Our heartiest congratulations to our Deputy University Chair of "BEST Community", Prof Ikhlaq Sidhu, for winning the 2018 Major Education Innovation Award by the IEEE Educational Activities Board (EAB) in recognition of his contributions to entrepreneurship pedagogy and innovative teaching methods. Among Prof Sidhu’s contributions, the co-creation of a unique teaching method called the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship which emphasises an understanding of the mindsets and behaviours that most likely lead to entrepreneurial success. Prof Sidhu commented that the award not only recognised many incredible people at Berkeley but also our global collaborators empowering others to change the world.
Prof Sidhu joined Berkeley in 2005 as founding director of a new centre in the UC Berkeley College of Engineering called the UC Berkeley Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. He sought to not only create innovative teaching models to change the way that students learn, but also to transform the way that entrepreneurship programs are taught. Today, the Sutardja Center has become a permanent part of UC Berkeley as it is being recognised as the best way to magnify the positive impact of Berkeley students' career paths.
Prof Sidhu launched Berkeley’s Venture Lab in 2008 to allow students get hands-on experience developing real startups and working with innovators who already had entrepreneurial mindsets. The Venture Lab was the precursor to SkyDeck with the seed grants of US$100,000 per startup. In 2010, the Venture Lab was expanded to the Global Venture Lab for developing global partners. Since HKBU is one of 15 global partners, HKBU students have the chance to experience this unique teaching method, from online to offline. Through this global initiative, Prof Sidhu co-developed the first entrepreneurship online training module “BEST1001 – Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship in Hong Kong” with the Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO) of HKBU in 2016 (https://youtu.be/XaPYXq4ZR-E) where HKBU students can learn at their own pace about the mindsets, culture and behaviours of successful entrepreneurs. Budding entrepreneurs from local and overseas universities who would like to take on new challenges and develop creative ventures from scratch can participate in the HKBU Entrepreneurship Bootcamp (https://youtu.be/OxRPWkEwyko), a 4-day immersive learning experience where participants could take lessons with Prof Sidhu and his SCET (Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology) team face-to-face on HKBU campus. Very positive feedback was received from participants in the past two years, some even kick-started their businesses after the Bootcamp!
Apart from teaching young people about entrepreneurial mindsets, Prof Sidhu also sees it is very important that students aware of their own “Innovation Capability”. However, how do we measure this seemingly abstract idea and make relevant improvements? Prof Sidhu introduced the Berkeley Innovation Index (BII) to HKBU as a tool to measure the “Personal Innovation Mindset Level” of students. With the BII, we are able to understand better the strengths and weaknesses of HKBU students in areas such as “Trust, Resilience, Diversity, Mental Strength, Collaboration, Resources Awareness and Innovation Zone”. The results serve as a good indicator for HKBU to better allocate resources that cater to the needs of the students. Recently, Prof Sidhu has turned his attention to emerging technical areas like data science as he realises the need of rapid technology implementation worldwide. He believes that students would benefit from being able to integrate mathematical theories, open source tools, and the processes and behaviours used in real life innovation. With the world literally reinventing itself with Data, AI, Blockchain Technologies and Machine Learning, Prof Sidhu co-organised two rounds of Data X Master Class with HKBU KTO in January and May 2018 for executives and technical leaders in Hong Kong. The two classes have attracted participants from various sectors such as the Hospital Authority, PCCW, New World Development Company Limited, just to name a few.
Prof Sidhu is not only an exceptional entrepreneur, a resourceful technical leader but also a truly inspiring educator who spares no effort in empowering our next generation of young entrepreneurs and innovators. Congratulations again to Prof Sidhu for his outstanding achievements!