De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is opening a new dedicated workspace at the LCB Depot as the home for DMU Made, which supports entrepreneurial students, alumni and staff to build their businesses online.
The DMU Made Studio will help students and graduates in the creative industries as well as host new short courses, workshops and events at the LCB Depot, in the heart of the city's Cultural Quarter.
New initiatives will include a DMU Works Digital Retail Sprint – a recurring short course which will help participants take their business ideas online. Those taking part in the free workshops will learn how to build and maintain their own e-commerce website, utilise tools such as Instagram and also sell through sites like Etsy and DePop. Special Fika sessions will be incorporated, giving participants the opportunity to informally meet and share ideas with one another
There will also be new DMU Works: Upload drop-ins, where students, graduates and staff can come along to the space to receive 1-2-1 guidance on making their businesses digital and new workshops specifically designed to help students with their pitching skills.
Launching with a special event in the Leicester Design Season 2021, Connect @ the LCB Depot events will see guest speakers share their start-up stories and provide students, graduates and staff with opportunities to network directly with Leicester’s creative community.
The DMU Made Studio will be run by DMU Works Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Team. Its traditional Freelance February month will grow and re-launch as the DMU Made Festival – incorporating the already successful Entrepreneurship Day and Pitch2Win events.
Businesses supported by DMU Works Enterprise & Entrepreneurship will also be able to apply to sell their products via one of the new DMU Made Fairs, building on the success of the team’s long-running Christmas Fair.
Simon Baines, DMU Works Enterprise and Entrepreneurship manager, said: “We are so grateful for the support we have received from LCB Depot who are absolutely on the same page when it comes to embedding entrepreneurial students and graduates right here in our city, and we can’t wait to see our DMU Made project come to life in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, complementing its digital presence at dmumade.com.
"We have found through our programmes like Graduate Champions Startup Catapult and Launchpad that so many of our students, from all across DMU have creative businesses – but don’t always know how to give those businesses an online presence or how to sell their products, so this initiative is all about empowering them to do that.
“In these challenging times, it’s very important that we don’t lose sight of the enormous benefits to be had by working face to face with each other and LCB Depot offers an established, creative community which our students and graduates will really benefit from engaging with. We also value DMU’s drive for our students and graduates to develop entrepreneurial and digital skills and we look forward to supporting that ambition through DMU Made and with the launch of our new Connect events, launching in the Design Festival and continuing in Leicester Business Festival.
"Needless to say, we will continue to support our students on campus and through online initiatives as well, but this is a very exciting step forward for enterprise at DMU."
The new workspace has been made possible thanks to funding for knowledge exchange activities and has been part-funded by the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities.
Gillian Proctor, Associate Professor for Enterprise at DMU said: “Having an accessible, interactive space within the heart of the LCB Depot, enables students and graduates to interact first hand with bespoke makers and to experience business training and activities on offer to consider their own incubation potential.
“Leicester is the second largest incubator of creative business start-ups outside London. Despite these trying times, creativity remains Leicester‘s watchword. Working alongside Leicester City Council’s regeneration plans, DMU and LCB Depot are devising a five-year plan to promote and support our graduates into the wider world of work and entrepreneurship.
"As a university, our most precious asset is our graduates, utilising skills honed through our award-winning DMU Works Enterprise and Entrepreneurship team, part of the recently voted the Best University Careers and Employability Service in 2021 in the NUE awards.
“I very much look forward to seeing the DMU Made project flourish and further develop within Leicester’s fantastic Cultural Quarter."
LCB Depot Manager James Burkmar said: ''We are pleased and excited to welcome DMU as a workspace tenant here at LCB Depot, the city's creative industries hub in the Cultural Quarter. From August this year DMU will have a dedicated workspace which creative industries students can access to develop their ideas as fledgling entrepreneurs.
“This is another step, which builds on the success of LCB's exhibition programme led by Chris Slowe, towards the shared LCB/DMU goal of establishing an internationally regarded start up partnership for creatives and Leicester as a city that genuinely wants to maximise its relationship with De Montfort University. Expect new businesses, expect events, expect lights and action!''
Posted on Friday 13th August 2021