QAA Mapping

Sandpit is mapped to the QAA guidance on Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, meaning it can be applied easily to any course where students are generating ideas.

SANDPIT is an online business simulation, designed specifically to be a “safe place” for learning for your students to develop and pitch their ideas.

SANDPIT delivers clear entrepreneurial outcomes for your learners, as they experience an authentic entrepreneurial simulation within the local SANDPIT ‘economy’.

As a tool for enterprise and entrepreneurship education, SANDPIT creates an authentic market place experience for your students.

Starting with an online ‘customer-identification’ challenge, SANDPIT provides 2 stand-alone, or interlinked simulations that allows students to test out their ideas and receive clear market feedback from either potential customers (Sales simulation) or investors (Investment simulation). This creates a unique learning experience that builds on ‘real time’ feedback to provide authentic learning experience for students.

By establishing virtual currency for your students to work with in a clearly defined ‘local economy’ you are able to invite wider expertise and comment into the “SANDPIT”, allowing your students to experience real customer feedback or genuine investor comments.

By first including other students from the module/programme the competitive experience for your students is established within a safe contained learning space online. This can be then be extended by inviting in specific members of your entrepreneurial eco-system (entrepreneurs; advisors; alumni) or colleagues or even the wider student group to join! This provides a unique opportunity to engage your entrepreneurial community to help enhance the learning and development of your students, in real time.

Based on the popular “crowd funding” model of business investment, SANDPIT offers a unique three stage approach:

  • Problem Statement: Idea generation and problem identification
  • Sales Simulation / Sales Sandpit – Sales pitch
  • Equity Simulation - Investment pitch

2.1. How does SANDPIT deliver Entrepreneurial Outcomes in Learners?

SANDPIT is an online business simulation specifically designed to support the development of entrepreneurial outcomes in your students, building their “entrepreneurial effectiveness” (QAA 2012) within the context of their discipline or subject area.

SANDPIT has been mapped against the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) “Guidance for UK Higher Education Providers: Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education” (2012) as delivering entrepreneurial outcomes in support of its highest level - the concept of “Entrepreneurial Effectiveness” – as well against the European Commission’s EntreComp: The Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (2016).

Each of these important frameworks are outlined below, together with the contribution that SANDPIT can make to build your student’s entrepreneurial effectiveness as they work online to pitch their ideas.

2.2. What is the QAA (2012) Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education Guidance?

The UK Quality Assurance Agency is the independent body entrusted with monitoring, and advising on, standards and quality in UK Higher Education.

Known globally for developing the UK standards, most academics will be familiar with 78 QAA Subject Benchmark Statements, created for each discipline area -

However, in releasing “Guidance for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education” in 2012, QAA avoided prescribing just one approach (p2), preferring to, for the first time ever, develop the guidance as a “point of reference” (p1) for all subject areas, designed to be of practical help to academics, educators and practitioners who are seeking to embed enterprise and entrepreneurship across the curriculum (p2).

Drawing upon contemporary best practice it outlines the development of entrepreneurial effectiveness (through the stages of entrepreneurial awareness, mind set and capability) as the approach to equipping students and graduates to develop their overall effectiveness beyond the educational setting (p10). The full document can be found here-

2.3. What is “Entrepreneurial Effectiveness” (QAA 2012)?

The teaching of entrepreneurship used to be preserve of the ‘Business School’ and traditionally involved learning “about” entrepreneurship and the issues inherent within SME/ business start-up. As such, the theoretical underpinnings, trends and strategies within the subject area could be easily explored, and assessed, within the traditional classroom environment, and by using traditional teaching methods. However the recognition of the potential impact of embedding entrepreneurship effectively within all subject areas, supported by a clear policy drive to embed entrepreneurship within all subject areas has heralded a new approach in the class room. This supports the development of entrepreneurial mind sets in our students and learners – defined as “teaching for” enterprise and entrepreneurship and seeks to build entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. The educator challenge has been recognised and defined as QAA (2012) as developing “entrepreneurial effectiveness” through a combination of:

  • Enterprise awareness
  • Entrepreneurial mind set
  • Entrepreneurial capability (QAA 2012 p10)

Definition: Entrepreneurial Effectiveness (QAA 2012)

Entrepreneurial effectiveness is defined by the QAA (2012) as “the ability to behave in enterprising and entrepreneurial ways. This is achieved through the development of enhanced awareness, mind set and capabilities to enable learners to perform effectively in taking up opportunities and achieving desired results. Effective performance means adapting and applying the mind set and capabilities to the relevant context and exercising judgements about the optimal actions to take within set environments” (p10)

Entrepreneurial effectiveness can be seen as the ability to function effectively as an entrepreneur (p2) creating “independent self-direction progressing individual goals and approaches” (p11). The use of SANDPIT delivers this for teams, or individuals, as they adopt a self-determined approach to address a problem within their subject area or sector, drawing upon clear entrepreneurial skills to create a solution which is exposed to real-time authentic feedback by their peers and invited experts.

