Entrepreneurial Scotland (ES) is teaming up with the University of Dundee to form an “ambitious and innovative” alliance that aims to forge the next generation of business leaders north of the Border.
The member network and leadership development organisation and the university have agreed the major collaboration to support students in achieving their entrepreneurial goals.
A full-time member of ES staff will now be based at the university’s Centre of Entrepreneurship, where representatives of the two institutions signed the three-year contract yesterday.
The tie-up aims to build on wider strategies put in place by both organisations to promote start-ups and spin-outs, with the university benefiting from access to a global network of business contacts, along with training and support for its on-campus community.
In return, the move will establish a permanent presence for ES in “one of the country’s most dynamic economic environments”.
Firms that have spun out of the university in recent years include Exscientia, a drug discovery company that raised $26 million (£20m) in a funding round last month, and MyWay Digital Health, a healthtech app with around 40,000 registered users in Scotland.
The university and ES already share strong ties, with alumnus and technology entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl having been founding chair of the entrepreneurship organisation until last year, while current rector Mark Beaumont acts as an ES ambassador.
The agreement was formally signed ahead of the university’s annual Public Lecture in Entrepreneurship, hosted this year by Shortlist Media co-founder Mike Soutar, who is also a regular on the BBC show The Apprentice.
Principal and vice chancellor Andrew Atherton called the agreement “ambitious and innovative”.
He added: “Having a full-time member of ES staff on campus will bring our organisations closer together, allowing new businesses emerging from both the university and wider Tay Cities region to benefit from leading sector knowledge and expertise.
“Working with ES opens up new and exciting networks for the university community to access, and we are confident that this relationship will help our students and staff to establish themselves as Scotland’s next generation of business leaders.”
ES chief executive Sandy Kennedy said: “ES and the University of Dundee can ensure that students have the confidence, support and network to achieve their entrepreneurial goals. Through a combination of our existing network and the university’s 18,000 students and 3,000 staff, we have a sizeable footprint to work with individuals to make them more entrepreneurial, and support start-ups and spin-outs that will contribute to the future prosperity of the Tay Cities region.”