...Accrediting for entrepreneurial excellence and leadership

(Africa’s first ISO 9001:2015 Certified and ISO/IEC 17011:2017 and ISO 17040:2005 Accredited Quality Assurance Body)


Entrepreneurial talent combines the creativity, flexibility, risk-taking, and perseverance needed to succeed in a continually changing world.

The 21st-century skills as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are vital, and entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking are now more crucial than ever. But even in larger organisations – public and private – an enterprising mindset plays an essential role. They all play their part in any entrepreneurial ecosystem, with an important role for entrepreneurship education and enterprise education.

These two concepts, enterprise and entrepreneurship education, seem to be about the same thing, but there is a clear difference between the two. There is a clear distinction between these two types of education. Entrepreneurship education emphasises setting up, starting, and running a business, while the other deals with developing the attitudes, competencies, and behaviours for functioning entrepreneurially within the business and non-business contexts (Henry, 2013; Jones and Iredale, 2010).

So, the definition of entrepreneurship involves three key concepts: seeing opportunities, seizing opportunities, and creating value. In that sense, it can entail innovation. However, it takes entrepreneurial skills to combine these 3 aspects.

That’s why entrepreneurship education and enterprise education must have an even stronger place in every type of education - from primary school to higher education. But is it enough?

ACEEE through its parent Global Academy of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and other members of the Global Confederation of Entrepreneurship Institutes have developed, an entrepreneurial mindset tool, for stimulating an entrepreneurial mindset for the entire learning path from primary to university education. Not only to teach entrepreneurship to the entrepreneurs of tomorrow but also to prepare employees for the enterprising job market.

Seeing and exploiting opportunities is what makes someone enterprising and that attitude can be widely applied.

The final notion of entrepreneurship, creating value, relates to running one’s own business. With a company, you can create value for yourself; income, freedom, etc. But moreover, you also create value for your environment, such as your customers, the neighbourhood, and suppliers.

To add, value is much more than just money or income. It is often more about satisfaction and recognition. To be able to create value, an entrepreneurial attitude is needed. This means to be able to see and exploit opportunities (again and again).

Being enterprising is thus an umbrella term for entrepreneurial behavior - an important condition for entrepreneurship. Many schools or programmes present themselves as entrepreneurial, but teachers and students hardly experience that in practice. This is a problem, especially for learning entrepreneurial behaviour. So, what involves entrepreneurial education to a young person?

Examples of entrepreneurial teaching and learning

So, what are examples of teaching and learning enterprising behaviour in the field of entrepreneurship education? How to teach entrepreneurship to students? • Writing a business plan for a (student) company.
• It teaches entrepreneurship students more about creating value, but doesn’t inspire student nor learns them enterprising behaviour.
• A young entrepreneur in front of the class.
• It inspires students on seizing opportunities but doesn’t teach them entrepreneurial behaviour.
• A programme on opportunity recognition.
• It inspires and learns students seeing opportunities, especially if they learn themselves to recognize opportunities through creativity and brainstorm techniques.
• Entrepreneurship education programmes, like participating in a student company, such as the Junior Achievement or Young Enterprise.
• Such an entrepreneurship course inspires, teaches, and develops the entrepreneurial awareness and behaviour of students because all 3 aspects of entrepreneurship are addressed. However, this will backfire when the teacher’s time and quality are lacking. This is crucial!
• Graduating in your own company.
• This is the best way to learn the 3 aspects of entrepreneurship; seeing and seizing opportunities and creating value.

For an apprentice or vocational trainer, an entrepreneurial attitude means that he actively seeks new initiatives and recognises opportunities, and learns how to seize these opportunities by transforming them down into concrete actions. These aspects should be part of the entrepreneurship curriculum. Such an enterprising attitude will help any student within the business school, work, and private life.

With entrepreneurial education, entrepreneurship is gradually gaining a permanent position in education. Next, for the future, it is important to join forces and coordinate activities, so that the national education system and entrepreneurship policies are further strengthened. However, the most important goal is that through education and training the entrepreneurs of tomorrow stand up.

Accreditation Adds Value

ACEEE accreditation assures confidence that an entrepreneurship programme has met standards essential to prepare graduates to enter critical innovation, entrepreneurship and enterprise management fields in the global workforce. Graduates from a ACEEE-accredited programme have a solid educational foundation and are capable of leading the way in innovation, emerging technologies, and in anticipating the welfare and safety needs of the public.

