The GCU Entrepreneur Ambassador Programme will let students, staff and alumni, who develop companies through the University’s entrepreneurial hub UHatch, tap into the experience of directors of successful Scottish firms.
UHatch has already helped 27 fledgeling companies achieve a combined turnover of more than £1million, thanks to £38,500 worth of seed funding from Santander Universities.
The hub offers access to detailed knowledge, a network of contacts, and office space facilities for up to a year, with peppercorn rent, for start-ups.
Now, up to 15 entrepreneur ambassadors will be recruited during 2018 to provide feedback on business plans, offer introductions to key suppliers, deliver guest lectures, and mentor UHatch members.
Professor Bruce Wood, academic lead for UHatch, said: “We are getting a steady flow of students coming to think about starting up companies. What we would like is for students overall to feel more entrepreneurial, more confident, more creative.
“We encourage all of our UHatch companies to move on, the big question we always ask is how are you going to sell this, how are you going to monetise this?
“It can’t be a hobby, they need to progress and the ambassador programme offers that opportunity.”
Guest speakers at the launch event included Professor Lorna Paul, who won first prize in the Social Enterprise category at the Converge Challenge Awards 2017 for Web-Based Physio, an online physiotherapy service designed to give patients greater access to care; and Jordan Reid, a GCU graduate who plans to launch a hotel concierge app through his digital start-up company Ngage Technology early next year.
They both received feedback and suggestions on how they can develop their businesses from Brian Williamson, a GCU honorary graduate and chairman of time-capsule company Miigen; Norrie Innes, founder of design, architecture and engineering consultancy Rock DCM: Chrissy McKay, co-founder of BeYonder, a profit for purpose organisation which works with older pupils to develop employability skills: and Margaret Gibson, head of social enterprise at EY Foundation.