Swansea University launches Student Incubation Hub

Ann Swift, Big Ideas Wales; Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Swansea University; Jackson Pickard, Swansea Entrepreneurs Network; Caroline Thompson, Be The Spark

Swansea University launches Student Incubation Hub

Swansea University has launched its Student Incubation Hub which aims to provide a platform for talented and ambitious students to develop their ideas and launch new businesses.

The Hub was officially opened by Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, senior pro-vice chancellor of Swansea University, and Caroline Thompson, CEO of Be The Spark.

To coincide with the launch of the Incubation Hub, students were invited to deliver a 90-second elevator pitch to a prestigious judging panel where they competed for space in the Incubation Hub.

With prizes including a £1,000 market report, office space, start-up cash, publicity and mentoring, the event provided students with a unique opportunity to gain access to funding and support, and network with a wide range of individuals that can provide support in developing and growing businesses.

Supporters of the student pitching competition and Swansea University’s Student Incubation Hub include the Welsh Government via the Big Ideas Wales programme, Be The Spark, Innovate UK, Development Bank of Wales, Santander Universities and ION Leadership.

Ahmed Nagy, from Swansea University’s College of Engineering won hot-desking space following the pitch of his business idea: knowledge Transfer Neurons – Science for Impact and Value for Knowledge.

Ceri Jones, Director of Research, Engagement and Innovation Services, said: “To grow and prosper as a region, it is essential that we attract, nurture and retain the very best talent here in Wales.

“In addition to office space, we are providing students with open access to all members of our Commercial Services team. 

“Coming from industry and commerce, the team are well placed to support our students in developing their business ideas and in connecting them with potential collaborators and investors. 

“I’m very much looking forward to supporting many of the ideas presented today over the coming years.”

Big Ideas Wales is the support service for young entrepreneurs aged 5 to 25, which forms part of the Welsh Government’s Business Wales Service, and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said: “I am delighted to see our Welsh Universities playing a lead role in encouraging entrepreneurship in Wales.

“This outlines the importance of close collaboration between academia, business and entrepreneurs to encourage business start-up and growth, making a clear contribution to our vision for Wales in “Be The Spark”.

“Swansea University’s dedicated Hub for young entrepreneurs is the perfect environment for nurturing these business ideas and offering the support students will need during the infancy of their business plans.

“By drawing support from Business Wales’ Big Ideas Wales, today’s students can develop the business acumen to realise their entrepreneurial ambitions.

“Our vision of a more prosperous nation, with better jobs and more vibrant communities, is one that resonates across the country, and facilities like this can only go to help in stimulating economic growth.

“The Hub will connect the forward-thinking people and organisations of today to create the innovative businesses and products of tomorrow, helping to bring jobs, growth and prosperity to the community.”

Entrepreneur and founder of Swansea University’s Entrepreneurs Network, Jackson Pickard, said: “Throughout my time at Swansea University, I’ve received substantial support from Big Ideas Wales, Santander and Swansea University staff in developing my entrepreneurial skillset

“With the launch of the new Student Incubation Hub, we can create a real community for likeminded entrepreneurs to congregate – signposting students to the range of support available, while offering access to the facilities, equipment and expertise required to establish and develop new business ideas.”