DMU named in the top 10 UK universities for student and graduate start-ups

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has been named as one of Britain’s top 10 universities for the most student and graduate start-ups.

Some 128 new student and graduate start-ups were launched from DMU in 2019/20 compared with 54 the previous year. The data, released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) follows a rise in events and online support for entrepreneurial students across DMU and comes as DMUworks launch a new website to showcase creative businesses launched by the university’s students, graduates and staff.


Building on the success of 2019/20, DMUworks Enterprise and Entrepreneurship’s team have since launched online start-up schools, a new Launchpad programme for students in their third year of study or above, a Graduate Champions Startup Catapult programme and much more, catering for current students as well as DMU alumni.

The team also offers second year students the chance to complete an enterprise placement year, developing their own business idea and learning entrepreneurial skills with the university’s support and access to seed funding over a 12 month period. All of the initiatives are developed and run by the team.

DMU works to embed a culture of entrepreneurship across the university. Business students are encouraged to come up with new business ideas in the long-running Fox's Lair programme, and pitch them to judges made up of business leaders from across the UK. Final-year students and alumni can apply for a place on The Crucible Project, DMU’s two-year start-up support programme which helps a number of graduates turn their ideas into business reality each year. It includes mentoring and access to experts in marketing, strategy and finding investors.

Simon Baines, DMU Works Enterprise manager, said: “This leap up the national league table which recognises the number of student and graduates being launched through universities is recognition of the huge work our team have put in over the last couple of years.  

“New initiatives like our online start-up schools and Graduate Champions Enterprise Catapult have proved to be a huge success and alongside our events like Entrepreneurship Day and TEDx, we have seen a huge increase in interest from our entrepreneurial students and graduates.”

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Students who have taken part in the start-up schools said it had helped them on their entrepreneurial journeys. Yasar Mahmood said: “Also, I’d like to mention how helpful this course has been. I’ve learned a lot of new things that I’d have never thought. Thanks for this opportunity, it’s been amazing.”

Rohit Mohite said: “Honestly, I cannot express the support you and Simon are offering to DMU graduates. I feel really proud of be part DMU Family :)”

Agata Gosciniewicz added: ”In the start-up summer school I had a chance to ask my questions and I got great feedback. Thank you for that. & Thank you once again for all those three days, it was really great and helpful."

The Crucible Project alumni have also praised DMU's support for start-ups.

Filmmaker Jane Hearst who runs her own company The Curious Observer said: “The initiatives offered by the Enterprise team at DMU are a great tool for inspiring future entrepreneurs. My journey with the team began with the Pitch2win competition, where I was lucky enough to win a £1,000 contribution towards trialling services for my business.”

Animation company Lead Balloon were among those to join the ranks of The Crucible Project alumni and are now based in Leicester, run by graduates Lois Cockerill and Darrell Wright. Lois said: “The Crucible has been really helpful.  We were able to get so much advice and I don’t think we’d be in business without it. Leicester has such a supportive network when you are a start-up and that’s why we stayed here after we graduated from DMU.”

As well as the leap in student and graduate start-ups, the DMUworks Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Team have also led a significant increase in the number of attendees at DMU business events. These include Entrepreneurship Day and TEDx, both of which are open to the public and available to watch online. More than 20,000 engaged with the events in 2019/20.

Posted on Wednesday 23 June 2021

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