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Northumbria tops entrepreneurial success league

Northumbria University, Newcastle, is the UK’s top ranked university for start-ups based on turnover from graduate businesses.

According to the latest report by the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey (HEBCIS), turnover from Northumbria graduate businesses for 2015/16 reached £69.2 million – almost £25 million more than the second placed institution. Rising to the top from 3rd place in 2014/15 reflects the entrepreneurial flair of Northumbria students and graduates, and the strength of the University’s support for enterprise.

With HEBCIS also reporting a modest fall in the number graduate start-ups last year – 3,890 against 4,000 the previous year according – Northumbria’s success shows the sustainability of its graduate businesses and the quality of University support. Services such as Student and Graduate Enterprise, which provides enterprise skills training and free start-up support, are helping Northumbria graduates outperform the sector. Through the Northumbria Enterprise Support Service (NEBS), which recently secured a £1.2 million European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the University’s Student and Graduate Enterprise team is not only helping to launch new ventures and careers but also to grow businesses.

Graham Baty, Enterprise Manager at Northumbria, said: “The emphasis is on helping students and graduates create sustainable businesses and not on the number of new start-ups. Through the NEBS Project, the University is able to provide mentoring from industry experts to get start-ups to the point of trading. Perhaps more importantly, the support continues even when businesses surpass the 12 months stage as this is where problems can arise”

Owen Dixon graduated from Business Studies at Northumbria in 2014 and went on to create Best Student Halls, a leading student accommodation comparison service. The business has over 100,000 rooms listed on its site and plans to add international properties in the near future. Owen said: “The support I’ve received from Northumbria has really helped me to focus on growing the business at a much earlier stage than if I was doing this alone. I’ve been able to benefit from their free Hatchery space in the city centre as well as bespoke mentoring that is really helping my business reach the next level”.

Lucy Winskell OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Employability and Partnerships) at Northumbria, said: “Our track record for graduate enterprise is second to none. Entrepreneurial talent, energy and ambition run deep among our students and graduates, and we aim to support this by providing the best possible learning experience and opportunities for them to succeed as global graduates. This latest report by HEBCIS bears this out and shows that through our Student and Graduate Enterprise service and initiatives like NEBS we are leading the way. The fact that so many of our start-ups are not only surviving but continuing to prosper beyond the crucial first three years is also testament to the quality of our support.”

NEBS also offers a Graduate Internship strand. Again funded by the ERDF, this strand is focused specifically on small and medium sized enterprises in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to help 130 individual businesses find their next generation of talent.  And it can contribute £3,825 towards the salary costs too (minimium salary £17,000 pa pro rata).

Recent graduates of Northumbria (up to 5 years) are eligible for free start-up support. If you have a business idea or would like to become self-employed, contact the Student and Graduate Enterprise team for more information.

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