Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

The View Spring 2012

From student dreams to commercial reality

Students in The Studio

From tax returns to marketing, the challenge of setting up a new business can be daunting for new graduates. With plenty of enthusiasm and great ideas, yet little business development experience or funds, they can often be overwhelmed with where to start.

The University has launched an exciting new initiative to help creative graduates maximise the prospects of their new business ventures. The Studio acts as an enterprise incubator to help nurture their ideas into commercially viable products, services or social enterprises.

Jarrah Webster met with Studio Manager, Megan Powell Vreeswijk, and some of the recently settled tenants to find out more about The Studio and their new enterprises.

Loughborough University’s commitment to enterprise is gaining in strength every year. Designed to help graduates from the School of the Arts and Loughborough Design School, The Studio is a new initiative to supply graduates with the much needed support when it comes to setting up a new business. The inspiration was the graduates themselves, as Megan explains:

“The Studio is the brainchild of Professor Tony Hodgson, former Dean of the Loughborough Design School. He realised that students from the University’s design and technology courses were coming up with some amazing concepts for their final year projects, but once their degree was completed these amazing ideas were being shelved. There was no follow on support available to help our graduates take their ideas to the next level.”

“Over the coming years we want to open up The Studio so that graduates from across the University can apply to be tenants. We have such amazing talent at Loughborough and The Studio is all about helping those with real business potential.”

The two-year Studio opportunity, concentrating first on product and service development, then on commercialisation, currently houses ten graduate companies. Tailoring innovative packages for the individual graduates, The Studio helps them to accelerate up the entrepreneurial ladder:

“We provide them with expert mentoring in a number of areas, such as product development, marketing and business development, and cover the financial cost of getting their product or service to a commercially-ready state. They also have unlimited access to office facilities and, most importantly, the perfect creative environment in which to work and flourish. Working together as a creative community, the graduates can benefit from mutual support and the exchange of skills and ideas.”

The Studio has big plans for its future, with hopes of expansion and increasing graduate intake. Anyone who feels they have business knowledge that would prove useful to The Studio tenants and who would be able to spare some time to become a mentor please contact Megan by calling 01509 223437 or email m.r.powellvreeswijk@lboro.ac.uk.