Fledgling entrepreneurs at Northumbria University are benefiting from access to a new £100k fund designed to get their business start-ups investor ready post-graduation.

Over five years, starting in 2019, the fund is supporting the development of student businesses through the EBM Business Awards initiative.

In order to secure investment to develop their companies, undergraduates studying on Northumbria University’s pioneering Entrepreneurial Business Management (EBM) programme, have to take part in a competitive pitch to an independent panel.

Awards ranging from £500 to £5,000 will be presented to first, second and final year businesses which demonstrate the greatest potential to become ‘investment ready’ by the end of the three-year course.

The funding is intended to pay for external input to support the development of business plans, financial projections and get presentation ready to pitch to potential investors and funders when they complete the EBM programme as well as covering some capital and operational expenditure.

Lucy Hatt, Senior Lecturer and EBM Programme Leader at Northumbria University explains,

“The EBM programme is all about experiential learning designed to empower our students to create and explore how to manage and grow their own businesses independently. Being based in the North East with ongoing plans to remain in the region, coupled with a significant potential to create jobs locally, is a prerequisite for all businesses taking part in the competition.

“This approach reflects the aims of the charitable trust behind the donation, which seeks to encourage job creation, drive business growth and support the growth of the economy in the North East. It has created a fantastic opportunity for our students who will benefit from valuable access to finance, gain important experience presenting in a competitive pitch setting and help them to prepare and appeal to future investors.”

The inaugural EBM Business Awards resulted in eight student businesses at various stages of development winning funding which totalled £17,500. The businesses include a Reiki therapy service, a social media agency, a paddle boarding school, a podcast and event management company, a confectionery business and an online clothing retailer.

The EBM programme at Northumbria University is part of the award-winning Newcastle Business School, which is the UK’s top ranked university for graduate business start-ups based on turnover.

According to the latest report by the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey (HEBCIS), turnover from Northumbria graduate businesses for 2016/17 reached £80.3 million – over £30 million more than the second placed institution. The combined turnover for Northumbria graduate businesses also grew by more than £10 million on the previous year.

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