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Budding entrepreneurs to take their ideas to full bloom – University of Reading

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Budding entrepreneurs to take their ideas to full bloom

Release Date 20 July 2006

The National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) is running its third ever three-day Flying Start programme at the University of Reading from Monday 24 July to Wednesday 26 July to help budding entrepreneurs from around the country take their creative businesses from idea to reality. In its quest to encourage entrepreneurial growth in the UK, the NCGE has searched the length and breadth of the country to find the next set of students and graduates with the most enterprising and promising business ideas. Some 57 entrepreneurs have been selected to take part in the programme. Over the three days the budding entrepreneurs will pursue their ideas, which include University of Reading student, Rory Gallagher's creative agency, which offers anyone interested in the arts the opportunity to use their skills to take part in workshops, events and projects. The agency has already engaged with City Gateway and provided a group of street artists to decorate a double decker bus the organisation was renovating. The bus then toured round schools and community groups in East London to promote creativity in young people. Other ideas range from turning household waste into useful everyday objects to 118 TAXI – a 24 hour phone line that can provide people across the UK with numbers for local taxis firms wherever their location. The entrepreneurs are also developing PC gingerbread cutters, beauty products for black hair and skin, an animation company and a 24/7 food service designed for shift workers. The three-day programme will include a series of workshops to provide the entrepreneurs with a greater insight to the business and commercial world, and culminate with them pitching their business ideas to seasoned executives and potential investors in a business fair on Wednesday 26 July. Workshops range from how to design a business to how to market your business/service/product and participants will also have their own mentor, provided by Finance South East, who will work with them throughout the programme and online for the subsequent 12 months. The entrepreneurs will receive tailored advice depending on what level of development their business idea is operating at and what their next steps will be to consolidate, create or extend existing business ventures and receive continued support from the NCGE. Commenting on his success, Rory Gallagher said: "I'm thrilled to have been selected for the three-day Flying Start event. It's great to have access to the kind of business advice the programme will provide – I am determined to make my business a success and it will certainly help me take the next steps. I am also looking forward to meeting other young entrepreneurs and sharing our experiences; as well as learning how to network with the important businessmen and women who'll be attending." Commenting on the forthcoming event, Dr. Lorna Collins, Director of Flying Start and national mentor, said: "Flying Start offers graduates and students a platform to develop their ideas and enables them to reach a stage where they are able to begin trading. I am delighted to say that 37 out of the 80 participants from the July 2005 Flying Start programme are now trading and I hope that we will see an equally, if not more, encouraging result from this programme. "By tailoring the scheme to the individual entrepreneurs they are able to make the most of the opportunities and commercial sectors open to them and their business concept. A growing number of graduates are interested in becoming entrepreneurs and have the drive and determination to take their concepts forward, which is an exciting process for them, the NCGE and also the UK economy." SEEDA's Head of Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Christina Hartshorn said: "We are delighted to be working collaboratively with the NCGE on this critical Flying Start Programme, and in particular to be able to provide social entrepreneurs with an opportunity to take forward their ideas into thriving and viable propositions. The number of students and graduates embracing entrepreneurship in terms of behaviour and skills is growing rapidly. Importantly, we are also elevating the profile of social entrepreneurs who are making a positive contribution to a wide range of communities in a sustainable manner. This is a real priority for SEEDA as we seek to engage with entrepreneurs who can galvanise deprived areas of the region by establishing businesses with a 'not for profit' focus rather than driven by stakeholder pressures." end Media attendance is welcome at the event and interviews can be arranged with the participants, the NCGE in advance or during the three days. A full itinerary is available, please contact The Twelve Consultancy on 020 7631 0737. Notes for editors The National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) is an independent organisation whose aim is to raise the profile of entrepreneurship and increase the number of students and graduates (within five years of graduation) seriously considering and engaging in business start-up in all its forms, including self employment. http://www.ncge.org.uk SEEDA is the Government funded Agency responsible for the sustainable economic development and regeneration of the South East of England – the driving force of the UK's economy. Our aim is to create a prosperous, dynamic and inspirational region by helping businesses compete more effectively, training a highly skilled workforce, supporting and enabling our communities while safeguarding our natural resources and cherishing our rich cultural heritage. http://www.seeda.co.uk Media contacts Vicky Jones, Graham Smith, Lynsey Bonell The Twelve Consultancy Tel: 020 7631 0737 Email: vicky@twelvepr.co.uk, graham@twelvepr.co.uk, lynsey@twelvepr.co.uk From 24-26 July or out of hours: 07958 635913 (Vicky); 07841 463 872 (Lynsey)

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