The Rt Hon Francis Maude MP visited the University of Wolverhampton to highlight social enterprise and discover how its successful business start-up scheme is assisting graduate entrepreneurs.
SPEED Plus aims to help create new businesses in the West Midlands region and is led by the Enterprise Department at the University.
The Minister heard how the SPEED Plus programme has given 200 University of Wolverhampton graduates business start-up support, resulting in 138 new jobs, and 86 new businesses.
SPEED Plus Project Director Sarah Taylor said: “The Minister was very impressed with the success of SPEED Plus and how it is contributing to the regional economy.”
Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and External Engagement, said: “We were delighted to welcome Francis Maude MP to the University and to have the opportunity to highlight the successful work we undertake with our students and graduates.
“We are very pleased with the number of start-up companies our own graduates are now generating. The University actively encourages enterprise and entrepreneurship and our successful graduate employment figures reflect this.”
Latest figures revealed 94 per cent of University of Wolverhampton graduates are in employment or further study six months after leaving.
The University is a member of Social Enterprise West Midlands and its CEO Melanie Mills arranged the Minister’s visit.
The SPEED Plus project is run in partnership with Keele University, Birmingham City University, Staffordshire University and Coventry University, and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Pictured: Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and External Engagement; Simon Brandwood, Head of Careers and Employment Services; Sarah Taylor, Project Manager SPEED Plus; Barry Whitehouse, Senior Lecturer, Department of Marketing, Innovation, Leisure and Enterprise; Emaan Syed, Social entrepreneur and graduate of the SPEED Programme at University of Wolverhampton.