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24 January 2007 PR 07/07

Loughborough student jets off to USA on entrepreneurship scholarship prize

This week Loughborough University student and budding entrepreneur Daniel Currin, 21, set off to the States for six months as part of an entrepreneurial scholarship programme.

The scheme, designed by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (a leading US centre that works to advance entrepreneurship), is for just 16 individuals who have been selected from the best of England and Northern Ireland’s engineering, scientific and technology degree and post doctorate students.

Launched by the Government last year, the programme will enable the students to develop their high impact business ideas during their stay in the United States. They will combine both practical and educational learning through coaching from leading scholars and thinkers, policy leaders, innovative researchers, and business founders and placements at a US business, university and the Kauffman Foundation.

The Fellows will begin their programme in the US this week with a welcome tour and introduction to the Kauffman Foundation, Kansas, where they will spend the first five weeks meeting and working with their US mentors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship. Fellows will then visit US universities, including Harvard, before they take up a three-month internship at a US business. They will return to the Kauffman Foundation at the end of the six months to share and consolidate their experiences before returning to the UK.

During the scholarship the Fellows will work on their individual business concepts, which range from addressing environmental and health issues to designing new luxury technology goods and a new application for mobile phones. Daniel, an Industrial Design and Technology student, is developing a product that can be used to illuminate party balloons by projecting images onto the inside that shine through.

Commenting on his participation in the Fellows scheme Daniel said: “I am delighted to have been selected for the NCGE-Kauffman Fellows scheme and am incredibly excited about how the programme and time in the States will shape my business and develop my entrepreneurial skills. The US is renowned for its entrepreneurial activity and it will be an amazing experience to spend time at the Kauffman Foundation, a US university and business and apply what I learn to take my business idea forward. The programme will be challenging with a broad range of skills and knowledge to acquire, but I can’t wait to make the most of the opportunity and share the insights I will gain with my university and aspiring student and graduate entrepreneurs in the UK.”

Ian Robertson, Chief Executive of the NCGE commenting on the fellows said:
“The United States is held up as a leader in the world of entrepreneurship and the fellows will benefit enormously from spending time interacting with the county’s entrepreneurial leaders. The fellows have proven they have the resolve and determination to develop their ideas into fully fledged businesses and are committed to the programme and will take advantage of every opportunity it offers.

They are the best in their field and are excellent ambassadors for UK entrepreneurship. I am confident that this scheme will be a catalyst for their businesses’ development and that their progress will benefit the UK’s HEI entrepreneurial landscape.”

Dan was nominated for the fellowship scheme by Loughborough University’s Student Enterprise Manager, Marina Pickles. She said: “Dan has already revealed very promising talent as an entrepreneur, when he won first prize in Loughborough University's Student Business Plan Competition. The University is currently looking for further funding to enable Dan to move his idea forward on his return to the UK.”

ENDS

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Notes to editors

  1. The National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) is an independent organisation supported by the DTI’s Small Business Service and DfES, whose aim is to raise the profile of entrepreneurship and increase the number of students and graduates (within five years of graduation) seriously considering and engaging in business start-up in all its forms, including self employment. Further information on the ncge is available at http://www.ncge.org.uk
  2. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. The Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Information about the Kauffman Foundation is available at http://www.kauffman.org
  3. Marina Pickles is Student Enterprise Manager, and is based on campus at Loughborough Innovation Centre. She is happy to offer advice about how you assess the market potential of any innovative ideas you have, how to protect and develop your idea, and also help you start and grow your business. For further information visit: http://www.enterpriselufbra.co.uk, http://www.loughborough-innovation.co.uk or http://www.loughborough-enterprises.co.uk
  4. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough in the top five among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

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