Press Releases

Reading's Graduates Given a Flying Start – University of Reading

Release Date : 05 November 2009

Graduates thinking about starting their own business are being encouraged to visit next week's Reading FlyingStart: Make it Happen day. This free, one day event, is taking place from 1pm to 4pm on Wednesday, 11th November at the University of Reading, and will help graduates turn their business ideas into reality

Budding graduate entrepreneurs or 'gradpreneurs' will be given business advice through workshops, inspirational speakers and business mentors. The Make It Happen day is just the first step in a 12 month support programme for those who want to progress their business idea. To find out more, or to register for the event, graduates should visit:

FlyingStart: Make it Happen will give graduates the opportunity to network with like-minded people, giving them the motivation needed to take the first step. Those who choose to move forward with their plans will have the opportunity to meet with mentors dedicated to guiding them in their early career. These highly experienced, business mentors will be on hand to offer support and guidance free of charge for the next 12 months.

Carey Widdows, Director of the Careers Advisory Service at the University of Reading said: "We work very hard to ensure our graduates have the best possible chance of succeeding in their chosen career path. Starting up your own business is a big step and this day represents a wonderful opportunity for graduates within the Thames Valley to gain expert help and advice. We are delighted to be hosting FlyingStart: Make it Happen and look forward to welcoming many budding entrepreneurs to our campus."

The Reading day is one of 50 such events happening across the country. In total, 5,000 graduates will get the opportunity to attend a rally - a result of an extra £1 million investment by the Government aimed at inspiring them to start up their own businesses.

David Lammy, Minister for Higher Education, said:

"The skills and talents of Reading's young people are essential as we build a stronger Britain. It will be their enterprise and entrepreneurship which will give us and them the competitive edge we need.

"In the last downturn household names such as Green and Blacks chocolate and eBay were created by young entrepreneurs. We are harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit of our new generation of graduates, providing opportunities for 5,000 to explore starting up their own business.

"FlyingStart: Make it Happen is a important addition to the range of options available to recent graduates including internships, further study and volunteering."

Building on the Success of the FlyingStart scheme launched in 2005, the Reading Make It Happen day will cover a range of topics, including:

• How to find and develop a sustainable money making idea

• Details on how to start a business

• Information on what it is like to be self employed

• Ways to access available funding to give businesses a flying start

Local gradpreneur and owner of, Oliver Sidwell, 24 said:

'Flying Start gave us the impetus we needed at a vital stage of our development as we attended a Flying Start Rally when we first launched. We spoke to many other like minded people, heard some inspirational speakers and the rest is history!'


Since July 2005, the FlyingStart programme, run by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship, has been successful in starting up 432 businesses, holding 469 workshops and offering 816 hours of training/support.

For more info please visit:


For more information, or to attend the rally and / or schedule an interview, please contact Jennifer Smith (07717 768 099) at

Available for interview:

• Oliver Sidwell, Founder,

• Ian Robertson, Chief Executive, National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship

For all University of Reading media enquiries please contact James Barr, Press Officer tel. 0118 378 7115 or email

Notes to editors

1. Launched in 2005 by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE), FlyingStart aims to inspire final year, university students to think seriously about starting a business. FlyingStart comprises a one-day "inspirational rally" followed by a three day training programme for those students demonstrating commitment to start a business. The NCGE is funded by BIS, and has recently received additional funding from the Department to introduce a new initiative, "FlyingStart: Make It Happen". Based on 'traditional' FlyingStart, Make It Happen targets graduates seeking to encourage them to become self-employed.

2. Entrepreneurial activity is significantly higher among those with a graduate or post-graduate qualification, and while entrepreneurial activity for those in full-time education is lower than for the population as a whole, there appears to be a greater desire amongst those in full-time education to start a business in the future.

3. The FlyingStart: Make it Happen Scheme sits alongside the thousands of other opportunities available to new graduates that will help them improve their chances to get a long term and well paid career. These include:

• Thousands of internships delivered through the Graduate Talent Pool matching service and the Low Carbon Future Leaders placement scheme;

• Around 24,000 additional postgraduate places - supported by extra Professional and Career Development Loans next year;

• 250 short term placements through Mini Knowledge Transfer partnerships, rising to 500 in 2010/11;

• Thousands of existing volunteering options available through "V", an organisation aimed at young people between 16-25, and other voluntary organisations;

• 500 teach first opportunities in 2009, up 130 from 2008.

4. Those graduates who register a commitment to pursue a self employment programme, a business start up programme or pursue another option like an internship will be entitled to support and guidance for the following 12 months.

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.



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