2.4. How does SANDPIT support the development of entrepreneurial effectiveness?

Table 1: Creating “Entrepreneurial Effectiveness” through SANDPIT (p17)

Students should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

SANDPIT Delivers

How SANDPIT delivers

Apply appropriate business generation strategies


Through the identification of a customer, students are challenged to develop a strategy for their new business (sales and/or investment)

Undertake specific tasks to new venture creation or putting an enterprising idea into action


The opportunity to develop an idea and expose it to the feedback and comment of a real ‘economy’ requires students to undertake a wide range of authentic start-up tasks in order to put their idea into action.

Appreciate the multiple forms of value potentially generated through entrepreneurship


With promotion being key within both the sales and investment pitch, the concept of value must be understood in order to effectively communicate with a range of audiences.  Subject specific challenges can ensure that social, environmental or fiscal value is highlighted within their work, but all approaches within SANDPIT require the concept of value to be both understood and meaningfully explained.

Meaningfully explain the fiscal, social, creative, environmental or other value of the products, services  or ideas they generate


Identify target markets and associated value mechanisms


Effective pitching within a marketplace, or the SANDPIT local economy, requires students to understand their target markets, whether they are other students, or specifically invited guests (alumni; entrepreneurs).

Students who develop a clear problem statement and work on a pitch will be developing their “entrepreneurial effectiveness” and the SANDPIT simulation includes opportunities that match those as suggested by QAA (2012 p17 & 18) (See tables 2 & 3).

Table 2:  Delivering opportunities for “Entrepreneurial Effectiveness” through SANDPIT

Delivery should include opportunities for:

Sandpit Delivers Opportunities

Marketing, research and competitor analysis for potential opportunities


Planning and formation of a new venture, social enterprise or community organisation

Yes – through investment pitch

Creativity, research, development and innovation


Securing, using and monitoring financial and other resources effectively

Yes – particularly through investment

SANDPIT, also depending upon the challenge set, or subject/sector being explored can provide opportunities for delivery in the following areas:

Learning about legal requirements, inc health and safety, employment law and intellectual property rights

Yes – can be specifically explored through context:  through the problem set (sector; subject) and/or within customer discovery 

Innovation, change and improvement within existing organisations

Promotion and organisation of social, cultural and sporting events

Summary: Developing Entrepreneurial Effectiveness:

The SANDPIT learning experience is designed to ensure that students are exposed to all the elements that can build entrepreneurial effectiveness. The mapping clearly shows that all the elements can be addressed as students work through the SANDPIT experience and the tutor can shape this learning through the choice of online experience as well through the creation of an effective challenge rooted in the subject area.

2.5. How can “entrepreneurial effectiveness” be developed through appropriate choice of teaching and delivery methods?

QAA Guidance (2012) stresses the need for an integrated strategy of teaching, learning and assessment which helps students to develop and demonstrate their entrepreneurial effectiveness (p24). Within this strategy, the guidance clearly makes the case for shifting the focus away from traditional delivery methods of “chalk and talk” in order to build skills and confidence in students. Specifically the Guidance states the need to move:

  1. From case studies to emerging situations
  2. From abstract problems to innovation
  3. From passive learning to active learning
  4. From objective analysis to subjective experience
  5. From text-heavy communication to multimedia communication
  6. From neutrality to personal perspectives
  7. From formal activities to authentic activities
  8. From fearing failure to learning from failure
  9. From dependency to self-reliance and resilience.

By using SANDPIT as a business simulation, all of these recommended shifts in delivery methods can be addressed by working through the online system.

Firstly students are required to find their potential customers by identifying a unique problem statement and creating their own solutions for testing.

This sets up an “emerging situation” (1) within a dynamic local economy.

Students have self-defined their own solution and are now testing this out in a safe environment, but one that is challenging enough to expose them to competition, market demands, customer feedback and even comment from investors. This creates an undetermined and emerging situation for them to experience the “life world” (Gibb 20xxx) of an entrepreneur.

Rather than working from case studies or worked examples from text books, SANDPIT provides the students with opportunities to truly innovate (2) within their subject area, and follow their own ideas through the ‘real-life’ scenarios that the virtual economy, including competitors, creates for them. The SANDPIT crowdfunding platform creates a scenario or internal market for them to experience live. This creates active learning (3) that produces a personalised and subjective experience (4) that can be considered as replicating the emotional involvement of the entrepreneur.

As an online business simulation, SANDPIT is built upon multimedia communication (5) that challenges students to embrace these, whilst ultimately effectively tailoring their approach to their appropriate audience.