To Students

Your degree is a significant achievement and perhaps the largest investment you will make toward your future. The quality of education you receive makes a big difference in your career success. ACEEE accreditation:

• Verifies that your educational experience meets the global standard for entrepreneurship and enterprise education in your profession.
• Enhances your employment opportunities—multinational corporations require graduation from an accredited programme.
• Supports your entry to an entrepreneurship profession through licensure, registration and certification—all of which often require graduation from a ACEEE-accredited programme as a minimum qualification.
• Establishes your eligibility for many federal student loans, grants, and/or scholarships.
• Paves the way for you to work globally, because ACEEE accreditation is recognised worldwide through international agreements, and many other countries’ national accrediting systems are based on the ACEEE model

To Institutions

The ACEEE accreditation review process is an intensive team effort, and programme accreditation is voluntary. So why go through the trouble? Because the process yields data and insights; you can use it to deliver the best educational experience for your students.
More than 2,000 professionals from academia, industry and government carry out every aspect of ACEEE accreditation. They know their profession’s dynamic and emerging workforce needs and review academic programmes to ensure they provide the entrepreneurship and enterprise management graduates need to succeed.
ACEEE accreditation tells your prospective students, peers and the professions you serve that your programme:
• Has received international recognition of its quality.
• Promotes “best practices” in education.
• Directly involves faculty and staff in self-assessment and continuous quality improvement processes.
• Is based on “learning outcomes,” rather than “teaching inputs.”
• Can more easily determine the acceptability of transfer credits.

To Global

YWhen ACEEE’s quality standards are applied and promoted around the globe, the results are a better-educated, geographically mobile, diverse innovative and entrepreneurial workforce well-prepared to advance innovation and excel professionally in fields of critical importance to society.

ACEEE accreditation criteria are developed by entrepreneurship professionals, members of our member institutes. Each institute dedicates volunteers to perform programme reviews related to its professions. Coming from academic, industrial and governmental backgrounds, ACEEE volunteers are trained experts who evaluate programmes for relevancy, content and quality. This third-party peer review is critical in the entrepreneurship fields, where quality, precision and safety are of utmost importance, and sets ACEEE apart from other accreditors.

We promote excellence in entrepreneurship and enterprise education by focusing on continuous quality improvement processes, not by prescribing methods. With technological change occurring so rapidly, institutions seeking to ensure their programmes are dynamically evolving participate in the ACEEE accreditation process.

ACEEE accreditation:
• Ensures that graduates have met the educational requirements necessary to enter the profession.
• Provides opportunities for the industry to guide the educational process to reflect current and future needs.
• Enhances the mobility of professionals.
Responsive to increasing globalization, we work to ensure that the graduates of ACEEE-accredited programmes can employ their talents internationally. We do this by signing agreements with educational quality assurance organisations in other countries and jurisdictions. Not only does this allow ACEEE-accredited programme graduates to use their skills around the world, but it also raises their value to employers. Nigeria government, for example, and many multinational corporations seek employees with degrees from ACEEE-accredited programmes that translate globally.

When advertising for new hires, include “graduation from a ACEEE-accredited programme” as one of your requirements.


ACEEE Accreditation Evaluation Is an 18-Month, Five-Step Process.

ACEEE accreditation is the culmination of a practice of ongoing self-assessment and continuous improvement, which assures confidence that ACEEE-accredited programmes are meeting the needs of their students, preparing graduates to enter their careers, and responsive to the needs of the professions and the world. This process has to be initiated by the institution.

Beforehand – Assessment and Eligibility

Before seeking ACEEE accreditation, your programme should determine if it falls into the categories that we accredit, and that it meets our Eligibility Requirements. Prior to seeking an accreditation review, each programme must have a functioning assessment process in place that meets our criteria for accreditation in three areas: Programme Educational Objectives, Student Outcomes, and Continuous Improvement.

The Accreditation Process

1. Readiness Review

Programmes seeking initial accreditation by a commission for which the institution currently has no ACEEE-accredited programmes must undergo a Readiness Review. One preliminary Self-Study Report per programme should be sent to by October 1. The Readiness Review—one of our eligibility requirements—will help determine whether or not your programme is ready to submit a formal Request for Evaluation (RFE).

2. Request for Evaluation

Programmes that have:
1. met all eligibility requirements for ACEEE accreditation,
2. implemented assessment processes, and
3. if required, completed the readiness review may begin the accreditation process by filing a Request for Evaluation (RFE) by January 31 of the year in which the programme is seeking an on-site visit.

Every RFE must be accompanied by one official transcript from a recent programme graduate.

For programmes located outside of Nigeria, the RFE must also be accompanied by the Request for Acknowledgement (RFA) form and all required certified/official translations.

3. Self-Study Report

Once your programme has submitted a Request for Evaluation, it must submit a Self-Study Report to ACEEE Headquarters by July 1. The chair of your programme’s accreditation review team will then instruct you on distributing copies of the Self-Study Report to each member of the review team.

