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Start-up Community Catalyst of the Year 2018

New Entrepreneurs Foundation

Name: New Entrepreneurs Foundation
Founders: Oliver Pawle, Lord Davies of Abersoch CBE, Sir Nigel Rudd DL and Dee Stirling
Started in: 2010
Based in: London
Business description: A programme that equips aspiring young entrepreneurs with the skills and experience they need to launch a business

Non-profit organisation New Entrepreneurs Foundation (NEF) is a true driver of entrepreneurial growth in the UK. Its purpose? To help aspiring young entrepreneurs develop the skills, knowledge and vision they need to start and run a business.

Each year, NEF selects a cohort of around 30 ambitious young people and takes them through a hands-on 12-month programme.

As part of the programme, participants undertake a fast-track course of workshops from over 20 specialist learning providers and business schools, including London Business School, Makers Academy and UCL.

NEF also organises paid work placements at high-growth companies, during which participants work closely with founders or senior management teams to learn, first-hand, what running a business is really like.

Crucially, participants are also assigned an individual executive coach to provide expert support, as well as a mentor – from NEF’s panel of successful business people and investors – to guide them down their career path.

Not only this, but NEF also provides monthly speaker and networking events. By 2017, the organisation had hosted 150 events, with an annual turnout of more than 1,000.

As of last year, NEF had developed seven cohorts of 200 alumni, who now give back to the programme by sharing their skills and experience with current cohorts.

But the proof of NEF’s importance is in the entrepreneurs and businesses that have come out of it: 92 ventures are currently live as a result of the programme, with thousands of jobs created and over £27m raised.

In this category, our judges saw plenty of inspiring start-up community catalysts. Rocketmakers, which helps entrepreneurs bring digital products to life, was awarded Highly Commended, while collaborative coworking space Runway East won the Commended title.

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