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University to host enterprise research tour

Teesside’s outstanding reputation for enterprise and business support has led to the University being chosen for a national research initiative.

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Tom Howsam, right, with new recruit John Hodkinson.

Tom Howsam, right, with new recruit John Hodkinson.

We will play host to the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) and Lloyds Banking Group on Thursday 9 June.

It is part of a nationwide consultation exercise involving ten of Britain’s most business-facing universities to get the views of students and graduate entrepreneurs on enterprise, entrepreneurship and university incubation services.

Professor Cliff Hardcastle, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) said: ‘We are delighted that NACUE has selected us to be part of their research into university enterprise and business support.

‘Teesside has a fantastic reputation in this area and is recognised regionally and nationally for its success in helping students turn great ideas into businesses. We have very ambitious plans to do even more in this area and are working hard behind the scenes at the moment on a new initiative called entrepreneurs@tees which will allow any of our students who are interested to get involved in enterprise activities.’

Over 300 new businesses launched
Among the 300 enterprises launched through the University’s graduate business incubation centre is THAP, a web development company that began life in one of the first business units on campus.

It was started by Tom Howsam, who teamed up with an old school friend, Adam Paxton, in 2003. Tom took the entrepreneurial plunge after graduating with a 2.1 in information technology from Teesside.

He said: ‘I didn’t fancy working for a big organisation and after a conversation with my computer science tutor, Dr Alan Jones, I decided to try working for myself with help from the University’s graduate business start-up scheme.’

The business is now based in DigitalCity’s Boho One and, with six members of staff, is one of the region’s most exciting software creation specialists. The latest recruit, John Hodkinson, joined full time following a successful graduate internship. John gained his first degree in informatics at Teesside and finished off a part-time master’s in software engineering while working for THAP on the internship.

Engaging students and graduates
During the visit on 9 June, NACUE and Lloyds Banking Group will be running a series of interviews, focus groups and enterprise forums - complemented by an online survey directed towards student and graduate entrepreneurs.

The research will seek to understand the extent and value of services being delivered to student and graduate entrepreneurs through incubators. Focus groups with students and graduate entrepreneurs will then seek to understand their views on enterprise and entrepreneurship and how they wish to receive enterprise education and business start-up support within universities.
NACUE Policy Director Matt Smith said: ‘As universities seek to embed enterprise into the curriculum to benefit all students while continuing to expand business start-up support, it is critical that we engage students' and graduates' views on how they wish to receive such education and how nascent entrepreneurs want support within universities.’

Martyn Kendrick, Area Director for Lloyds TSB Commercial in the North East, added: ‘Helping more businesses to start up and grow is fundamental to the UK’s continuing economic recovery.

‘Key to that is understanding the needs of entrepreneurs and the support they require. It is hoped that this project will lead to the improvement of enterprise-focused education and support at universities to match budding entrepreneurs’ needs and that as a result more will progress with their new business idea and turn it into a reality.’

Students and businesses wanting more information about the Teesside event on June 9 should contact Jane Hutchinson, Conference and Events Manager, Institute for Digital Innovation on 01642 738196, or email

01 June 2011

In the News

Enterprise research tour
BBC Tees, 09/06/2011
Teesside University hosted the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) and Lloyds Banking Group as part of a nationwide consultation exercise involving ten of Britain’s most business-f

University in entrepreneur visit
BBC (Web), 02/06/2011
Teesside University is to be the only North East stop-off on a nationwide research tour by the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs. The tour of Britain's 'most business-facing universities

Teesside University to host entrepreneur consortium
Northeast Journal (Web), 02/06/2011; (Web), 02/06/2011
Teesside University is to host an entrepreneur consortium, as part of a nationwide consultation involving 10 of Britain's most business-facing universities.

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