Entrepreneurs inspire student and business community

The entrepreneurs of the future will get the chance to work alongside successful business creators as part of their studies at Plymouth University.

Three entrepreneurs in residence are beginning work at the University this term, with the specific aims of developing projects and inspiring confidence among students, alumni and businesses.

Working out of the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre, based at Mast House on Plymouth’s waterfront, the trio all have experience which they have used to launch their own companies and now hope to transfer to budding entrepreneurs.

This will include students enrolling for the new two-year BSc (Hons) Business Enterprise and Entrepreneurship course, and a number of masters level programmes, which are being launched at the University from September 2015.

The entrepreneurs in residence, who have previously worked with the University on a range of enterprise projects, are:

  • Randolph Gratton worked for nine years with IBM and 15 years with Hewlett-Packard, but for the past five years has run a niche consulting practice, focusing on start-ups, SME growth, business optimisation and addressing complex needs through consortia of SMEs.
  • Gareth Hart, who has over 14 years’ experience working in the social enterprise, voluntary and public and private sectors and is currently Director of Iridescent Ideas CIC.
  • Raphael Dennett, a Plymouth University graduate who went on to start his own media production company is involved with several organisations that work to boost young people’s confidence and business skills.

Over the coming months, their specific aims will include mentoring and coaching students in creating and improving their businesses; to help establish the South West as a hub for a growing entrepreneurial community; to ensure entrepreneurial business input into Plymouth programmes and increase the breadth and depth of the overall student experience; and to foster stronger relationships between students, alumni and businesses.

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

“The vision of Futures is to make a positive impact on socio-economic growth through focusing on knowledge transfer, research, extra-curriculum activities, entrepreneurship support and continued networking. These three people with such wide-ranging and extensive business experience as Entrepreneurs in Residence will assist with the accelerated development and implementation of enterprise and entrepreneurship projects.”

The Futures Entrepreneurship Centre celebrated its first anniversary in November, and aims to provide a creative and social space in which entrepreneurship and social enterprise can flourish.

It has already established a number of programmes which see students and academics working alongside the business community at home and abroad, and its advisory board is chaired by renowned UK entrepreneur and Plymouth alumni Dominic List.