Purpose – This article explores the integrated processes of action learning, entrepreneurial learning and new venture creation by students and graduates in the creative industries by addressing two questions:
1. How do action learning and entrepreneurial learning connect with new venture creation in the context of the creative industries?
2. How does learning influence the types of creative enterprises developed by students?
Design/methodology/approach – The article is based around the case of the SPEED (Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education) project which ran in 13 Higher Education Institutes in the United Kingdom between 2006 and 2008. This provided an innovative, action-learning based route, enabling students to create new business ventures as self-started work experience. The article uses the case to develop theoretical perspectives on creative entrepreneurship and action learning.
Findings – The article draws lessons from the experience of the SPEED programme as an innovative multi-HEI project, and develops a conceptual model of creative entrepreneurship with illustrative cases. Transferable insights and a model of entrepreneurial action learning illustrate connections between venture formation and ‘pull’ learning.
Practical implications – It is increasingly clear that graduate self-employment and entrepreneurship must make an essential contribution to educational and economic development in the post-recessionary economic era, but this is problematic, especially in the creative industries. Recommendations for development based on these models and practices are proposed.
Originality/value – The article connects action learning with theories of new venture creation and entrepreneurial learning. It develops critical insights and proposes conceptual models of creative enterprise and ‘pull’ learning in venture creation.
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