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Entrepreneur students kick start their year

25th October 2022

Business students from Northumbria University have had their fledgling entrepreneurial skills put to the test at a start-up bootcamp. 


The event was organised by academics at Northumbria’s Newcastle Business School in collaboration with a number of business partners, and held off campus in the vibrant Floe Workspace at the Tus Park business innovation and ecosystem centre in Newcastle city centre.

Over three days, entrepreneurship students took part in a series of highly relevant and practical activities with organisations such as global start-up community Start-up Grind. They also heard from recent Northumbria graduates about their own start-up experiences, and met with successful local business leaders, including Elaine Parker, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Safer Date, and Gavin Wilding from security business AutoRing.

Commenting on the bootcamp, Assistant Professor Kellie Forbes-Simpson from Newcastle Business School, said: “This was a lively and engaging way to kick off the start of term for our entrepreneurial students, allowing them to dive straight in on a range of highly relevant enterprise tasks and meet and learn from recent graduate business owners. It was also an opportunity for them to really connect with a wider entrepreneurial community, which is incredibly valuable and enhances the hands-on and experienced-based learning approach we offer our students. 

“This was a demanding but fun bootcamp - the feedback from students and partners involved was incredibly positive.”

Elaine Parker, CEO and founder of Safer Date, said: “As soon as I saw the opportunity to present the students with a challenge, I immediately put myself forward and I'm so glad that I did. It's wonderful to see young people being taught about entrepreneurship, as schools tend to only teach you how to be an employee.

“I was very impressed by all of the students. Whether they were in their first, second or third year, they were all confident and bursting with ideas. They asked lots of questions and put impressive, well thought out presentations together in a very short space of time. Their confidence presenting to the room was also very impressive to see. I know many adults who would not be brave enough to do that.

“Choosing a winner was extremely difficult as they all worked so hard, but it's very clear to me that each and every one of them has a very bright future ahead."

Patrycja Maksymowicz, Chapter Director of Startup Grind, added: “Since its founding in Silicon Valley in 2010, Startup Grind has helped millions of entrepreneurs around the globe build their businesses. As part of our mission, we strive to serve as a catalyst for local entrepreneurial communities.

“It has been a great experience to work with the Northumbria University team on this event designed to encourage collaboration between young entrepreneurs and startups in our community. As I watched the final presentations, I was inspired by the enthusiasm of students and the ideas presented. 


“It is my hope that we will include the university and its entrepreneurial community more in our chapter activities as time goes on, so I am thrilled we have already done so.”

Northumbria has a reputation as a leading provider of entrepreneurial education - and is currently the top-ranked university in the North East for graduate business start-ups based on estimated turnover. 

According to the latest Higher Education Business and Communities Interaction (HEBCIS) survey 2020/21, turnover for Northumbria graduate start-ups exceeded £95.3 million – placing the University in the top five nationally as well as first regionally. It is the 12th consecutive year Northumbria has been in the top 10 universities across the UK for graduate start-ups.

Newcastle Upon Tyne is the 4th best place in the UK to start your own business, according to recent research. The city's strong infrastructure, lower operational costs and "growing SME economy” enable new businesses to have “the highest chance of success”.

For more information on studying Entrepreneurship BA (Hons) at Newcastle Business School please visit

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