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Alister Rolins (left) and Bruce de Groote from Fitronics
Alister Rolins and Bruce de Groote from Fitronics
Aimee Cubit, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student
Aimee Cubit, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student

Press Release - 18 April 2005

Student entrepreneurs get helping hand

Students will get extra help getting starting up new businesses, thanks to a new Enterprise Centre at the University of Bath.

The Student Enterprise Centre, which will be opened by Tim Evans, Director of the National Council of Graduate Entrepreneurship, later this week (2:45pm on Thursday 21 April 2005), will give students free access to the training, support and resources they need to turn their business ideas into reality.

Based in the Students’ Union, the Centre facilities include a suite of five computers, meeting rooms and two dedicated business support professionals as part of the Student Enterprise Team.

Throughout the year, the Centre will run training courses that help students learn about the world of business and pick up some of the skills they will need to become successful entrepreneurs, such as presentation, negotiation and leadership.

The support on offer from the Centre will also give students an introduction into the world of business through organisations like the Bath Chambers of Commerce and networks of local business already connected to the University.

“The idea of the Student Enterprise Centre is that we support students in all areas of enterprise, whether they want to start their own business, learn business-related skills or develop a more entrepreneurial approach to their life,” said Siobáin Hone, Student Enterprise Trainer at the University.

“We hope that in the years to come, we will be able to look back on a string of local companies that have started out as students’ ideas, had support from the Student Enterprise Centre and then gone on to establish themselves as successful enterprises.”

So far, 33 students have signed up to become members of a special enterprise group that will help decide the training and support services that will be of most use to them and fellow students.

The group includes students with fledgling ideas for business, those who are keen to become entrepreneurs and others who just want to improve their business-related skills.

They will be hoping to join the likes of Alister Rollins and Bruce de Groote who, whilst in their final year of their Mechanical Engineering Degrees, started their own company based on an idea for a unique fitness technology.

Their company, Fitronics, provides gym members with an electronic system for tracking their activities and goals, and alerts gym staff when their customers are dropping behind or look likely to cancel their membership.

”The support from the University has had a large influence on the rapid development of Fitronics,” said Alister Rollins, one of its directors.

“The new Student Enterprise Centre will take this support to the next level, helping ambitious students develop some of the key skills they will need to successfully establish fast growth companies.”

Aimee Cubit, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student, is looking forward to using the resources on offer in the new Centre.

“The Centre will be a really useful resource for students thinking about starting their own business,” said Aimee, who has already made it through to the second round of the University’s business plan competition with her business idea.

“There are lots of students at university who are working on research projects or developing products that could well be the start of a successful business.

“Just after graduating is as good a time as any to start a business, especially as it is getting easier to access funding and other forms of support.”

The £44,000 Centre is being supported by a grant from the Government to help encourage graduates into entrepreneurial fields. The Centre is funded through second round Higher Education Innovation Funding which was won by the University Research and Innovation Services (RIS) team. The Students’ Union and RIS see this as a strategic partnership and are keen that students benefit from these resources.

"Graduate Entrepreneurship is a key driver of the economy, both regionally and nationally, as shown by the US, where thirty per cent of economic growth is the result of businesses started by graduates within five years of leaving University," said Tim Evans.

"Bath’s new Student Enterprise Centre will not only contribute to future economic development both regionally and nationally, but also provide students and graduates with the opportunity to develop ideas, expand their career options and most importantly, to follow their dreams."

Students can sign up for the enterprise group at http://www.bathstudent.com or at the Students’ Union reception.


The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/