The University of Dundee has revealed plans to open a Centre of Entrepreneurship later this year.
The announcement follows the University of Dundee’s Principal, Professor Sir Pete Downes stating his desire that Dundee is seen as the most entrepreneurial university in Scotland.
Elevator has joined with the University to help realise this objective and will launch a Business Accelerator within the Dundee campus.
The new centre will combine the needs of entrepreneurial education within the University of Dundee and provide a beacon of entrepreneurship, which contains an energised and inspiring accelerator programme - to fast track business growth, open to both students and the public, which will launch many more high growth ventures into the city.
Elevator Chief Executive, Gary McEwan, who is Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Dundee, believes the city is on the threshold of entrepreneurial renaissance and there will be a wave of opportunity for individuals and businesses to embrace in the face of the city’s transformation.
“Collaborating with the University of Dundee to open a Centre of Entrepreneurship within the city is an aspiration we have been working on for many years. This new centre in Dundee will follow our best practice and focus on creating an inspiring environment in which budding entrepreneurs, students and supporters of enterprise, can come together to get free advice, generate ideas, receive support, mentoring and network,” Professor McEwan commented.
“The city of Dundee is in a very strong position to embrace innovation and diversity – with the £1 billion master plan to regenerate and to reconnect the Waterfront to the city centre – there are real opportunities across all sectors - technology, food and drink, tourism and biotechnology – which entrepreneurs can utilise.
“We are committed to helping support and realise ambitions of the city. The Elevator programme offered from the new centre will help challenge aspiring entrepreneurs, their goals, their plans and business ideas, for scale and growth. We will teach entrepreneurial disciplines, best practice for business growth and develop idea generation and entrepreneurial thinking to encourage new business start-ups – all of which will boost a city on the verge of major regeneration.”
The location for the new centre has been identified close to the edge of the University of Dundee’s campus, within existing retail space. The 2,500sq ft ground floor space will be transformed over the coming months, with a shared investment from both Elevator and the University to create a high tech, creative space. Similar to the Aberdeen Elevator Centre of Entrepreneurship, this will feature a flexible open plan creative space, with breakout meetings rooms, hot-desks and a mini auditorium.
The new centre will allow for collaboration and a more joined up approach within the University of Dundee and between individuals and a wide range of organisations across Dundee including - Dundee City Council, Dundee and Angus College, Scottish Enterprise, Business Gateway, Entrepreneurial Scotland, as well as other universities and further education establishments.
Professor McEwan continued: “With the support of thought leaders, established entrepreneurs and city partners working together and willing to impart their knowledge and experience via involvement in this new centre, it can only mean that the future of the city is looking brighter.
“We are very much looking forward to developing and opening the new Centre of Entrepreneurship in Dundee to develop the business leaders of tomorrow and boost the local economy further.”
Graham Nicholson, Director of Student Services at the University of Dundee, said: “We are committed to giving our students and graduates the skills to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, and also the facilities that will support them. This agreement with Elevator will create a dedicated enterprise space on campus which will be a centre of graduate entrepreneurship for the city, available for the use of students, graduates and others and giving them access to a wide range of services and support.
“The University community generates a vast amount of knowledge, much of which can be turned to enterprise and innovation. This new agreement will help our potential entrepreneurs realise their vision.”
Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee said: “The range of opportunities in the city right now, and in the near future are almost limitless when considering the scale of development that is going on.
“The chances that are being created come in a wide variety of areas and, as well as traditional roles, also offer the right type of dynamic, creative and driven individual that we have in Dundee, ways of creating wealth and employment for themselves and ultimately other people.
“The new centre at the University of Dundee in conjunction with Elevator will help people to realise these ambitions and deliver for them and the city.”
Veronica Lynch, Director of External Relations at Dundee and Angus College added: “This will provide a strong progression route for tenants in the Enterprise D&A incubator at Dundee and Angus College to accelerate the growth of their businesses. We look forward to working more closely with the University of Dundee and Elevator to increase the numbers of start-up businesses across the region”.
Chris van der Kuyl, Chairman of Entrepreneurial Scotland, said: “I am passionate about entrepreneurship and the city of Dundee so it’s a particular pleasure that as chair of Entrepreneurial Scotland I am able to support Elevator with the launch of this fantastic new Centre of Entrepreneurship in my home city. The centre will be a dedicated new resource for those starting or running businesses as well as a place for anyone that needs business advice, to learn new skills or to connect with others who are on the entrepreneurial path.
“As a beacon for entrepreneurial activity I know the centre will play a key role in helping Dundee realise its potential and play its role in Scotland becoming the most entrepreneurial society in the world. We look forward to working with the team in the months and years ahead.”
Elevator is a social enterprise which works across Tayside and Grampian to help facilitate the start-up and growth of new and existing businesses, while delivering Business Gateway services on behalf of the Scottish Government through Local Authorities.
Elevator created the UK’s first Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Bridge of Don, Aberdeen in 2014 – combining the delivery of Business Gateway with an open access public facility and business accelerator.