The Accelerate project forms part of the University’s Venture Programme, which aims to support budding entrepreneurs. The programme equips students and graduates with the skills and knowledge to start up a business and develop their entrepreneurial capacity under three themes.
Venture gives students the opportunity to create a business idea and collaborate with business professionals to ‘accelerate’ it into reality.
The ‘Pitch 2016’ event encouraged applicants to put their new-found knowledge to the test. They were asked to submit a 500-word business summary in advance and to create a 60 second video pitch. Shortlisted participants were invited to bid for start-up funding and many business support prizes.
Judged by John Farrell, Ellis & Co.; Emma Woollard, The Language Guys; Jill Reece, Santander and Dr Kate Daubney, Careers and Employability, participants were asked to deliver a five-minute pitch, outlining their business idea and model. Following nine pitches, five businesses were successful in receiving cash-funding, courtesy of Santander.
Kirsty Badrock, the University’s entrepreneurship co-ordinator, said: “Accelerate showcased a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial spirit. The dedication and enthusiasm of those who took part was evident, and the innovative business ideas sparked real interest with the judges who saw potential in everyone. We are incredibly grateful to all of our partners, who have contributed to this comprehensive programme of support.”
The initiative launched in late 2015, offering 16 weekly workshops over the course of the academic year, and has been shortlisted this year for the Entrepreneurship Award at the AGCAS (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) Awards for Excellence.
Kirsty added: “I’m absolutely delighted that the Venture Programme has been nominated for this prestigious award and has been recognised for its innovative approach to entrepreneurship education.
The programme encourages students to consider new venture creation and self-employment as valid graduate career paths. This is particularly important in the University of Chester context, where many students choose courses which naturally lend themselves to this career path.”
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