10 Aug 2018
Royal Bank of Scotland has partnered with University of Strathclyde to deliver a new programme in entrepreneurship for students.
For a six-week period, students studying for a Masters degree in Entrepreneurship undertake an industry-based project at the bank’s Entrepreneur Accelerator in Kirkstane House, Glasgow. Here, students gain access to mentors, expertise, knowledge and networks including practical supply chain support.
Students develop their business ideas through collaborating with the current intake of entrepreneurs based in the accelerator, mixing their formal learning with skills built upon the experience of budding start-ups. Students are also offered access to regular hub events and networking events; giving them the chance to create contacts across Scotland’s business ecosystem.
Scottish EDGE, a competition aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s entrepreneurial talent, provides further support through weekly workshops on investment and funding.
The programme finishes with a live pitching competition where students present their business ideas to a panel of key business leaders, including Strathclyde University’s Dr Dominic Chalmers (Director Post Graduate teaching), Professor Eleanor Shaw (Head of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship), Russell Matthews (Entrepreneurship lecturer) and Evelyn Macdonald (CEO of Scottish EDGE).
For the inaugural programme, Lesley Thompson and Stewart Whitelaw impressed the pitching panel with their business idea. They are developing a system called Washr; a hygienic solution to cleaning dirty reusable cups. As the winners of the competition, the pair has earned an exclusive roundtable with Managing Director for Entrepreneurship at Royal Bank of Scotland Gordon Merrylees and Darren Pirie, who leads the bank’s Entrepreneur Proposition Experience.
Lesley and Stewart have now applied to join the next Accelerator Hub in the Autumn.
Gordon said: “As the UK’s biggest backer of small business, we understand that helping entrepreneurs start, scale and succeed is vital to the success of our economy. Therefore, the Royal Bank of Scotland is extremely proud to have been able to support the University of Strathclyde with their Masters degree in Entrepreneurship.
“This inaugural programme in Entrepreneurship, and the first of its kind, has been a huge success. We were delighted to invite the students to our Glasgow entrepreneur accelerator hub to experience our unique, tailored environment, coaching from our team and access to our networks to help them shape and hone their business ideas.
“Such is the success of the accelerator hubs, that over the last three years we have supported nearly 4,000 entrepreneurs who, in turn, have raised £255m in cumulative investment and created over 8,000 jobs.
“I look forward to welcoming many of these students to the next accelerator hub intake in autumn continuing this success.”
Dr Dominic Chalmers, of Strathclyde University’s Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, added:
“This innovative programme has been the capstone of our Masters degree in Entrepreneurship.
“Instead of writing a dissertation, the students undertook an industry-based project at the Royal Bank of Scotland Accelerator Hub in Glasgow. They mixed there with established entrepreneurs, from whom they learned a great deal, and were expected to take an entrepreneurial approach themselves.
“They gained first-hand experience of an entrepreneurial ecosystem and proved themselves to be industry-ready at the final pitching competition event.
“The bank has given our students a great opportunity to gain valuable experience from what is one of Europe’s largest business incubator programmes.”