How the University Creates Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs; Teesside University Is in the Running for a Prestigious National Award for Its Entrepreneurial Approach to Learning, Research and Working with Business

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TEESSIDE University has worked hard to create an environment that encourages innovative thinking, risk-taking and responsiveness amongst its staff and students.

And it hasn't gone unnoticed, says vice-chancellor, Professor Graham Henderson.

Last year, the university shook the higher education establishment by becoming the Times Higher Education University of the Year and scooping the publication's Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative Award for its work with the North East Chamber of Commerce.

Now Teesside is a finalist in this year's prestigious competition for the Times Higher Education's Entrepreneurial University of the Year.

Professor Henderson is in no doubt about the significance of such accolades, saying they have contributed to a major shift in perceptions of the university and the importance of its role in the Tees Valley.

He says: "We hope the judges will recognise our can-do ethos, and our contribution to the growth of digital and other high-value businesses in the area."

Business Secretary Vince Cable is among those already convinced. After visiting Teesside recently, he told the Evening Gazette that the university was "a brilliant place - one of the best universities in Britain" and "an example of how the private sector can get involved".

Professor Cliff Hardcastle, the university's deputy vice chancellor for research and enterprise, says: "We have set out to behave like an entrepreneurial business and have invested time and money to create the right infrastructure and support systems. "In recent years, the university has helped to create more than 250 new businesses - many launched through our highly successful DigitalCity Fellowship scheme supported by One North East and the European Regional Development Fund.

"DigitalCity is just one part of a success story that also includes our innovative Science to Business Hub for process industry SMEs and award-winning Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with businesses. "We're developing an environment where setting up in business is a natural career choice. That's why we're launching entrepreneurs@tees with the Students' Union, a new initiative aimed at instilling those all-important entrepreneurship skills and attributes in our students from day one on campus.

"entrepreneurs@tees will become a student-run enterprise society, supported by business-owner graduates and entrepreneurial staff and offering an inspiring programme of events alongside mentoring support from businesses. It has already signed up over 300 first year students. …