4. The On-Site Visit

On-Site visits are typically scheduled between September and December in the same year of an RFE submission. For programmes located in Nigeria, the on-site visit usually takes place between September and December, generally Sunday through Tuesday. Programmes outside Nigeria may have a different schedule.

Once the on-site visit is set, you will be asked to schedule interviews and provide meeting spaces and display materials to assist the review team in its evaluation. The on-site visit will conclude with an exit meeting, at which the review team will convey its findings.

5. Due Process and the Accreditation Decision

Approximately two to three months after the on-site visit, we will send your institution a Draft Statement containing a section for each programme reviewed. The institution has a 30-Day Due Process response period from receipt of the Draft Statement to provide information on actions the programmes have taken to resolve any identified shortcomings.

The back-and-forth process of the due process review period must be completed before the commission’s decision-making meeting in July, when each team chair presents his/her team’s findings to the commission responsible for the accreditation decision.

A Final Statement is prepared and sent to the institution by August 31. The Final Statement is based on the review team’s findings, the programme’s responses, and communicates the accreditation commission’s decision.


The true benefits of accreditation lie in the ongoing process of assessment that lays the foundation for programmematic success. The programme assessment planning process is related to the following ACEEE Accreditation Criteria:
• ACEEE Criterion 2: Programme Educational Objectives
• ACEEE Criterion 3: Student Outcomes
• ACEEE Criterion 4: Continuous Improvement

1. Establish Purpose (Mission Statement) & Set Goals (Timeline)

Assessment planning begins with the institutional mission statement, which describes the communities that are served and the institutional purposes and other characteristics that define your institution. At the same time, your institution’s assessment leader should work with an appropriate mix of faculty and administrators to develop a plan of action and timeline to ensure departmental assessment goals and deadlines are met.

2. Define/Refine Programme Educational Objectives & Student Outcomes

Programme educational objectives are based on the needs of the programme’s constituencies and are expressed in broad statements that describe what graduates are expected to attain within a few years of graduation.

Student outcomes relate to the knowledge, skills and behaviours that students acquire as they progress through the programme and describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. Defining educational objectives and student outcomes provides faculty with a common understanding of the expectations for student learning and supports consistency across the curriculum, as measured by performance indicators.

Performance indicators represent the knowledge, skills, attitudes or behaviour students should be able to demonstrate by the time of graduation that indicate competence related to the outcome.

3. Design & Conduct Assessments

Assessments offer a framework through which you can identify, collect and prepare data to evaluate the attainment of student outcomes and programme educational objectives. Effective assessments use relevant direct, indirect, quantitative, and qualitative measures appropriate to the outcome or objective being measured. Appropriate sampling methods may be used as part of an assessment process.

Efficient and effective assessment strategies require an understanding of the alignment between educational practices and strategies. This can be accomplished by mapping educational strategies (which could include co-curricular activities) to learning outcomes. Strategies for data collection and analysis need to be systematic and consistent, and focus on assessment related to the performance indicators.

4. Evaluate Assessment Findings

Evaluation processes interpret the data and evidence accumulated through the assessment process and determine the extent to which student outcomes and programme educational objectives are being attained. Thoughtful evaluation of findings is essential to ensure that decisions and actions taken as a result of the assessment process will lead to programme improvement.

5. Use Results for Decision Making

Assessment provides a framework for a meaningful feedback process, which is critical to strategic decision-making. Creating and maintaining an ongoing quality assurance system helps to keep your programme relevant to the professions it serves, supports the highest quality student experience, and confirms that your graduates are well prepared for their careers.

Changes during the Period of Accreditation

Changes to your programme could affect how you are accredited. Ensure that your programme matches our guidelines by reporting changes listed below to our Accreditation Department. Please read the Accreditation Policy and Procedures Manual for detailed instructions.

What Changes Matter?

Changes Related to ACEEE Policy

  • Programme name
  • Methods or venues of programme delivery (such as changing from predominately in-residence to online delivery)
  • Institutional authority to provide post-secondary education
  • Status of institutional accreditation
  • Decision not to continue accreditation
  • Decision to terminate a programme

Changes Related to Criteria

  • Students
  • Programme educational objectives
  • Student outcomes
  • Continuous improvement
  • Curriculum
  • Faculty
  • Facilities
  • Institutional support
  • Programme criteria

How to Report Changes

We have a well-defined process for relaying changes:
1. Have your institutional representative responsible for ACEEE-accredited programmes notify us of any changes.
2. Provide us with detailed information about the nature of each change and its impact on the accredited programme.

