Entrepreneur First to help graduates launch high-growth start-ups

Initiative announces first intake of aspiring entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur First, the not-for-profit initiative to help British graduates start up in business, has announced its first batch of entrepreneurs.

Following more than 400 applications and 225 interviews, the Entrepreneur First judges have selected 34 promising graduates, drawn from 15 universities across the country, for the scheme’s initial intake.

The inaugural cohort will participate in a two-week bootcamp in Cambridge at the end of August, before formally beginning their training a month later.

During their time at Entrepreneur First, the aspiring entrepreneurs will begin running their businesses full-time, backed by intensive mentoring, regular training sessions and meetings with investors.

The first wave of applications was judged by a team of experienced entrepreneurs and investors including Pete Smith, co-founder and COO of Songkick; Ben Drury, co-founder and CEO of 7Digital; David Langer, co-founder and CEO of GroupSpaces; Alex Gezelius, principal at Index Ventures, and many more. 

Pete Smith said: “It was only a year ago that the first rumours circulated that an Entrepreneur First scheme was going to happen. The speed at which the Entrepreneur First team has moved to set up, design, and market the programme to recent and soon-to-be graduates would make any start-up team proud.   “The most impressive thing is undoubtedly the talent that they’ve attracted to the programme in its first year. Helping as a mentor with the interview process, I enjoyed every session I was involved in and was excited by the calibre of the people sitting in front of me”.

Smith added a prediction that the first wave of entrepreneurs “will nail it this year and completely validate the Entrepreneur First initiative. More to the point, they’re going to build some great companies.”

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Launched last year, Entrepreneur First is backed by a host of blue-chip organisations, including Silicon Valley Bank, Microsoft, McKinsey & Company and the City of London Corporation.



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