Birmingham City University on Thursday announced a tie-up with the Hero Group to establish a new business school to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the state of Punjab.

The Munjal BCU School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MBSI) will be set up in the city of Ludhiana to cater to the needs of the industrial sector of the state.

The new project aims to re-design the higher education offering in the region with a STEAM-oriented (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) approach to the syllabus.

“After nearly nine months of negotiations I am delighted to announce that Birmingham City University and the Hero Group, through the Munjal Foundation, are working towards establishing the Munjal – BCU Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2020, which is effectively our STEAMHouse in India,” said Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University.

“This is great news for the West Midlands and Birmingham’s relationship with India, and a real trade connection post the General Election and potentially Brexit, with two powerhouses of the Commonwealth.

“STEAM has the ability to transform economies across the globe and by developing this way of thinking and this way of working we can make a real difference to businesses and communities worldwide, and this partnership is a real step forward in this journey,” he said.

STEAMhouse is designed by Birmingham City University as a centre for innovation, research, and creative production where technology, art, and design are used to nurture innovation and creativity.

The Munjal BCU School of Innovation (MBSI) in Ludhiana is planned to meet the growing innovation needs of industrial enterprises in Punjab.

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The idea is to use the strengths of each of the streams of STEAM to power innovation and productivity. To do this effectively, MBSI proposes to collaborate with some of the well-established names pioneering STEAM-based higher education around the world.

According to Birmingham City University, Punjab is home to around 50,000 SMEs spread across the clusters of Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Mohali, Patiala, Mandi, Gobindgarh, among other towns. Many such SMEs are reasonably successful and managed by third and fourth generation entrepreneurs.

Yet for a variety of reasons, a significant number still exist as SMEs and are typically characterised by low levels of innovation and technology absorption.

The proposed MBSI aims to establish a common, independent platform that facilitates innovation and builds an entrepreneurship ecosystem in Punjab.

A high-level delegation led by Birmingham City University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Philip Plowden, Deputy Vice Chancellor Julian Beer, and Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Alison Honour participated in the Progressive Punjab Investment Summit this week to finalise the details of the proposed Munjal-BCU School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“Higher education in Punjab finds itself at the crossroads with many students seeking to study and then immigrating to other countries in search of better opportunities. Students appear reluctant to pursue higher education in Punjab because of the perception that the quality of training and education on offer isn’t quite up to the standards expected of an industrialised state,” the university said in a statement.

“The proposed MBSI aims to trigger industrial revival in the state by driving innovation in the state’s industrial clusters and promoting entrepreneurship; tapping into the state’s reservoirs of manpower; and developing the considerable potential in the knowledge-intensive businesses,” it said. PTI AK

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