Students promote spirit of venture

December 7, 2001

A group of Edinburgh University students is to launch a society to encourage graduates to think about starting their own business.

The Edinburgh Entrepreneurial Society (ESoc) aims to follow the lead of the Bases group at Stanford University in California. Five students from Bases attended the launch. Bases has more than 4,000 members, including business people, venture capitalists and students. Last year, it raised $250,000 (£176,000) to organise its own business-plan competitions and seminar series.

Andrew Peacock, who recently completed a PhD at Edinburgh, has set up Image Fusion Systems Ltd to develop software for video cameras. He said the ESoc was seeking support from Scotland's business community. It has planned workshops, discussion groups and networking events to help develop links between potential entrepreneurs and investors.

"If a venture capitalist is looking for investments, this is a way of finding out about new up-and-coming businesses," he said. "And new start-ups looking for employees often want graduates who are willing to do a variety of tasks."

Dr Peacock said it had not occurred to him to run his own business until, as a postgraduate in Edinburgh's electrical engineering department, he saw the success of academics and recent graduates in launching spin-offs.

He said: "Graduates in this country often don't think of setting up their companies or they tend to see it as an impossible goal. That's maybe less the case for graduates in the United States where the attitude is one that is more geared to risk-taking. ESoc aims to change the culture of student entrepreneurial activity in and around Scotland."

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