Thousands of university and graduate entrepreneurs across Britain are being given the chance to compete for regional and nationwide recognition and a cash and mentoring prize, with the launch of the Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards.
The new awards scheme is Lloyds Banking Group’s latest initiative to help support start ups and growth firms. There are currently an estimated 55,000 student businesses in Britain, in sectors as diverse as design, IT, catering and media. To launch the initiative, Lloyds Banking Group has joined forces with the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs1 (NACUE) – a charity dedicated to encouraging entrepreneurial activity in universities.
The overall winner of the Awards will receive £50,0002 to invest in their business, together with a comprehensive two-year mentoring programme, involving senior executives from Lloyds Banking Group, designed to provide coaching and support on critical business issues such as planning, finance, recruitment and marketing.
Entrepreneurs currently studying at universities across England, Scotland or Wales - or who graduated within the past five years and have been trading for more than 1 year - will be able to enter the awards by visiting http://www.lloydstsb.com/enterpriseawards . All entrants will be considered for two titles - Best Start Up, which will be awarded to a business in its early stages; and Best Enterprise which will be awarded to the business judged to show real potential to grow over the next five years to become a recognised SME within its respective sector.
The search for the Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards winners will begin with initial heats3, in February 2012, across six regions in England, as well as national heats in Scotland and Wales. The two winners in each of these heats will then compete for the Best Start Up and Best Enterprise awards at a grand final in March 2012.
Marking the launch of the Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards, John Maltby, Group Director, Commercial, Lloyds Banking Group, said: "Britain has a proud history of enterprise and for generations our universities have played a fundamental role in nurturing business talent. We want to ensure that the talent emerging from our universities does not go unrecognised, and play our part in nurturing and supporting entrepreneurs, to give them the best chance of future growth.”
Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said: "The Government wants to grow the next generation of entrepreneurs by ensuring that young people get hands-on experience of enterprise at college and university. I am pleased to offer my support to this project, and I encourage students and graduates to take part."
Hushpreet Dhaliwal, CEO, NACUE said: "Our Universities are home to a huge number of emerging enterprises and with the right guidance and support, these businesses could so easily be the success stories of tomorrow. We’re delighted to be working with Lloyds Banking Group which is playing a leading role in nurturing enterprise and these awards are another example of their commitment to help businesses grow. We are proud to be part of this initiative and we look forward to celebrating the success stories that will emerge as a result."
Emma Jayne Parkes, Squid London4, said: "Our business was born at university and we know from experience how valuable the university environment can be to entrepreneurs, whatever their business idea might be. There are many thousands of start up businesses at universities, but the real issue is the path they take after graduation. Awards such as these can play a huge role in encouraging entrepreneurs to progress their ideas and build their businesses – and ultimately they are a crucial opportunity for unknown start ups to make a name for themselves in the wider world.”
According to research5 exploring the attitudes of students towards enterprise, six out of ten (58 per cent) current university students plan to set up their own business in the future, and one in ten (8 per cent) have already done so. The study shows that those studying business related subjects (92 per cent) are more likely to want to start their own business than others (55 per cent) but that those studying creative subjects are more likely to have previously run their own business. Amongst those students who have already started a business or would like to in the future, their main motivation is the opportunity to control their own destiny (45 per cent) and the excitement of running a business (47 per cent). However, most of the students questioned believe there should be more support for enterprise, both through teaching business in schools (61 per cent), on campus advice (79 per cent) and support from banks (75 per cent).
As part of its SME Charter, launched in 2010, Lloyds Banking Group pledged to support 100,000 start ups each year until 2012. Since the Charter launched it has supported more than 200,000 start ups. During the first nine months of 2011, it provided £32 billion of committed gross lending to UK businesses, of which £9.6 billion was to SMEs.