Government adviser Lord Young, in a report to Prime Minister David Cameron, cites Plymouth’s student entrepreneurs – named the 2014 Enterprise Society of the Year by NACUE (the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs) and four-time winners of the national FLUX competition – as a shining example for others across the country to follow.
He also lauds the University’s leadership of the Social Enterprise University Enterprise Network (SE-UEN), which works with students, staff and the wider community to inform them about social enterprise business models and offer practical support.
The report – Enterprise for All – looks at the relevance of enterprise in education, and aims to identify ways of “motivating young people to learn and excel in their education and to see the relevance of their studies”.
In it, Lord Young says: “The rise of university enterprise societies, student-led and voluntary in nature, has provided networks for bringing like-minded individuals across all disciplines together to share their ideas. I have come across some excellent examples of enterprise societies in universities like Plymouth, which attract many hundreds of enterprising students. I would like to see every university supporting an enterprise society by the end of 2015 and I also want to embed a stronger focus within the societies on direct help for student and graduate start-ups.”
Plymouth was the first university in the world to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark in recognition of its long-standing support for the sector, and played a leading role in Plymouth being named as one of the UK’s first social enterprise cities.
Lord Young, who has visited Plymouth to meet members of the SE-UEN, adds: “The rising movement toward social entrepreneurship among students and graduates … is an area that is becoming increasingly prevalent in how universities approach enterprise. I want this to continue and increase with a stronger emphasis on incubation and investment for students looking to develop and fund a social enterprise.”
Plymouth University is renowned nationally and internationally for its enterprise mission. It operates three innovation centres in Cornwall, is one of the leading universities in the country in delivering Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) and co- established the Peninsula Growth Acceleration and Investment Network (GAIN), which has bid for millions of pounds in government funding to create and support local businesses.
It also runs the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre, whose advisory board is chaired by Plymouth graduate and Secret Millionaire Dominic List, and is the only UK partner in the US-based Babson Global Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education.