Young Academic can reveal that Entrepreneur First, the not-for-profit programme created to help talented UK graduates create their own tech startups, has announced that it is building on the success of its first year by significantly expanding the scheme. Applications to join the organisation’s second intake are now open.
With the inaugural Entrepreneur First cohort of 30 graduates now building a diverse range of startups, ranging from e-commerce to enterprise software via robotics, the search is on to find the next cohort of aspiring founders from universities across the UK. The first stage is completing a simple online application with a deadline for submission of 4th January 2013.
After the first year of the programme, Entrepreneur First is expanding the programme to support a larger group of startup founders. The expanded programme will aim to reach 100 graduates, giving even more ambitious university leavers the chance to find talented co-founders and develop disruptive ideas. The core aims of the programme remain the same: encouraging talented university leavers to consider entrepreneurship as a career choice, helping them form a team and develop their ideas, and to provide expert advice and support.
Entrepreneur First will continue to work closely with many of the UK’s top names in tech to deliver the training programme: established entrepreneurs such as Betfair founder Ed Wray and Wonga founder Errol Damelin; leading London investors such as celebrated angel Sherry Coutu; and young stars of Tech City including GoCardless co-founder Matt Robinson and Songkick co-founder Pete Smith.
Up to 100 graduates will be recruited to take part in the summer stage of the programme, which will focus on supporting the participants to build teams, while also giving them the chance to experiment with ideas and work alongside some of the UK’s top startups. The most exciting teams will then progress to the full-time accelerator stage, beginning in September 2013, with access to expert mentoring, training and a wide range of resources including office space and legal support.
Matt Clifford, CEO of Entrepreneur First, commented: “Since we founded Entrepreneur First we have been constantly amazed at the skills and proven entrepreneurial flair of the graduates leaving our universities. We have seen some fantastic ideas and startups come out of the inaugural Entrepreneur First cohort and we are delighted that we have been able to expand the programme in our second year, giving us the chance to help more of the country’s most talented graduates to pursue their ambitions of creating their own high-growth startups.
“We have been working closely with the inaugural cohort and they have now launched some hugely exciting companies based on ideas we’ve seen grow and develop over the past year. To see this group of 30 graduates learning, sharing ideas, building confidence and gaining experience together has been very exciting. There is no better time to begin your career as an entrepreneur than when you first graduate from university and we’d encourage anyone who would one day like to create a high-growth startup to visit our site and find out more.”
Matt Robinson, co-founder of GoCardless and an Entrepreneur First mentor, said: “EF is filling a genuine gap, supporting talented young people in taking the leap and starting a company. I wish it had been around when I finished uni! I’ve been super impressed with the calibre of people EF has attracted already, and am excited to see that the model is scaling.”
For more information on how to apply to join the Entrepreneur First 2013 cohort, or for details on the startups created by the 2012 cohort, please visit: www.entrepreneurfirst.org.uk and keep up to date with all of your student news via the Young Academic website.
About Entrepreneur First
Entrepreneur First is a not-for-profit programme that launched last year, backed by Silicon Valley Bank, Microsoft, BskyB, McKinsey & Company, Experian, the City of London Corporation, and Osborne Clarke. The programme aims to make high-growth entrepreneurship an exciting and viable career choice for talented graduates, by offering training and mentoring, as well as access to a network of leading entrepreneurs and investors.