The Westminster Entrepreneurship Pioneers programme, run by the Creative Enterprise Centre (CEC) at the University, has been gifted £5,000 by Claranet Limited to be awarded as prizes to students.

Student smiling with a laptop - poster for the pioneer programme

The programme, which launched in September, is a digital programme which aims to upskill the University’s future business leaders, supporting them in developing their enterprise skills, growing networks, and building confidence and the ability to explore business creation opportunities that solve real-world problems during and after their studies. 

It is driven by the CEC’s longstanding mission to advocate for greater inclusion and diversity in the industry and the entrepreneurial ecosystem by contributing to empowering and developing a diverse, experienced and highly skilled talent pipeline from the University of Westminster. 

Out of 91 applicants, 23 diverse students were successfully selected onto the programme. The programme values diversity, with 75% of participants being female, 67% identifying as being Black, Asian or from a Minority ethnic group, 29% having a learning disability and 8% being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Since the programme launched, the selected students have benefitted from participating in three interactive expert-led workshops titled, ‘Defining your Value Proposition’ led by Daniel Tuitt, a service and business designer, ‘Developing your Product’ which was led by Afi Yammesu, and ‘Marketing for Growth’ led by associate product manager at Moonpig Gauri Kangai. 

In addition to this, participants have also been assigned industry mentors to support them for the second half of the programme after the Christmas break, as well as being awarded with a £250 bursary. Masterclasses will resume in mid-January to mid-February and the Demo and Awards day will take place on 9 March, where the participants will pitch and present the business concepts they have built over the programme. They will also be awarded the funding gifted by Claranet Limited to continue the development of their ideas. 

Rachel Woodhouse, UK Deputy MD & Finance Director at Claranet, said: “We are delighted to support the Westminster Entrepreneur Pioneers programme which helps students at the university to develop strong leadership skills in their chosen fields. At Claranet we value and seek to promote a diverse group of responsible entrepreneurs. We are confident that this programme shares our aspirations and values, and are excited to see the results.”

Gabriela Alves, a third-year student on the Fashion Marketing and Promotion BA Honours course and participant of the programme, said: “I am currently in the research stage of my business plan and this programme is helping me to organise everything very carefully. I have been having feedback which is amazing. Our mentor is always available as we have a platform where we can chat and exchange ideas.

“The masterclasses are every Wednesday and they are a fun way to learn as they’re very interactive. We have been having in-depth discussions with people from very different fields and this has been a very inspiring journey. I believe that this experience will be important for my future career because I am gathering connections from people from very different areas. I am always learning and seeking connections.”

Simay Sali Sevik from the Development Office added: “I’m delighted Claranet have chosen to support this innovative programme. In the current economic climate, funding from our corporate supporters is more important than ever as we want to champion and encourage students to create their own futures in enterprise. This support will really incentivise our student participants to excel on the programme and help them to achieve their ambitions.” 

Learn more about the Westminster Entrepreneurship Pioneers Programme

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