2018: The Year of the Entrepreneur

“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.” – Roy Ash

The world is constantly alive these days with an endless stream of unique ideas borne out of an increasingly innovative start-up culture. Brand-new businesses, products and services are forged at every turn, improving daily life through concepts that bring efficiency and convenience, and that solve problems previously thought unsolvable. We live in an inspired time ignited by the hum of entrepreneurship. According to data from the Kauffman Foundation, 2015 marked the first year that start-up activity saw a significant surge since the Great Recession. That year, Kauffman’s Startup Activity Index rose for the very first time in five years, experiencing the largest year-over-year increase seen from the previous two decades.

“Entrepreneurship is one of the most important activities of modern economic life,” says Dane Stangler, Vice President of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “The creation and growth of new companies, as well as the closure and shrinkage of existing companies are at the heart of ‘economic dynamism’,” he adds. “Many of the statistics tracked closely by economists, policymakers, investors, and others – such as unemployment, wage growth, and productivity – are driven by entrepreneurial activity.”

But how do you ensure success in a market already saturated with ingenious concepts and commodities? It begins with education. In the very same report, Stangler adds that entrepreneurship “in all its forms will continue to be essential to rising standards of living and expanding economic opportunity”. In light of this, 2018 will be defined as the Year of the Entrepreneur, and elite higher education institutions like London South Bank University (LSBU) will undoubtedly lead the charge.

On top of being named University of the Year for Graduate Employment, LSBU has also previously been crowned Entrepreneurial University of the Year by Times Higher Education (THE). Widely known as the Oscars of higher education, the THE Awards acknowledge the outstanding achievements of institutions, teams and individuals across the UK sector. The entrepreneurial accolade celebrates the entrepreneurial support offered to students, graduates, staff and the local community.

Led by LSBU’s experienced Research, Enterprise and Innovation team, based at the Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation, with additional services offered from academics across all seven of the university’s disciplinary schools, LSBU’s unparalleled efforts to support student enterprise and startup ventures earned it the coveted title in 2016.

The school’s dedicated activities engaged more than 10,000 students and staff that year alone, empowering 220 student and graduate business endeavours. The triumph was witnessed by more than 1,200 people at the iconic Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane.

“LSBU has demonstrated how a vision can be translated into action, within curricular and through the work of its staff and more widely across their local, national and international networks,” the judging panel explained.

“We are particularly impressed by the number of students engaged, and the breadth of enterprising activity the university is involved in and the depth of employer engagement. LSBU shows a truly entrepreneurial approach to its pivotal role in the community and academic endeavours.” But this trend for business excellence continues, with LSBU also claiming the crown for Graduate Prospects by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.

Standing up against the UK’s most prestigious universities, LSBU held its own. Almost 7,000 students – equating to more than one in three undergraduates – are sponsored by employers, with the university itself fostering meaningful partnerships with over 1,000 industry partners.

On top of this, the median LSBU graduate salary stands at £24,000, a level bettered by just 10 national universities. It also falls comfortably within the UK top 20 when considering the number of graduates in professional roles or further study six months after graduation. The emphasis on entrepreneurship seeps through every facet of the LSBU education. Programmes embody an applied, practical nature, granting students direct access to relevant industries in the heart of the UK capital. Students greatly benefit from the school’s enviable London location – a city that’s earned its position among the world’s most innovative.

As an institution that’s constantly investing in cutting-edge facilities, LSBU’s commitment to its students empowers success and reflects the rapidly-evolving nature of the city in which it resides. Above all else, LSBU guides and supports startup success through entrepreneurial ideals, helping define a modern world enriched with business innovation.

As LSBU Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Phoenix, concludes: “The importance of innovation and entrepreneurial education is going to be even more important as we seek to increase productivity and grow the UK economy post-Brexit.

“At LSBU we will continue to inspire and support students to become what they want to be through our range of curricular and extra-curricular support and look forward to further strengthening our role as a driver for innovation in South London.”

 

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