Start-up: a story, a joint University Alliance and NACUE project, celebrates the graduates who are turning their business idea into reality. Our toolkit, containing stories, top tips and links to helpful resources, will inspire more student and graduate entrepreneurs to start-up their own story.
The stories of ten graduate entrepreneurs give a rich insight into the realities of starting up and the important contribution of our graduates and universities to society and the economy. With economic growth high on the national agenda and employment rates under scrutiny, universities and their graduates have a central role to play in realising Government ambitions.
The scale of, interest in, and support for graduate enterprise is growing and entrepreneurship is in a powerful position to shape economy and culture in the UK today. Appetite among the student body continues to grow; there are now 130 NACUE Enterprise Societies in universities and colleges, up from just 12 in 2009. Students and graduates among the NACUE network are leveraging entrepreneurship not only as a solution to the question of employment, but to finance their time at university and to creatively solve real social problems. At the heart of this, the relationship between student enterprise societies and universities is a critical partnership in exposing students to entrepreneurship as a career option.
Turnover from graduate start-ups has doubled from 2008-2010 to over £270m, with turnover from Alliance start-ups accounting for more than half of the total. However, we are seeing a decline in start-up confidence with 10% fewer people feeling they have the skills to launch a business and 2.2% fewer believing starting a business is a good career choice.
We are calling for the Government to:
- Build stronger links between government financing for enterprise and universities, so that they are able to inform the design of schemes, such as Start-Up Loans, to ensure that those that would benefit from this support are better able to do so.
- Widen access to critical enterprise support available for graduate start-ups to enable enterprise growth across all key sectors.
- Target money from the new national fund for local enterprise to strengthen local networks and provision of university support for graduate start-ups.
- Proactively use and promote empty properties for the use of graduate start-ups, helping to nurture local start-ups.
- Recognise entrepreneurship as a legitimate graduate career, reflecting it more fully in employment and business data
Our call to government for greater support was made at the launch of Start-up: a story at the Houses of Parliament. The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, addressed student and graduate entrepreneurs, those involved in running university incubation centres and enterprise support, businesses, Parliamentarians and others with an interest in supporting entrepreneurs.
Find out more about the project and follow us on Twitter #StartupaStory.