Decision and Notification

After the Due Process Response Period and receipt of the institution’s responses and required supplemental information, the review team prepares a draft Final Statement for presentation to the accreditation commission at its July Commission Meeting. During this meeting, the commission members collectively examine all information relating to each accreditation review and determine their decision, called an accreditation action.

The Final Statement to the institution will be completed after all updates from the July Commission Meeting are incorporated. The final version, along with a summary of accreditation actions conferred, will be mailed to the institution by August 31.

The final accreditation decision rests with the appropriate ACEEE commission, not with the individual review team. In the case where two or more commissions are involved in the review of a single programme, each commission determines its decision independently.

The accreditation actions available to the commissions are:

• Next General Review (NGR) – The programme has no deficiencies or weaknesses. This action is taken only after a comprehensive review (initial accreditation or general review) and has a typical duration of six years.
• Interim Report (IR) – The programme has one or more weaknesses that will require a progress report to evaluate remedial actions taken by the programme. This action has a typical duration of two years.
• Interim Visit (IV) – The programme has one or more weaknesses that will require an on-site review to evaluate remedial actions taken by the programme. This action has a typical duration of two years.
• Show Cause Report (SCR) – A currently accredited programme has one or more deficiencies that will require a progress report to evaluate remedial actions taken by the programme. This action has a typical duration of two years. This action cannot follow a previous SC action for the same deficiency or deficiencies.
• Show Cause Visit (SCV) – A currently accredited programme has one or more deficiencies that will require an on-site visit to evaluate remedial actions taken by the programme. This action has a typical duration of two years. This action cannot follow a previous SC action for the same deficiency or deficiencies.
• Report Extended (RE) – This action is applicable after an Interim Report action only. It acknowledges that the programme has taken satisfactory remedial action to address weaknesses identified in the prior IR action. This action extends accreditation to the Next General Review and has a typical duration of either two or four years.
• Visit Extended (VE) – This action is applicable after an Interim Visit action only. It acknowledges that the programme has taken satisfactory remedial action to address weaknesses identified in the prior IV action. This action extends accreditation to the Next General Review and has a typical duration of either two or four years.
• Show Cause Extended (SE) – This action is applicable after either a Show Cause Report or Show Cause Visit action. It acknowledges that the programme has taken satisfactory remedial action to address all deficiencies and weaknesses identified in the prior Show Cause action. This action typically extends accreditation to the Next General Review and has a typical duration of either two or four years.
• Not-to-Accredit (NA) – The programme has deficiencies and is thus not in compliance with the applicable criteria. This action is usually taken only after a SCR or SCV review or the review of a new, unaccredited programme. Accreditation is not extended as a result of this action. This is the only action that can be appealed.
• Accreditation outside Nigeria

ACEEE’S Role in Global Accreditation

ACEEE is engaged globally through four primary means: 1) accreditation of academic programmes; 2) mutual recognition of accreditation organisations; 3) Memoranda of Understanding with accreditation/quality assurance organisations; and 4) engagement in global entrepreneurship and enterprise education organisations.

We take an active role in the global quality assurance process for technical education programmes through numerous agreements with organisations worldwide. These include Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) and Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). A list of our MRA global partners can be found here and here. A list of our MOU global partners can be found here.

We respect the autonomy of each nation’s higher education quality assurance organisation. While ACEEE accredits programmes outside of the US, we also encourage all academic programmes located in these countries and regions to pursue accreditation by the appropriate MRA or MOU partner. We will conduct an accreditation review in the MRA/MOU country/region only if our partner does not object.

In addition, programmes located outside of Nigeria must have each appropriate education authority, recognition or accreditation agency complete a Request for Acknowledgement form to be submitted with the formal Request for Evaluation. We will conduct an accreditation review outside Nigeria only in cases where there is no objection from all applicable education authorities or recognition/accreditation agencies in that programme’s country or region.

The ACEEE accreditation process for programmes located outside of Nigeria is identical to the accreditation process for programmes within Nigeria

Language Requirements

• A programme seeking accreditation in a country where English is not the native language must provide its programme name both in English and in the native language. English translation of a programme name should be based on the technical content, not the literal translation of the programme name, so that ACEEE can designate the appropriate accreditation commission(s) and determine the applicable criteria.
• Official transcripts must be provided in English or come with a certified/official English translation.
• The self-study report and other documents provided to the review team must be in English.
Programmes must be able to prepare for and receive a visiting review team conducting activities in English. All visit activities will be conducted in English.

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    The Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Education (ACEEE) is the only African quality assurance body with a focus entrepreneurship and enterprise education in formal and non-formal education. As such, ACEEE strives to lead the way in a new era for higher education through evaluating, supporting and igniting the potential of tertiary institutions on their road to third mission excellence.

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