Students starting out in business shown way ahead at bootcamp

Entrepreneurial students at Leeds University have been put through their paces at the annual business bootcamp run by its business start-up service, Spark.

The two-day residential programme, held at Weetwood Hall and delivered by sector experts, is designed to deliver an intensive grounding in finance, law, intellectual property, business planning and public relations to boost the students’ chances of success with their fledgling business ventures.

The majority of the entrepreneurs attending the event have been awarded enterprise scholarships, which includes £3,000 to help kick start their businesses, along with a package of mentoring and business support. Fifteen students representing 10 fledgling businesses, including a micro-brewery and a graphic design studio, took part in this year’s event.

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They were joined by three undergraduate students, each of whom have been awarded Proof of Concept funding by Spark to support the very early stage development of their business ideas.

Also at the bootcamp were six graduates studying for master’s degrees in enterprise.

Scholarship winners Andy Green, 22, and Rob Conway, 23, set up Leeds Student Tours, offering cultural excursions, which is proving a particular hit with international students.

Speaking about the bootcamp, Mr Green said: “It’s an intensive programme, but it’s been hugely beneficial. Bootcamp made us see the gaps in what we need to achieve our business growth ambitions.

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“We’re already looking at expanding the model across other universities to run similar tours and it’s given us real insight into what we have to focus on to succeed.

Kairen Skelley, head of business start-up at Spark, added: “Year on year the judging panel feeds back how they’ve been blown away by the standard of the applications for these scholarships and it gets harder each year to make our selection.

“We’re proud to be able to match this standard with a comprehensive package of support to help these young businesses on their way to success.”

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