By Marcus Leach

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has today (Monday) announced his support for Entrepreneur First, the scheme created to help talented UK graduates successfully start their own high growth start-ups.

With just under a month to go before the deadline for applications, Entrepreneur First has seen strong interest from university students and graduates across the UK, with applications received from students of 49 different universities, including each of the UK’s top 10 ranked universities.

“Entrepreneur First typifies the spirit of enterprise and innovation that is building in and around the East London Tech City initiative," Mayor of London Boris Johnson said.

"With so many promising start-ups and great ideas emerging from the Old Street area, it is the perfect focal point for ambitious young entrepreneurs from across the country. I look forward to hearing more about the businesses and ideas that will be coming out of the Entrepreneur First scheme in the months and years to come.”

Matt Clifford, CEO of Entrepreneur First, said they have been overwhelmed by the support for the initiative.

“With three weeks still to go, we are delighted by the levels of interest we have seen," he said.

"We’re particularly pleased that applications have been coming in from a wide spread of universities across the UK. History shows us that the best ideas and businesses don’t just come from the traditional ‘red brick’ universities so it’s great to see that students from across the country believe that entrepreneurialism is the right career path for them.”

With applications still coming in, Cambridge leads the way as the university most excited by the programme, with around 10 percent of applications coming from Cambridge University students. Warwick University, University College London and the London School of Economics are also showing strong interest, with each providing around seven percent of the applications received to date.

Entrepreneur First has also received applications from students in Oxford, Nottingham, Manchester, Reading, Portsmouth, Loughborough, Cardiff, Bath, Leeds and Kings College London among others.

“Of course, there is still time before the deadline, so anyone who wants to launch a high-growth start-up when they graduate should definitely apply,” added Clifford.

“In particular, we would love to see some more applicants from students in Wales and Scotland, as so far just five percent of our applications have come from Welsh and Scottish universities.”

The application deadline is 31st December, after which the best applicants will be selected to take part in Entrepreneur First. Once enrolled on the programme, the UK’s most talented and ambitious aspiring entrepreneurs will receive mentoring from top entrepreneurs, start-up training, opportunities to attend networking events and access to funding.

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