Recognising that many of our students have the creativity and ambition to become entrepreneurs, we offer SPARK, a dedicated start-up service for students and recent graduates. The scheme offers specialist enterprise workshops, on-campus incubator space, enterprise scholarships, funding grants and an annual business plan competition with prizes of up to £3,000 for entrepreneurial students.
One of the companies to benefit from SPARK is Synap, a training system created by Leeds graduates James Gupta and Omair Vaiyani. They developed a mobile app into a learning platform and secured a partnership with Oxford University Press to offer medical revision content to medical students and doctors.
On an international level, the University is delivering an online executive course to female entrepreneurs worldwide. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women is a global initiative that fosters economic growth by providing female entrepreneurs with a business and management education, mentoring and networking, and access to capital. To date, the programme has reached thousands of women from over 56 countries, with graduates from scheme reporting immediate and sustained business growth.
Professor Lisa Roberts said: We can be proud of our track record in innovation, but we want to now create a step change in how we support innovation and commercialisation. Our ambition is to play a pivotal role not only in the city and region, but to support Leeds in competing on a global scale. We are attracting the brightest and best entrepreneurs to establish their businesses here, innovate with us, and tackle the most intractable global societal challenges. At the same time, we are supporting our researchers, providing them with the skills to innovate and work with business.
The Leeds team in the MIT REAP programme includes leaders from the University of Leeds and Nexus, KPMG, Arup, Leeds City Council, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds Academic Health Partnership, Monroe K and entrepreneurs Adam Beaumont, David Aspin and Ben Ziff.