Start-Up Awards and Centre for Entrepreneurship launch
08 June 2012
LJMU hosted the fifth annual Start-Up Awards ceremony to acknowledge the achievements of graduates and students and the help they receive from local businesses to turn their ideas into commercial realities.
Officially opened on the same day as the awards ceremony was the University’s new Centre for Entrepreneurship, where graduates and students who demonstrate commercial awareness, such as that recognised by the Start-Up Awards, can receive business advice and mentoring in a dedicated hatchery space. The Centre is the culmination of nine years of development and has been set up with an investment of approximately £100,000 from the University, with additional support provided by the European Regional Development Fund and Liverpool Vision.
The Start-Up Awards ceremony took place at LJMU’s Art and Design Academy and four awards were presented.
Andy Johnson of Purple Revolver was the winner of the Role Model of the Year Award, which is presented to a person in the LJMU business network who has given their time and experience on a voluntary basis and by doing so, has inspired the University’s budding entrepreneurs and made a significant contribution to their business ideas becoming reality. Purple Revolver is an independent creative industry news website and Andy has worked with LJMU for a number of academic years, voluntarily giving his time to speak to student groups about his business and outlining how they can apply his experience to their own projects. He is also a valued contributor to LJMU’s World of Work programme, as a verifier for the BA (Hons) Journalism programme. He provides many opportunities for students looking to break into the creative industry.
Shubin Wang won the Rising Star of the Year Award, which is presented to a student who demonstrates clear entrepreneurial spirit and has the attitude, skills and motivation to develop ideas and turn them into a business with the added potential to grow, inspire others and contribute to their community. Shubin nearly dropped out of her course due to the lack of affordable out-of-hours childcare, as did some of her course mates. As a result, Shubin decided to set herself up as a registered childminder to help finance her studies and help fellow students manage their childcare requirements. She is a qualified teacher and chef, she teaches the children languages, art and how to cook.
Kayleigh Baccino and Talia Baccino of Trendy Vend Ltd won the Entrepreneurial Alumnus of the Year Award, which is presented to an LJMU alumnus who has made a significant contribution to the University by giving their time and expertise and by being a great entrepreneurial ambassador for LJMU. The sisters are the founders of a unique vending machine providing cosmetics and beauty products and they have not only demonstrated the tenacious spirit of entrepreneurs in their own endeavour but have also been outstanding role models for students and fellow graduates. They prove that with dedication, hard work, tenacity and humour, anything is possible and they truly embody the LJMU ethos of Dream, Plan, Achieve.
Mike Crewdson of MC Architecture was the winner of the New Venture of the Year Award, which is presented to a graduate-led venture that is trading, based in Merseyside and has started up within the last 18 months. The graduate must be living in Merseyside, have graduated within the last five years and has received support from the LJMU Centre for Entrepreneurship to start their business. Mike has been trading as MC Architecture since April 2010 and the business has since gone from strength to strength, with clients throughout the North West. The company provides architectural design services to both domestic and commercial clients.
The Start-Up Awards form part of LJMU’s Enterprise Fellowship Programme (formerly Student Enterprise) which was first launched in 2003 and is now funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The programme has been phenomenally successful, with LJMU graduates establishing over 140 companies in this period and a further 5,500 students attending workshops on setting up their own businesses.
Emma Hunter, Head of Centre, the Centre for Entrepreneurship, said: “The new Centre provides positive proof of how important LJMU views its role in developing and nurturing start-up businesses - indeed entrepreneurialism at is the heart of the University’s ethos, with it being proud to take its name from Sir John Moores, one of the UK’s foremost entrepreneurs.
“The award winners are outstanding and, with recent research showing that youth unemployment is at its highest for 20 years, it is more important than ever to recognise the successes of students and graduates who are making a positive contribution to business.”
Top picture: Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Weatherill with Sir Michael Bibby, who officially opened the Centre for Entrepreneurship