Collaborative Summer Start Up Week earns entrepreneurship catalyst award

The winners of the 2020 National Enterprise Educator Awards (NEEA) have been announced, with the Entrepreneurship Catalyst Award going to Summer Start Up Week - a national collaboration between all 23 Universities and Colleges across Wales, that Coleg Gwent is proud to be part of. 

 The Enterprise Educators UK NEEA awards celebrate excellence within enterprise and entrepreneurship education, recognising exceptional commitment to supporting student pre-starts, start-ups and growing ventures. The Entrepreneurship Catalyst category looked for inspirational projects and initiatives that support learners to develop the capabilities they need for an entrepreneurial future.  

 The Coleg Gwent Enterprise and Entrepreneurship team support and encourage learners with their entrepreneurial ventures, however, COVID-19 posed a new challenge. To overcome these difficulties, the Coleg Gwent team joined forces with the network of Enterprise Champions in all colleges and universities in Wales, to collaborate on creating a week of enterprise and entrepreneurship online talks and events in June’s Summer Start Up Week. 

 This innovative online initiative addressed the need to support and enable pre-start and early stage businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic through a virtual boot-camp and start-up community. Coleg Gwent supported this initiative, alongside 23 other colleges and universities in Wales, to help learners to launch their entrepreneurial ideas despite the challenges.  

Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, and the Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, said; " This award is a fitting acknowledgement of the exceptional entrepreneurship education being delivered outside the curriculum. The collaborative effort to deliver this virtual Summer Start up Week 2020, amidst this challenging period, demonstrates your commitment to young people in Wales. Enabling students and graduates to recognise their entrepreneurial potential and help those interested in starting a business, take their ideas forward."

 The online festival of entrepreneurship featured motivational role models; keynote speaker Alannah Spencer - winner of The Apprentice; and evening e-socials. It helped Coleg Gwent and the network of Enterprise Champions to support 500 students throughout Wales with their start-up dreams and ambitions and to get their ideas off the ground. 

 Zoe Blackler, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Leader at Coleg Gwent, commented; “Working on Summer Start Up Week with my fellow enterprise educators was a fantastic experience, allowing collaboration and innovation to support students with developing their own businesses virtually. It was a great example to demonstrate that despite adversity, connectivity can still create incredible opportunities for learners.” 

 There are plans for Summer Start Up Week to become an annual event, and Coleg Gwent is now collaborating once again to create an online marketplace this Autumn for learners to test-trade and showcase their products throughout Wales for Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. It’s not too late to study at Coleg Gwent this September and join their community of budding entrepreneurs of the future.