Could University of Exeter students be the Bannatynes and Bransons of the future?

Student entrepreneurs from the University of Exeter are set to be honoured at an event in Bristol on 6 June. Students from Exeter have been shortlisted in each of the categories of the SETsquared student enterprise awards. These aim to showcase the achievements of students and graduates from universities across the south, as well as the mentors, champions and initiatives that have helped them thrive.

They include:

Edward Noel – Student Enterprise Champion

David Solomides – Business Mentor

From the Dragon’s Mouth with Dragon Doug Richards – Best Student Enterprise Experience

The Young Ones – Best Student Start Up

ModMyPi – Best Graduate Start Up

Jollie Goods – Best Social Enterprise Project

Special guest at the awards, Nick Wheeler, founder of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts and non-executive director of The White Company, says the role entrepreneurs have to play in the UK’s economic future must not be underestimated.

He says: “With the UK showing signs of a stagnated economy, it has never been more important to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. Fast, flexible and lean start-ups will be the lifeblood of UK business in years to come and it is therefore vital that businesses, Government and organisations such as SETsquared work together to make it happen.”

Historically, the SETsquared student enterprise awards have acted as a barometer for emerging talent in UK business. Previous winners have included those behind the company Thoughtified, which began life as a student enterprise start up in 2011 and now turns over £300,000 a year.

Paul Blackmore Head of Employability and Graduate Development at the University of Exeter said: “These awards are a great way of recognising the achievements of our most enterprising students. There are a wide range of services and events available across the University designed to support student entrepreneurial ambitions so there are more opportunities than ever for our students to think, experiment and take the steps in forming a business. Hopefully these individuals will be amongst many other Exeter students and graduates that go on to inspire future generations to develop their own ideas and turn them into viable businesses and successful careers.”

The event is run by SETsquared, a partnership of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, in order to celebrate and encourage entrepreneurialism in the UK’s next generation.

SETsquared runs a number of initiatives and events to help foster entrepreneurialism in university students, regularly teaming up with some of the UK’s biggest companies and most successful entrepreneurs to deliver workshops and training.

The most promising of student enterprise businesses it comes into contact with are brought into its business incubator programme and examples include hit accessories company, Elephant Branded, which started life as a student enterprise business and now supplies retail giants such as John Lewis.

Partnership director, Graham Harrison, said: “SETsquared is very much supporting the Government’s agenda for entrepreneurship and growth, working at the coalface to deliver training and mentoring to entrepreneurs young and old.

“What is needed for the UK to catch up with its more entrepreneurial counterparts in the USA is a cultural shift to celebrate success, self employment and risk taking. This is why events such as these awards are so important - they are pushing for that cultural shift and making entrepreneurialism something to aspire to rather than fear.”

To find out more about the event, which will be hosted by the University of Bristol at the city’s MShed, visit


Share this