Start-Up Lab officially opened
Aims to support entrepreneurial students to develop businesses
A BRAND new focal point at Loughborough University that aims to support entrepreneurial students to develop their businesses has officially opened.
Loughborough University staff, students and alumnus came together on October 16 to celebrate the launch of The Start-Up Lab - a new and innovative incubator and training space for students and the local business community.
The exciting project has been made possible thanks to Santander Universities – the division that oversees the bank’s commitment to higher education - as it issued the University a grant of £50,000 through its Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Fund.
The funding has been used to create The Start-Up Lab’s headquarters – an open plan, vibrant co-working space in the Ideas Factory in STEMLab.
The Start-Up Lab will bridge the gap between the LSU Enterprise Hub – which encourages students to take part in enterprise-related activities and come up with new ideas – and The Studio – a unique initiative that supports graduate ventures.
The three support services form part of the Loughborough Enterprise Network (LEN), which was launched last October to support students and graduates throughout their enterprise journey.
The Start-Up Lab will equip students with the skills and support they need to develop their businesses (idea or existing) into the ‘real deal’ and will offer invaluable workshops and clinics.
It will be open from 2pm, Monday to Friday, and will be overseen by Student Enterprise Adviser and alumna Dr SophieLouise Hyde, founder of The Student Wordsmith, who developed her business through The Studio in 2012.
Dr Hyde, who will also provide one-on-one support to budding entrepreneurs, said she would have “loved to have had something like The StartUp Lab” when she was a student at the University.
Staff, students and members of the University community celebrated the launch of The Start-Up Lab.
As well as helping students, The Start-Up Lab will provide a training base for local businesses to embed key skills through student-led business clinics, such as Loughborough Students’ Union’s social media programme, which has already supported 80 companies over the past five years.
Loughborough University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Bob Allison was among those celebrating the launch of The StartUp Lab.
Speaking at the event, he said: “It is very much a part of the student experience to have the opportunity to take little ideas and grow them into what could be the next global brand. A big thank you to all involved.”
Robert Simmonds, Deputy Relationship Director at Santander Universities, was also in attendance. He said: “We’re celebrating our 10th year of partnership with Loughborough University, which is fantastic.
“We’re very pleased to have been involved in this project and want to continue to be an active partner.”
Pictured front, left to right, are Robert Simmonds, Deputy Relationship Director at Santander Universities, Professor Tracy Bhamra, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise, Andrew Fisher, Loughborough alumnus and Executive Chairman of Shazam, and Professor Bob Allison, Loughborough University’s Vice-Chancellor.