Two student programmes which aim to inspire and nurture the business leaders of the future have been launched by Plymouth University.

A two-year intensive degree course – BSc (Hons) Business Enterprise and Entrepreneurship – will focus on giving graduates the expertise and experience with which to create and grow their own companies, or work effectively in larger organisations.

Meanwhile the BETA project provides initial funding for student start-ups, along with support to help them transform their visions into viable and sustainable enterprises.

Both initiatives are being led by the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre, launched in November 2013 to provide a creative and social space in which entrepreneurship and social enterprise can flourish.

They will complement Plymouth University’s enterprise agenda, and the support it already provides for start-up companies through projects such as the Formation Zone and the Growth Acceleration and Investment Network (GAIN).

Professor Gideon Maas, Director of the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre, said:

“Through a focus on systemic entrepreneurship, and the creation of a better future for society at large, these programmes will help us equip current and future business leaders with innovative ways to manage the challenges they may face. Innovative small businesses hold the key to future economic success, and these programmes are about providing students with that crucial first step of their entrepreneurial careers. Being successful in business is always going to take hard work and commitment, but we want to give them the support that will guide them through the crucial early stages.”

The BSc (Hons) Business Enterprise and Entrepreneurship degree will admit its first cohort in September 2015, and will examine all aspects of the business world and focus on the key concepts of innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

It will enable students to build up their résumés by engaging in extracurricular activities, such as engaging with real businesses and undertaking a consultancy project with a real company or actually set up your own venture.

The programme already has industry support, and Rob Holmes, founder of Devon-based The Gro Company, said: 

“When I started my business life 20 years ago, there were no such courses available and I was left to figure out how to run a successful business through trial and error. For people with a passion for starting up their own business, I think this two-year fast track course is perfect. This is probably the ultimate fat-free entrepreneur’s degree course in the UK.”

The BETA programme is initially providing around 20 business students with a grant of £1,500 to take an idea and explore avenues through which they might create their own small business. As well as the financial support, they will receive individual mentoring to help them recognise and overcome potential pitfalls and develop enterprises with the ability to succeed and grow.