Graduates encouraged to apply for start-up scheme

Entrepreneur First opens applications with event at East London Tech City

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A government-backed scheme has opened applications to graduates who want to start their own businesses.

The Entrepreneur First scheme, which was launched by David Cameron in March, opened the application process with an event at East London Tech City – featuring presentations from MP Ed Vaizey and established graduate entrepreneur David Langer.

Graduates who successfully apply for the scheme will benefit from a two-year programme of training and mentoring, to help them start their own businesses. Langer, who co-founded GroupSpaces aged 22, is one of the Entrepreneur First mentors.

Reflecting on his own graduate experience, Langer said: “When we founded GroupSpaces in 2007, we were in a tiny minority of people taking this route, with many people who were more than capable opting for traditional graduate schemes in the City.

“Founding your own high-growth company out of university is always going to be challenging, however I believe it’s a very fulfilling and viable option for thousands of the most ambitious, driven graduates in the UK.”

Graduate entrepreneurs selected to enter the scheme will also be provided with access to funding via a network of investors; free legal advice and software; training developed by entrepreneurs; and the opportunity to network with major businesses and investors.

Opening the scheme’s application process today, Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications and creative industries, said: “Entrepreneur First will identify and nurture our most promising entrepreneurs. Successful applicants will receive the very best help and support to transform their ideas into successful businesses [and] it is these new businesses that will provide the growth and jobs we need.”

Phil Cox, head of UK, Europe and Israel for Silicon Valley Bank – a corporate sponsor of the scheme – added: “Access to funding is one of the biggest barriers that entrepreneurs face when they look to get their business ideas off the ground. For a graduate looking to start their first business this barrier is often insurmountable.

“That’s where Entrepreneur First can really make a difference. By identifying the UK’s most promising graduates and giving them access to the right investors, it can play a vital role in helping our most talented and ambitious young people become successful entrepreneurs.”

For more information on Entrepreneur First or to apply for the scheme, visit the Entrepreneur First website

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