The learning journey within SANDPIT is personal (6) as each pitch is uniquely created and developed within the SANDPIT economy to compete against others. Success requires students to influence and persuade, as well as address their own emotional responses to the comments and feedback within the crowdfunding market place. This creates an authentic (7) activity which reflects the ‘real world’ experience of crowdfunding and consider the live scenario and issues they are facing.

SANDPIT creates a unique space for students to genuinely “learn from failure” (8). As one of the most complex areas of learning within entrepreneurship to address, the issue of failing needs to be explored with students in a safe environment. Sandpit provides the context for these important entrepreneurial lessons to be learnt.

By creating a market economy in which funding “success” is limited, the majority of the students will not achieve academic “success” from their crowd funding pitch alone. This encourages students to embrace funding “failure” as part of their learning process and experience this as customer or investor feedback. Reflection on their experience within the competitive market place, and meaningful exposure to the work of others, will provide valuable learning points for reflection and future action. This supports the development of self-reliance and resilience (9) as students are supported to see their projects through to fruition and take the messages from their investor and /or market into their future plans for business success.

2.6. How does Sandpit deliver on Delivery Methods (QAA 2012)?

Table 3: Developing Entrepreneurial Effectiveness by shifting the focus

Delivery: Shift the focus

Sandpit Delivers

From case studies to emerging situations


Educators enable students to shift from an abstracted study of the past to developing knowledge and skills that help them adapt to changing and future environments. Students may be asked to consider current data and opportunities for a particular business and envisage or predict future scenarios.


SANDPIT offers full potential to address this shift from the very start of the process.  The initial problem setting /customer identification creates an authentic and emerging situation for students to work within, drawing upon data to develop opportunities for their particular business.

From abstract problems to innovation

Educators enable students to shift from critical analysis of abstract problems towards an approach based on innovative and creative thinking. This makes them better equipped to tackle future scenarios.


Students are required to innovate within the SANDPIT experience.  They engage directly having identified their own, rather than an abstract, problem to address.

From passive learning to active learning


Educators enable students to shift from traditional learning, where they expect simply to 'receive' knowledge, towards situations in which they are actively involved; thus developing understanding through participation. A range of methods can be employed, for example authentic iterative assessment through discussion with employers, educators and peers, or through workshops and student 'think tanks'.


Students are actively involved in creating their own learning throughout the SANDPIT process.  They identify, explore and are actively engaged in understanding their customer journey, and receive authentic iterative feedback from investors or customers within the online ‘local economy’ that SANDPIT establishes.

From objective analysis to subjective experience

Educators enable students to shift from objective detachment towards a more holistic appreciation of a particular topic or scenario. They enable students to consider their own emotional responses to learning situations and challenges, and how this can influence their associated understanding.


The SANDPIT learning experience is highly personalised, creating emotional responses and high levels of engagement.  The authentic nature of the challenge ensures that students move beyond objective analysis to a holistic appreciation

Summary: SANDPIT delivers on Delivery Methods

As an online business simulation SANDPIT is designed to ensure that the students have an active (3) and authentic (7) learning experience, which explores their own personal (6) innovation (2) as an emerging situation (1) in a dynamic market. This creates student-led, subjective learning (4) that draws upon effective multimedia communication (5) to support the development of “entrepreneurial effectiveness” (QAA 2012) in learners through the exposure to clear market messages (learning from failure 8) that builds self-reliance and resilience (9).

The QAA (2012) guidance defines “the task of the enterprise educator” (p22), stating that it is to:

1. Create learning environments that encourage entrepreneurial behaviour in students now and in the future

SANDPIT provides a safe environment that encourages entrepreneurial behaviour and develops graduate outcomes

2. Design curricula with learning outcomes that relate to the enterprise agenda through increasing relevance and decreasing abstraction

SANDPIT allows you, as the tutor, to create learning experiences that are highly relevant and  embedded with your subject area.

3. Enable students to relate their learning to their subject or industry context and to personal aspirations

SANDPIT allows you, as the tutor, to issue an industry or sector challenge, and/or allow students to follow personal interests.

4. Continuously exploit new opportunities for enhancing the student experience

SANDPIT provides a new learning environment to enhance the student experience.

5. Be innovative in their approach to teaching and willing to experience with different pedagogies to ensure appropriateness

SANDPIT is an innovation in learning, teaching and assessment that can be easily tailored to be appropriate to your subject area.

6. Be a leader who is able to shape the opportunity-based learning environment

SANDPIT is a new online environment for opportunity-based learning.

7. Engage external communities and find appropriate practical contexts to enhance the learning experience

SANDPIT allows you, as the tutor, to invite externals into your safe learning space to enhance the authentic nature of student feedback.

8. Engage entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ventures to enhance learning opportunities.

SANDPIT allows you, as the tutor, to engage entrepreneurs in enhancing the learning experience through online engagement.


