For decades, businesses and universities have existed on slightly different wavelengths, the former often seen as the fast-talking, risk-taking cousin of its brainier, more academic counterpart. Only in recent years, with the advent of the knowledge economy, have we begun to see the commercial benefits of these two cousins teaming up.
It has become apparent that businesses and universities are natural allies, capable of exchanging knowledge and capital to develop ideas that genuinely change the world.
Take the example of Stanford University. Not only did it help educate the founders of tech giants such as Google, Netflix and PayPal, but by marrying academics with enterprise, it also played a key part in developing the eco-system of Silicon Valley, which is now the tech capital of the world.
Closer to home, our recent Reed/Bloomberg UK Jobs Report reveals that the cities of Oxford and Cambridge are at the forefront of job creation in the UK – and it’s not hard to see why.
Back when I was a student at Oxford, entrepreneurship was just a footnote on a long list of more traditional careers such as law, medicine or the civil service towards which we were encouraged. But now, as our report suggests, this view has changed. Entrepreneurs and universities are embracing each other, and by doing so they are creating a burst of activity that is resulting in more innovation, more jobs and stronger local economies.
There are plenty of individual benefits for both parties too. Businesses can tap into the endless supply of talented graduates eager for real-world experience, while universities can benefit from generous donations as well as ideas and support from successful alumni.
If companies and academic institutions can continue to collaborate effectively, there’s no telling what they might be able to achieve. The next Google, Netflix or PayPal could well be just over the horizon.
Read the Reed/Bloomberg UK Jobs Report here.