University unveils plans to transform entrepreneurship opportunities

Strathclyde Inspire branding

The University of Strathclyde is to offer every student and staff member entrepreneurship training and opportunities under new plans announced today (Thursday 19 November.)

The flagship entrepreneurship programme, Strathclyde Inspire, will also see the development of a state-of-the-art Entrepreneurship Hub in the heart of Glasgow City Innovation District, a £7.5 million investment fund for companies started by students, staff, alumni and partners, and the introduction of Senior Enterprise Fellows from business and industry to encourage and support the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The plans were revealed as the University launched its new five-year Entrepreneurship Strategy to 2025 during Global Entrepreneurship Week (16-22 November).

Positive impact

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University, said: “Strathclyde is home to many extraordinary people whose innovation and ambition makes a positive impact on the world around them, whether on the economy, society or the environment.

“Our new Strathclyde Inspire programme builds on our strong track record for entrepreneurship education, research and practice. It will enable us to grow our community of innovation leaders and further empower our staff, students and alumni, whether they want to set up or grow a business, bring new thinking to an existing one, or enhance the impact and reach of their research.

Our strategy represents a catalyst for positive change, bringing economic benefit and social impact to communities. By scaling up our entrepreneurial activities, we will enable inclusive and sustainable growth as we move through the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond that into the recovery phase.”

Strathclyde Inspire has four key areas of activity: Developing Entrepreneurial Mindsets; Identifying and Supporting Entrepreneurial Talent; Empowering Entrepreneurs; and, Scaling Innovation-Driven Enterprises.

It will see a diverse programme of events to provide new and existing entrepreneurs with opportunities for learning, networking and collaborating, including the launch of a new Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship module option, which will be rolled out to all undergraduates; dedicated postgraduate entrepreneurship courses; and a free online ‘MOOC’ course which will be made available for all.

Focal point

A dedicated Entrepreneurship Hub will become the focal point of Strathclyde Inspire on campus, in a new building being planned close to the University’s £89 million Technology and Innovation Centre at the heart of Scotland’s first Innovation District.

It will also support start-ups with opportunities for funding and dedicated space where they can access advisors, meeting space and hot-desking facilities, and provide one-to-one support to help talented entrepreneurs with the next stage of venture creation and growth.

Professor Eleanor Shaw, Associate Principal for Entrepreneurship and Education, said: “We recognise that entrepreneurship is about so much more than starting and growing a business. As a socially progressive University, we’re are committed to providing ‘Entrepreneurship for All’ by challenging staff and students to grab opportunities and develop an entrepreneurial mindset, whatever their situation or ambition.

“Entrepreneurship is about having a passion for problem-solving, being inspired to initiate positive change and create impact by identifying and acting on opportunities.  This entrepreneurial, problem-solving mindset is what sets Strathclyders apart, and will be critically important on the road to economic recovery from Covid.

By supercharging our pool of experienced entrepreneurs and experts, and rapidly growing our opportunities and support for our University community, we will build on our leadership position to drive positive change.”

The University was named Times Higher Education UK University of the Year for a second time last year, and has previously won the Entrepreneurial University of the Year title for developing an environment and culture that delivers significant entrepreneurial impact at regional, national and international levels.

It plays a key role in Glasgow City Innovation District, which it launched with its partners in 2019. The District is a growing hub for entrepreneurship and collaboration and is supporting companies who locate there to accelerate growth, improve productivity, and access Strathclyde’s world-class talent and research in areas including 5G communications, health tech, quantum, industrial informatics, FinTech, Space and many others.