taught and delivered via a series of 6 (2 hours) lectures, followed by a one-day field study, a visit to the Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) or Incubator in the North –East region, and a practical three hour session, delivered at the University with an external expert experienced in business enterprise policy.

The lectures will cover the following topics:

What support firms need?
Why support firms? Market failure and system failure
What support is available?
How to support firms: Resources and activities
Networks and intermediaries
Appropriability regimes and Systems of Innovation

Following the delivery of lecture six, students are provided with a unique opportunity to witness at first hand the support available to business start-ups and SMEs. This session is held off-campus at a business support centre in the North-East region, such as the Business Innovation Centre in Sunderland, one of the largest BICs in Europe, with high technology facilities and business advisors, hosting over 140 companies on site.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion129:0029:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture13:003:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture62:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading125:0025:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork16:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study125:0025:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will be interactive in that students will be expected to comment on the content, to reflect on readings and to be ready to speak in an informed way on the themes of the module. There will also be group tasks as opportunities to test and apply concepts, including with the external expert.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M100Individual assignment 2000-word maximum
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MIndividual presentation outlining plans for summative assessment, with peer and Course Leader feedback
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

There will be formative tasks throughout the course but the assessed assignment will be a substantial written assignment to gauge the students’ absorption and ability to apply the concepts and practical skills of the module.

Reading Lists