Start-Up Lab of­fi­cially opened

Aims to sup­port en­tre­pre­neur­ial stu­dents to de­velop busi­nesses

Loughborough Echo - - NEWS - PETE WAR­RING­TON peter.war­ring­ton@reach­

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.

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