Incubator will boost student businesses

04-Oct-2018

Entrepreneurial students and graduates from the University of Salford will be given support to take on the world with their ideas, thanks to a new business incubator.

Opening in the University’s Peel Park campus in time for the new academic year, Launch @SalfordUni will host 20 businesses at a time, who will all benefit from six months of advice and space to grow their ideas into fully fledged businesses.

It’s about making Greater Manchester the best place to start and grow a new business and is supported by The GC Business Growth Hub and Santander Universities.

Launch @SalfordUni, will provide a location to generate ideas and work with leading business figures. It is about much more than just office space. In addition to workshops and the advice provision, the programme will include inspirational Enterprise Stories from highly regarded entrepreneurs, 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.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, along with Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett helped open the new facility at an event this week.

Speaking at the event 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.

“The jobs and investment that these business create will bring huge benefits, but it also brings a buzz to the place. There is a lot of positive energy around Greater Manchester at the moment, it’s a great place to live and study and we need to build on that, keep building it up. That is why this is so important to me, it’s putting real energy into the Greater Manchester economy.

“I remember back to my time at University we didn’t make it clear to students that they could start a business straight way. But with the modern economy that is fast moving that is definitely something they can do.”

Sam Grogan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience 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.

“Through this new service, we are not only positively supporting student businesses, but we are also working collaboratively with industry partners to deliver support workshops, advice and mentorship for our participants, ensuring industry insight is at heart of our programmes.

This new facility will provide physical space and ‘wrap around’ support and advice to inspire and help students and graduates develop the enterprise and entrepreneurial skills needed to start and grow their own businesses and social enterprises in Greater Manchester.”

Among the business ideas in the first of 20 selected are an online boutique coffee retailer, a vegan food delivery service, mental health workshop delivery and a chemical recycler.

Sophie Graham is one of the ambitious students to have been selected to be able to use the facility. Her website Musicandgigs.co.uk has been running for a few years already and has covered huge music events such as BBC Big Weekend, Leeds Festival and Fusion Festival.

Sophie, who graduated with BA Television and Radio said: “It started as a hobby, it’s my passion really. It’s an entertainment website which showcases huge names alongside upcoming acts. We do reviews, exclusive interviews, new releases and exclusive music documentaries.

“I’m looking to branch out more nationally and I’d like to turn the hobby into something that pays the bills. We have big plans for the future, which is why this incubator will be so useful for me. I’m hoping to get some tips and ideas to really make it a success and I’m sure with the support of the University and the whole team I’ll be able to make it a success.”

To find out more about how to get involved with Launch@SalfordUni or for sponsorship opportunities contact Justyna Turner at enterprise@salford.ac.uk.