Government to invest £500K in student enterprise

Minister Mark Prisk announces pledge at London South Bank University

The minister for business and enterprise Mark Prisk has pledged half a million pounds to an organisation which supports enterprise in universities.

The £500,000 fund, which was announced on the second day of Global Entrepreneurship Week, will support The National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE)’s work to tackle graduate unemployment by encouraging student entrepreneurship.

Speaking to an audience including Startups’ reporter and students at the The National Jump Start event at London South Bank University yesterday, Prisk said:

“I want to make sure that wherever you are, college or university, you can access a lively, well-organised enterprise society. That you can access – not only other people who have a shared interest – but I want to make sure that actually that enterprise society becomes part of a broader entrepreneurial hub in the community.

“That’s why today I’m announcing that we’re going to put, over the next year, half a million pounds into NACUE, working with them so we can grow the number of enterprise societies. We’re working with them so that we can look at what is the best way of nurturing those particular approaches on the ground – what works in practice, not in principle.”

The announcement follows research by Lloyds TSB which revealed that six in 10 UK students plan to start their own businesses, but 51% are put off by a lack of support about what makes a good business idea.

The government’s investment will be used to create nearly 100 new enterprise societies in universities and colleges across the UK within four years. NACUE will also set up a nationwide Enterprise Society Innovation Fund to match private sector investments secured by student-led societies, with awards ranging from £1,000 to £8,000.

Hushpreet Dhaliwal, CEO of NACUE, said: “It is so clear that Mark understands the entrepreneurial potential of young people in a way that I’ve not encountered in government before – in a remarkable way. He has really championed us internally since he was shadow business minister, up until now.”

Alice Bentinck, COO of Entrepreneur First, added: “This is a huge success for all those who believe that more needs to be done to support student enterprise.

“Entrepreneur First are particularly pleased as it will increase the number of students who have access to an entrepreneurial society while at university, and it will further improve the pipeline of entrepreneurial talent that is coming out of our universities.”

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