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Economist magazine highlights how DMU graduates play their part in Leicester's start-up success

The Economist |magazine has told how DMU graduates are helping Leicester match London for the numbers of fastest-growing businesses in the UK.

The article endorsed the way DMU supports business start-ups and works to keep its talented graduates in the city so they continue to contribute to Leicester's success.

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Success is in the bag: Charlie Evans

The UK Growth Dashboard, based upon analysis of companies carried out by national think tank the Enterprise Research Centre, praised the city’s thriving small businesses. More than 135 start-ups were launched at DMU last year through its Enterprise Inc programme, which offers places and mentoring to graduates. Last year, DMU was named one of Britain's top 20 universities for the number of student start-ups.|

This year saw the launch of business boot camp The Crucible|, which sees graduates compete for a place on a programme offering £8,000 funding, office space, mentoring and other support.

Leicester City Council has opened dedicated workspaces for young entrepreneurs while across the county funding schemes have been launched to support new businesses.

DMU graduate Charlie Evans was interviewed by The Economist, which reaches 1.5million online readers a week, as an example of start-up success.

She graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and now runs Grey House England|, challenging the conventional handbag market by producing and designing high-end, sustainable cardboard backpacks.

Charlie, who is part of The Crucible project, said: “Being part of The Crucible has been incredible for my company. It has given me the space to develop the business I want and I know that I have the support of my mentor.

“I’m now working with a manufacturer in the city and we hope to be producing the bags this year.”

DMU graduate Lizze Leary’s online shoe boutique, Kindred Sole|, is typical of the fast-growing businesses praised by the Enterprise Research Centre.

Founded as part of the Enterprise Inc programme, Lizze has been highlighted by the UK Government as an example of start-up success and still works closely with DMU, helping to support other entrepreneurial students.

She said: “I’ve had very strong support from the university. In the past 12 months, we’ve consistently grown the business and year on year we are doubling in terms of revenue.”

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In May, DMU relaunched its Innovation Centre (IC) which is home to a mix of growing businesses and start-ups. Central to its philosophy is the co-working café, where students, graduates, staff, academics and start-ups can work on ideas collaboratively, hold informal meetings and research events.

IC manager Simon Baines said that the relaunch had given the centre, which has been part of DMU campus since 1996, a fresh focus.

He said: “We seek to retain more of our talented graduates here in Leicester by providing exciting facilities, events, surgeries and collaborative opportunities and we aim to attract the most innovative and enterprising start-ups from the local area to operate from here.”

Posted on: Monday 29 June 2015

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