Support for Student Entrepreneurs Gets £10,000 Boost

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Support for student entrepreneurship at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has been given a £10,000 funding boost from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity.

DMUworks Enterprise & Entrepreneurship, part of the university’s Student and Academic Services (SAAS) directorate, has teamed up with Sir Thomas White Loan Charity to support a series of events which aim to inspire students, graduates and staff.

The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, which dates back to 1542, provides interest-free loans for people aged 18-45 who set up business in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland. It has been a long-standing supporter of DMU students and graduates but this is the largest donation it has ever made to the university.

The investment will be used to support a series of events which support students and graduates to develop business ideas, pitch them to judges and learn more about Leicester’s thriving entrepreneurial community.

These activities include:

Pitch2Win Competition – open to students who finish their studies this year (2022) or 2021 graduates. To entre all you need to do is pitch your business idea, this could lead to a £1,000 prize to invest in your business and one runner-up will receive a prize of £500. If you have launched a new business or side hustle since July 2021, or plan to launch one before July this year, get in touch!

Connect events – A series of events taking place on campus and in venues across the city. Connect events will launch some exciting new projects available to DMU students and graduates interested in starting their own business or learning how to embed entrepreneurial mindset working for corporate organisations. Come along and hear from entrepreneurs, funders and business leaders to develop your future you. These events open to students, graduates, staff and members of the local business community. The next event takes place on the Vijay Patel Terrace on Thursday 24 February 5pm – 7pm on the 4th floor of Vijay Patel building.

• Entrepreneurship Day Conference – We are pleased that this event will be back in person for 2022, the event is a celebration of entrepreneurship, featuring workshops, guest speakers and practical support for you. Details will be released later in the year.

• The 2022 DMU Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Awards – The categories are open to DMU students and graduates, and you can find out more here

Simon Baines, who runs DMU Works Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, said: “DMU has enjoyed a supportive relationship with The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity for a number of years and we are so excited to see this partnership grow monumentally at this time when we are making a significant return to physical enterprise events and programmes. Last year, we saw our university leap into the top 10 rankings for student and graduate start-ups and it is support like this funding from the charity which will help us accelerate our offering, supporting even more students and graduates than ever before.”

David Howard, Chair of Trustees at The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, said: “The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity is proud to be able to support DMU Works Enterprise & Entrepreneurship team through sponsorship of three key events during the year. Pitch2Win is a competition we’ve been involved in for a number of years and has a track record of supporting entrepreneurs that have gone on to enjoy success.

“We’re also excited to sponsor Entrepreneurship Day as it becomes an in-person event once again, having sponsored the last in-person event prior to the start of the pandemic, and to support the team’s Connect events to bring likeminded people together is something the charity feels is vitally important in helping entrepreneurs succeed.

“Hopefully, moving forward, we can support aspiring business owners through our unique interest-free loans. It’s a promising year ahead for DMU Works – and The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity can’t wait to be part of it.”

Visit the DMU Made website for details of how you can get involved in these upcoming activities.