February/March 2019

Entrepreneurial excellence

At the University of Salford, enterprise excellence and industry engagement are at the core of our strategy. We evolve every year so our graduates gain the skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century global economy.

Launch a business at Launch@SalfordUni
Entrepreneurial students and graduates from the University of Salford are being given support to take on the world with their ideas, thanks to a new business incubator. Just opened in the University’s Peel Park campus, Launch@SalfordUni hosts 20 businesses at a time, which all benefit from six months of advice and space to grow their ideas into fully fledged businesses.

It’s about helping Greater Manchester become the best place to start and grow a new business and is supported by The GC Business Growth Hub and Santander Universities. Launch@SalfordUni provides a location to generate ideas and work with leading business figures. Support includes subject specific Q&A sessions, facilitated by academic staff from Salford Business School, networking showcase events and access to a seed funding pot made available through the University and partners Santander.

Among the businesses being supported are a company specialising in Virtual Reality experiences, a vegan food delivery system, a waste chemical recycler and an events company. Piotr Kotlarek has set up a business showcasing the power and immersion of Virtual Reality. His VR Den is one of the first to receive support from Launch@Salford Uni. He said: “The best advice I have had so far is to focus on one niche and make that work, rather than spread myself too thin in too many areas. “As I build the business my ultimate aim is to create experiences that professional athletes could use. For example you could recreate a track or a course in the VR environment and then the athlete could practice in as real a situation as possible to prepare themselves for what the final environment will be like.”

Backing from the Mayor
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham helped open the new facility. Mr Burnham said: “This answers a real need in the regional economy, that is start up space for young entrepreneurs. It is often difficult when you are trying to launch a new business, you need funding and accommodation. This sends a message that students can aspire to run their own business when they graduate.”

Professor David Spicer, Dean of the Business School at the University of Salford said: “Launch@SalfordUni is key to how we see our mission at the University. Providing the best experience possible for our students and supporting them to achieve their full potential.”

Enterprise Stars
To further strengthen our entrepreneurship offer we launched our national Enterprise Stars initiative in conjunction with University Alliance. Our aim is to give students an opportunity to make connections across the sector. The finals are held as a Dragon’s Den style event at our MediaCityUK campus. Students are able to interact with multiple companies, pitch their ideas and meet other innovative students.

We have an innovation competition embedded in the curriculum in each semester, which focuses on learning through developing and pitching ideas to potential investors. We allocate £10,000 of Santander-backed funding towards start-up ideas. Through this process, entrants are supported with business mentoring and feedback. Once budding entrepreneurs have won funding, we ensure we support them with further mentoring. They are supported through local incubators, our commercialisation team and benefit from our strong connections to industry partners and business support schemes.

Every year we run the Creative Entrepreneur conference showcasing the best in innovation, allowing our students and the wider public access to some of the most creative talent around. Best practice and dissemination has been shared internationally by the creation of QAA case studies, social media, live streaming, video, creation of teaching materials and blog posts. Student Lavinia Goddard earned the opportunity to present a television show thanks to her business idea Vinejuice, an urban culture promotions company which won the Creative Entrepreneur competition. The judges were so impressed with her that they decided to further back her and support her project.

New Courses
Two new courses will further embed entrepreneurialism in our curriculum; MSc Entrepreneurship will start in September 2019 and the BSc Entrepreneurship in 2020. Both courses focus on experiential learning rather than solely classroom-based learning. Successful entrepreneurs will give masterclasses and the courses will teach skills which are highly sought after by employers.

Find out more about how Salford Business School works with industry www.salford.ac.uk/business-school/business-and-partnerships or contact Sam Wood on 0161 295 5361, email s.e.wood@salford.ac.uk

For more information about how the University of Salford supports enterprise www.salford.ac.uk/askus/work-and-careers/enterprise