The Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education West Midlands (SPEED WM) programme gives students the opportunity to set up their own business while they are still at university.
By the end of next year, it is hoped SPEED WM will have created 140 new businesses across the region, resulting in 480 new jobs.
Students from all subjects are encouraged to pitch their business ideas to a Dragon’s Den style panel, resulting in a range of new companies including photography, glass design, welding and even midwife training.
A celebratory dinner took place at St Martin’s Church in Birmingham on Thursday night (March 18), which more than 100 guests attended. Guest speaker was Jo Fairley, entrepreneur and writer who founded Green & Black’s chocolate.
SPEED WM is a £5.2 million project, run by the University’s Institute for Innovation & Enterprise (IIE). The University of Wolverhampton also manages the project regionally for the partner institutions, which are the universities of Birmingham, Birmingham City, Coventry, Keele, Staffordshire, Worcester and Aston.
Steve Moore, Deputy Director of the Institute of Innovation and Enterprise, which runs the programme, said: “Across the universities, we will be supporting at least 1,200 students in furthering their business ideas. We have had a great response and a really diverse range of ideas.
“We’re looking forward to developing some of these further and showing that even during a recession there are opportunities for entrepreneurs.”
Funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund 4 and the European Regional Development Fund, managed by Advantage West Midlands, the scheme is open to all full or part time UK, EU or European Economic area students on undergraduate or postgraduate courses at the University.
The current programme runs until 2011 and may be extend beyond that.
Pictured: Keeley Page, Marie Lilly, Steve Moore and Sarah Taylor from the Institute for Innovation and Enterprise
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