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A University Crowdfunding Campaign to help student entrepreneurs stay in the city after graduation, has raced to its first milestone of £12,000 in less than a week.
Exeter’s GEM (Graduate Entrepreneur Maintenance) Fund will cover student entrepreneurs’ living costs, idea development and marketing. There will also be a new incubation space at the University’s Innovation Centre to offer graduate entrepreneurs work space, advice, support, skills training and technical facilities.
Thanks to a donation of £5,000 from Exeter based property company, Eagle One, the campaign has reached its minimum target. This will be matched with a further £1,000 by Santander Universities.
Eagle One has long standing links with the University of Exeter and the Exeter Science Park in which the University of Exeter is a key partner.
Paul explained: “What drew me to the campaign was the fact that Exeter was at the core of it. I was lucky enough to be born here and get a great job. Exeter has a vibrant heart and through business, innovation and collaboration it can continue to thrive. We cannot allow great students to drift off, we need to keep them and their great ideas and enthusiasm. Exeter will only excel if everything about it continues to develop.”
“The fund will enable entrepreneurs to have a go, make mistakes and learn along the way.”
Paul said: “The fund is absolutely pitched at the right level with contributions at every stage making a difference. Entrepreneurs don’t want to be worried about paying their rent or affording their next meal. The GEM fund allows them to concentrate on their business.” He continued: “I like the idea of Eagle One’s sponsorship being £5,000 now but this potentially creating a £500,000 business longer term. This is an investment poised at the root of challenges for entrepreneurs, rather than a one-off charitable donation. It really gets to the heart of the matter whilst the businesses are still growing.”
Paul concluded: “I look forward to watching the growth of these entrepreneurs and the development of their businesses. I would like to continue to support the campaign either financially or by providing insight and mentorship.”
Joe Pearce, Head of the University’s Student Business Support team said: “I am delighted that Paul has chosen to invest in our GEM fund. By keeping these talented individuals in Exeter, we are boosting the regional economy and enhancing the innovation ecosystem.”
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