North East education institutions join forces to develop first funded startup entrepreneurship programme

RGU students Keri Chapman and Calum McColl
RGU students Keri Chapman and Calum McColl

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North East Scotland College (NESCol) will join Robert Gordon University (RGU) in the first funded startup programme in the NorthEast of Scotland.

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The Startup Accelerator, developed and managed by RGU, will support entrepreneurial teams of students, staff and recent alumni in both institutions, with the aim of helping the region’s entrepreneurs and innovators to create new businesses in a number of industries including healthcare, technology, education, energy, retail, food and beverage, transport, fashion and consumer products.

The thirty teams that make it through the judging in November will receive up to £10,000 of funding each, leading to the creation of new businesses to support the region’s economic development.

“The access to the Startup Accelerator for the NESCol community is yet another part of the ongoing strong relationship between NESCol and RGU,” said John Harper, Principal and Vice Chancellor of RGU. “It will provide additional career pathways for students and help to develop new types of start-up companies in the North East to the benefit of the wider community.”

It is part of the TWO PLUS alliance which both institutions announced in June 2018. Building on a well-established partnership and a shared commitment to present an innovative and inclusive tertiary education model, TWO PLUS includes taking active steps to strengthen connection within and beyond traditional higher and further education streams.

“This is a real example of the re-imagining of what collaboration means between NESCol and RGU. This opportunity offers our students, staff and recent alumni the opportunity to take their creativity and entrepreneurship to the next level,” says Liz McIntyre, Principal of NESCol.

The Startup Accelerator will eventually be based in the recently announced ONE Digital Entrepreneurship Hub, which is located at the historic RGU Schoolhill site. The programme will act as yet another major milestone in the development of a significant innovation district within Aberdeen, working in tandem with other startup, innovation and accelerator programmes.

The online application for the programme is now open and closes on November 18. Teams will be chosen for the programme, which runs on evenings and weekends from January 2019. Details can be found here:

Individual teams may submit a variety of venture concept proposals in a range of industry areas from technology to food and beverage, sustainability, and creative industries such as fashion or architectural solutions, and to healthcare, engineering, social enterprise and digital solutions.

“We are delighted to have the wider NESCol community engage in this very exciting opportunity,” said Gordon McConnell, VP of Commercial and Regional Innovation. “There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in the North East of Scotland.”

The Startup Accelerator competition is open to undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students enrolled in any RGU or NESColprogramme, as well as full time or part time staff and alumni who have graduated within three years of September 2018. While at least a member of the team must be from one of these groups at the time of application, the teams can include external individuals.

RGU’s Startup Accelerator and Innovation Skills programmes are just the first of a series of new initiatives in the areas of skills, employability, innovation and entrepreneurship being developed by the university which will be launching over the coming months.

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