Centre set to boost help to college whizzkids

October 27, 2000

Strathclyde University yesterday unveiled its multimillion-pound Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde, writes Olga Wojtas. It aims to promote entrepreneurship among staff, students and graduates.

Acting director Jonathan Levie predicted that more than 800 students would take entrepreneurship modules as part of their degree courses this year.

The university's growing initiative has been renamed in recognition of a £5 million donation from graduate Tom Hunter, the man behind the Sports Division chain. Mr Hunter's gift is being used to extend entrepreneurship education at Strathclyde, alongside an expansion of premises and staff.

Dr Levie said most British universities confined entrepreneurship education to business studies students. But Strathclyde courses were open to all and almost half of this year's places would go to science and engineering students.

"At Strathclyde, students (can) take an elective from an outside department. This creates an internal market for us," Dr Levie said. Students from any faculty could choose from seven entrepreneurship electives, ranging from personal creativity to setting up an internet-based company, he said.

The university hoped students would be more fulfilled in their careers, which might involve forming their own firms or being innovative within an organisation. "The advantage that science and engineering students, arts and humanities students and law students have (in common) is a specialised skills base that they can leverage to start a business."

Dr Levie stressed that the students were not kept in subject groupings but divided into "balanced" project teams.

The Hunter Centre has eight full-time staff and will take on five more this year. It is breaking new ground by helping to teach Strathclyde Business School's core curriculum and will give entrepreneurship courses to its 350 second-year BA students.

The centre hopes to expand outreach to Strathclyde graduates. It allows new graduates to attend postgraduate courses and runs seminars for alumni, with talks from entrepreneurs who are "growing their own businesses".

The centre is also promoting entrepreneurship by sending out an awareness-raising CD to first-year science and engineering students across Scotland.

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