The entrepreneurs of tomorrow are being inspired to start their own business at the University of Kent in Medway and Canterbury.
Nearly 400 enterprising students registered for the Business Start-Up Day which aimed to inspire them to learn about entrepreneurship and starting their own business.
The programme links student entrepreneurs to expert start-up advice and high-profile business mentors including Daniel Rubin, founder of global footwear brand Dune of London.
Becky Simms who founded Maidstone-based Reflect Digital, a multi award-winning creative digital marketing company, in 2011 was one of the speakers. A winner of the KEiBA (Kent Excellence in Business Awards) Young Entrepreneur of the Year, said: “It’s a pleasure to be able to share my experiences of setting up a business with these young entrepreneurs. Running your own business is incredibly rewarding, but also a lot of hard work. The Business Start-Up Journey really helps to set the students on the right path.”
David Williamson, Director of the Kent Business School’s External Services team, which is running the programme, said: “Cross-fertilisation of ideas – bringing together students from different backgrounds and disciplines – is already resulting in new partnerships and innovations that would not otherwise have happened. It is an exciting time to be a student at the University and we’re proud to be a part of that.”
Over the next six months, students will be given access to business planning advice by the project’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Adam Smith, a successful businessman now living in Canterbury who has experience of Angel Investing.
Students will have the chance to meet potential investors and take part in pitching ideas to business experts. At the end of the programme there are cash awards available and the chance to attend the European Innovation Academy, Europe’s largest tech start-up festival.
The Business Start-Up Journey is running for the first time this year across the University’s two campuses after a successful pilot programme last year.
It is part of a wider, philanthropically funded project, ASPIRE (Accelerator Space for Innovation and Responsible Enterprise) which also includes funding for new academic chairs.
ASPIRE will be researching innovative and entrepreneurial practice that will inform the acceleration of start-ups. ASPIRE will be based in a state-of-the-art space in the new £36million Kent Business School building which is due to open in 2017.