Salford wins AGCAS Award for Entrepreneurship 2016

13 October 2016

The University of Salford's Careers and Employability Service has been crowned the winner of the 2016 AGCAS Award for Entrepreneurship, sponsored by GSM London. The service has started offering lifelong enterprise and business start-up support to all students and graduates both within the curriculum and beyond. It provides free courses, events and incubators, which attract approximately a sixth of all Salford students to take part in enterprise events each year.

Bespoke sessions

The service works closely with academic staff to ensure that courses include and promote entrepreneurship across all disciplines. The result is that the university now has over 2,300 students actively engaged in enterprise activity. For example the School of Arts and Media gave 291 students in fine arts, performance and photography the opportunity to develop entrepreneurship skills within their curriculum, by integrating activity into modules. In the School of Health Sciences, bespoke enterprise sessions were established to help students develop plans to start a private practice business. The practical module Into Employment was also taken by over 270 final year students from occupational therapy, podiatry and physiotherapy.  

Student interactions

Careers & Employability offers a wide portfolio of extra-curricular enterprise support opportunities, having invested £1m in student and graduate entrepreneurship in the last five years. The service provides light-touch as well as in-depth support and an array of workshops. Some of the most popular and successful workshops are the Enterprise Academy sessions, which run in the early evenings, to allow students and graduates to attend outside of their class time. Since January 2015, over 30 events have been held, with great success attracting nearly 1,000 student interactions. 

Business boot camps are also delivered five times a year, which include follow-on professional business advice, mentoring and support. Since January 2015, over 500 appointments have been provided to students with direct follow-up business advice and mentoring. During the academic year 2015/2016 the department designed three different bespoke corporate business competitions, which attracted more than 50 entries and included over £5,000 worth of prize money. Detailed individual feedback was also provided to all competition entries; a couple of the entries received investment for their ideas.

Careers & Employability also now manage two dedicated incubators, which provide support to both Salford students and graduate businesses. Salford graduate Steve Lowy who has received support through these incubator sessions and set up his own company, Umi Digital, commented:

“The new office gives young people the opportunity to gain work experience within the company, which already hosts students from the University of Salford.”

Regional collaboration

Salford also works in collaboration with The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University to create the largest dedicated postgraduate enterprise student conference in the UK, called Enterprise Futures. The conference has attracted over 1,200 postgraduates, inspired entrepreneurship and encouraged postgraduates to turn their research into employment opportunities.

Judges' comments

Awards judges were extremely impressed by the wide range of initiatives taking place at Salford and just how far reaching they were amongst humanities, creative arts and science students. They described several of the initiatives to be pragmatic, well thought out and creative in their formation.