Summary: SANDPIT helps me as an enterprise educator

The SANDPIT business simulation creates a new online learning environment which can support and develop the entrepreneurial behaviour of your students (1) preparing them for their futures beyond education.

Creating relevant ‘real world’ learning (2) within a virtual market place where they can relate their personal and industry interests (3) creates clear enhancement for the student experience (4).

As an educator, you will be seeking to enhance the student’s experience of learning (4) which includes looking for opportunities to innovate with pedagogies (5) and lead the development of opportunity-based learning environments (6) such as SANDPIT.

Additionally SANDPIT gives you control over the learning environment, allowing you to engage externals (7) to enhance the learning experience, even engaging entrepreneurs (8) as potential investors in your market place and providing an opportunity for students to experience the development of an entrepreneurial venture, but in an educational “safe space”.

2.8. How does SANDPIT support the development of Entrepreneurial Graduate Outcomes?

The Quality Assurance Agency Guidance on Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education for Higher Education providers (2012) created a broad framework of enterprising behaviours, attributes and skills (p16) within seven themes (listed below):

  1. Creativity and innovation
  2. Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
  3. Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
  4. Implementation of ideas, through leadership and management
  5. Reflection and Action
  6. Interpersonal skills
  7. Communication and Strategy Skills

2.9. How using SANDPIT provides delivery opportunities for all of the QAA (2012) 7 Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Themes

Using Sandpit for delivery of entrepreneurial outcomes ensures that there are opportunities for each of the 7 QAA  Themes

7 QAA Themes

Delivery should include opportunities for






Creativity and Innovation

Creative thinking









Problem Solving



Understanding the value of intellectual property



Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation

Recognise or create multiple opportunities through actively making connections



Make connections as a result of problem solving, evaluating and assessing ideas, and iterative development strategies involving critique and enactment



Development relevant subject expertise, as well as awareness of contemporary issues, both of which should feature strongly in any strategies for recognising opportunity




Decision Making supported by critical analysis and judgement

Research and collect evidence



Critically analyse data and other information



Intuitively make decisions under uncertainty



Use judgement to take calculated risks



Take the initiative to make things happen



Demonstrate financial literacy



Implementation of ideas through leadership and management

Leadership and social and team management within projects and other activities



Productively linking intention, context and process with outcome and dissemination, within management structures



Development and maintenance of effective relationships with audiences, clients, markets, users and consumers, as well as participants, co-workers and co-creators.



Evaluation of resilience and adaptability, using effectiveness in relationships as a gauge



Reflection and Action

Developing reflection techniques



Skills analysis



Reviewing networking






Action planning



Use of iterative, discovery and learning processes, including learning from failure



Interpersonal Skills

Building Trust












Stakeholder relations



Communication and Strategy skills

Thinking about and visualising the future, scanning the environment, planning



Communicating, directing and rationalising



Building relationships, building trust, influencing, networking, negotiating and reviewing progress



Multiple forms of communication for a range of audiences including new media technologies



Learning how intellectual property and issues of confidentiality impact on communication




Footnote 1 Evidence

Entrepreneurship education is no longer the preserve of the Business School. The last ten years have seen policy documents from UK and Europe calling for staff to expose students to opportunities for entrepreneurship within their chosen subject area, in order to develop an entrepreneurial mind-set.

- “It needs to be widely owned across the university; the days are long gone when entrepreneurship education was seen as an activity that is confined to business schools” (QAA Scotland 2014 p28)

- “All students should have access to entrepreneurship education, which should be offered in all types and at all levels of education” (Building Entrepreneurial Mindsets and skills in the EU 2012)

- “In many higher education institutions, entrepreneurship education is anchored in business schools. This can create barriers to its institution-wide offer and take-up” (HE Innovate 2016 p6)

- “Requires universities to create entrepreneurial campuses – campuses which stimulate the entrepreneurial aspirations of students and provides them with the opportunity to develop relevant skills, knowledge and experiences and offers relevant support and resources to enable them to start their own business” (QAA Scotland 2014 p2)

- Oslo Agenda (2006) “D10 All faculties/disciplines should develop opportunities for students at every level to experience entrepreneurship”


Bacigalupo M, Kampylis P, Punie Y, Van de Brande G (2016) “EntreComp: The Entrepreneurship Compentence Framework” JRC Science for Policy Report EC EUR 27939EN

EU (2012) Building Entrepreneurial Mindsets and skills in the EU 2012)

HE Innovate Analytical Paper (2016) released as part of HEInnovate project

QAA Guidance (2012) “Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education: Guidance for Higher Education Providers”

Price, A (2015) “Delivering Enterprise For All” Lord Young “Enterprise for All” project

Young (2014) “Delivering Enterprise for All”