In the fourth of our series Kingston University describes why they have been shortlisted for the UK’s Outstanding Entrepreneurial University of the Year.
Enterprise education has been central to Kingston University’s ethos for nearly 20 years. During that time, thousands of entrepreneurial students have been nurtured by dedicated staff, leading to the creation of hundreds of businesses – each formed from innovative ideas, boundless ambition and a considerable amount of hard work.
Our students’ achievements are not the only barometer of our entrepreneurial success.
“As a University we reach into the local community, hosting events at which ideas are shared and evolved.”
There is a wide and vibrant ecosystem of events and support, with initiatives like the government-funded Help to Grow Management programme, which aim to boost businesses owners’ resilience and provide them with the skillset to grow their companies. This has seen more than 300 small businesses benefit from our expertise in a four-year, £4m funded project – the largest cohort of any delivery partner – to employ design-thinking to develop skills and confidence.
Our work in this area supports the local economy, boosts innovation in the South London region and provides support for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The University is also a patron member of Kingston Chamber of Commerce, headline sponsor of the Kingston Borough Business Awards and a partner of the South London Partnership.
We are embedding creative problem solving and interaction with business and industry across our curriculum through our Town House Strategy, which places futureproofed skills and graduate attributes at the heart of teaching and learning. Our Bright Ideas competition and Hackcentre programme fire the imaginations of our student body and offer a vital platform for new ideas and an outlet for products, designs and services.
“More than a fifth of the entire student body across all four faculties benefited from enterprise initiatives…”
Engaging several thousand students each year, our enterprise education programme builds a pipeline of entrepreneurial students who go on to start a business. More than a fifth of the entire student body across all four faculties benefited from enterprise initiatives in 2021-22, and this long-term commitment is reflected in the four values that underpin our Town House Strategy – being enterprising, innovative, ambitious and inclusive.
In 2021, the University launched a major campaign highlighting the importance of future skills in driving a thriving economy. The survey of 2,000 businesses found problem solving, critical thinking, communication, adaptability and creativity were among the core skills most valued by employers. These future-proofed skills needed by employees and entrepreneurs alike are now being embedded across the curriculum, with future skills modules in every course.
The ability to think and act entrepreneurially is increasingly important for graduates entering the workplace. The support offered to our students enables them to become capable and self-confident learners. Through dedicated programmes, they explore and develop products, services, enterprises and campaigns, gaining valuable knowledge and experience to utilise alongside their future skills.
“Kingston University has been ranked top or second [in the UK] for graduate start ups …”
The impact of this entrepreneurial work is demonstrated by the high number of graduate start-ups the University helps foster. In seven of the past eight years, Kingston University has been ranked top or second nationally for graduate start-ups in the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey. A total of 747 start-ups were supported between 2019-20 and 2021-22, including 298 – more than any other UK higher education provider – in data for 2020-21.
Another showcase of Kingston’s entrepreneurial support is the annual Bright Ideas competition, hosted at Kingston Business School. Students from all faculties develop their ideas under the guidance of a dedicated enterprise team, before presenting their business ideas to a panel of invited industry experts, winning up to £1,000 to continue research and development. Between 2019 and 2022, more than 1,000 entries were submitted involving 2,500 students.
After graduation, the Nest incubation space supports entrepreneurial alumni to accelerate their business, with facilities, services and investment opportunities designed to boost growth and innovation.
Winning the Times Higher Outstanding Entrepreneurial University award would mark the achievements of our student body and recognise the innovation and commitment of our staff, while highlighting our institution-wide commitment to enterprise.
Successful enterprise differs from student to student, with a kaleidoscopic range of outcomes. We want our graduates to be able to innovate within organisations, help SMEs to develop or build their own companies but, above all, we want them to leave university able to engage in innovation, question its implications and make a positive impact on society.
Programme details: Join us for “Entrepreneurial Universities Week 2023′ with daily FREE webinars, 12-1pm (UK).
- 13TH NOVEMBER: ‘Enterprise in UK Universities – findings from our latest research’ by James Ransom, NCEE
- 14TH NOVEMBER: ‘UK Policy and the Future of Enterprise’ by Greg Wade, Universities UK
- 15TH NOVEMBER: ‘What have libraries got to do with entrepreneurship? Business Centres and Intellectual Property’ by Liz Jolly, British Library
- 16TH NOVEMBER: ‘Entrepreneurial Universities Showcase’ featuring THE Award shortlist and 2022 winner (LSE)
- 17TH NOVEMBER: ‘Amplifying Entrepreneurialism: Tools for Mapping, Measuring, and Nurturing Organisational Innovation’ by Dr François Nel and Dr Marios Raspopoulos
For more information, click here.