By Marcus Leach

YouGov and UCL, working with StartUp Britain and in collaboration with Imperial College London, will lead the development of a pilot StartUp Summer to stimulate, encourage and support student entrepreneurs.

StartUp Summer is an entrepreneurs’ development programme that will offer students the opportunity to develop their own innovative, business ideas into actionable, start-up business plans.

At the pilot stage, the programme will be open solely for UCL and Imperial students with a view, in future years, to extend the programme to the national student body. To apply, students will submit online, either a 300 word pitch of a business idea or their skills as a potential team member. Inspiring figures from enterprise will identify the top five business ideas to form the basis for the five StartUp projects and act as mentors to support their development. Mentors will support the student with the chosen business idea to select their team members from applicants who have pitched their skills as team-members.

During an eight week period, five project teams of five students each will have ongoing access to a range of resources, a project budget of £2,000 and regular contact with entrepreneur mentors. Teams will develop their own business skills and proposals through a series of masterclass workshops offered by experienced entrepreneurs.

The key reward is for all participants to develop their skills and networks within business in a stimulating and supportive environment. Project teams will also have the opportunity at the end of the programme to present as a team in a Dragons’ Den style environment to real investors who can provide valuable critical, but also constructive feedback and guidance. The project team judged to show the most progress in developing their business case will win the StartUp Summer prize of £15,000 for the development of their start-up business.

Stephan Shakespeare, Co-Founder and CEO of YouGov commented, “I am very excited that YouGov will be working with UCL on the development of a new platform for young entrepreneurs. Through StartUp Summer, individuals with creativity and initiative will have the opportunity to develop their own ideas with the help of experienced entrepreneurs and with market and concept testing from YouGov. I have seen how few opportunities exist for creative self-starters who do not fall into the traditional categories set by your average internship scheme. Within a safe and stimulating environment, students can carve their own path into business.”