Essex Startups highly commended at national awards

  • Date

    Wed 13 Sep 23

Essex Startups team at awards

The incredible support provided to student entrepreneurs at the University of Essex was recognised at the National Enterprise Educator Awards with the Essex Startups team being highly commended.

Essex was one of just three universities shortlisted for the Entrepreneurship Catalyst category – which recognises individuals or teams from universities and further education colleges who are delivering an exceptional entrepreneurship education.

Although they missed out on the top prize, judges gave Essex Startups special recognition for the exceptional quality of the service the team is delivering to students.

Student Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Manager Lauren Graeve said: “We were extremely honoured to be Highly Commended. Our team has worked incredibly hard over the last four years, and we are especially pleased that our achievements are being recognised at a national scale. “

The Essex Startups team offers dedicated support to entrepreneurial-minded students and graduates with their start-up business ideas.

The team creates and delivers small to large scale workshops, mentoring programmes and funding opportunities to students and graduates at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey.

The team’s mission is to guarantee every student across the University of Essex, regardless of background or area of academic study, can develop and fulfil their entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial potential.

Over the last four years alone, the team has provided 1,300+ one-to-one mentoring sessions, awarded over £300,000 in funding, and supported the development of 20 new start-ups each year.

Our entrepreneurship education programme is delivered via extra-curricular workshops and co-curricular seminars with support customised to the needs of students and responsive to markets and sectors.

Highlights this year

  • The evolve Accelerator Programme which runs annually across nine months and supports 15 selected businesses at minimum viable product (MVP) or launch stage.
  • The development of co-curricular modules promoting entrepreneurial skills and approaches in Essex Business School, Edge Hotel School, Department of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, and Essex Law School.
  • Targeted programmes for under-represented groups within our start-up community. Empower for female founders, and BE:ME for black and ethnic minority entrepreneurs, incorporate interactive workshops with expert external speakers to inspire students and help broaden their professional networks.
  • The annual iTeams programme which provides students with the opportunity to work for an external organisation on a tangible, real-world business challenge.
  • The first Innovation Factory project for students participating in the University’s paid work experience scheme, Frontrunners. This involved small teams working on the planning and management of a marketing and communications strategy for three University-based start-ups at MVP stage.
  • The first Student Start-up Showcase, a celebratory evening for our founders to showcase their businesses and share their achievements with the wider University and local enterprises.
  • Leadership of the Inno4YUFE project supporting the development and delivery of entrepreneurial education to a European community of student entrepreneurs and innovators.