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Gift gives entrepreneurs a chance to shine

 March 2, 2015 | Simon Jenkins


Enterprising students and graduates are putting their ideas into practice thanks to the generous support of a Yorkshire business.

Harrogate-based technology group InTechnology plc has funded a new enterprise incubator at the University of Leeds, giving practical support and financial assistance to new graduates looking to set up in business. The InTechnology Enterprise Incubator provides office space on the University campus and access to specialist business advice – creating the perfect breeding ground for success.

Peter Wilkinson, CEO of In Technology plc, speaking at the launch

At the same time, InTechnology is providing four enterprise scholarships a year for the next five years, giving current students and postgraduates the chance to develop their business ideas alongside their studies.

The University of Leeds has a long track record of supporting student entrepreneurs, with enterprise scholarships, a ‘Year in Enterprise’ programme and nationally-acclaimed student business start-up service SPARK.

These schemes are only available to current students, but the InTechnology Enterprise Incubator is building on this by giving support to student businesses beyond their graduation. Graduates are given designated office space to develop their start-ups and draw on the help of experts in a range of business disciplines to give their firms the best chance of success.

The InTechnology group has a proven track-record of launching successful start-ups and hopes that its support will provide new businesses with the help they need to get off the ground, and bring many new successful organisations to the north.

“I’m extremely excited about this project,” says Peter Wilkinson, CEO of InTechnology plc. “I know how tough it is for start-up businesses. We want to give these start-ups every chance of success as they will contribute to the future prosperity of Leeds, providing sustainable economic growth and job creation.

“When I visited the University I saw more innovation in two hours than I’d seen anywhere else in the past two years. By giving these young entrepreneurs the support they need, we’ll be able to help them turn their ideas into a reality. Programmes like this have the potential to turn Leeds, Yorkshire, and the whole of the North, into the economic hub it should be.”

One of the first entrepreneurs to use the Incubator is Sophie Tregellis, whose hobby of making dog treats with her mum at home has now developed into a thriving business called Top Collar, with customers across the UK.

“The Enterprise Incubator is a wonderful asset both for the University and for the city,” said Kairen Skelley, Business Start-Up Manager at the University of Leeds.

“Our support for student enterprise has been paying dividends in terms of new companies and new jobs for many years. This is allowing us to extend that support beyond graduation, giving these young entrepreneurs the very best chance of success, and we are grateful for the support of Peter Wilkinson and InTechnology in making this happen.”

Dog treats enterprise Top Collar, founded by Sophie Tregellis (Philosophy 2013) was among the first to use new business incubation facilities at the University. Here Sophie talks about how her business was born – and expresses her gratitude to the donors who helped make it happen:

The story was also covered in the Yorkshire Post.