Entrepreneurs are being targeted by Staffordshire University in a drive to harness business success in new partnerships to benefit the county.
Company leaders heard Vice Chancellor Martin Jones open doors while throwing down the gauntlet during a dinner for hundreds of the area’s most successful companies.
As well as unveiling exciting plans for the future and insight into the state of Staffordshire regeneration, Jones called on the audience to work with the university and accelerate transformation.
He said: “We hope that number will continue to grow and that we can not only support existing businesses but be a catalyst for entrepreneurial change.
“We want to foster an entrepreneurial culture where the wealth creators and job makers of the future are nurtured then set free to transform this city, this county and this region.
“I am a firm believer that universities like Staffordshire have the capability, opportunity, and responsibility to support the places where they are based, by working in partnerships to solve some of the most pressing social and economic challenges.
“We want you, the people in this room tonight, to work with us to make exciting things happen.
“Staffordshire University can be – and is – a catalyst for the local area.”
Elsewhere he pointed to a link-up with Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce to help businesses in the county access funding to creating jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds through the Government-backed Kickstart Scheme and other interventions, as examples of working in partnership with local organisations to help the community and grow Staffordshire’s economy.
He added: “Our partnership with North Staffordshire YMCA has made important inroads in breaking down barriers to higher education and helping people who once thought education was ‘for others’, access skills and qualifications through our Step-Up programme to help them achieve their life-long ambitions.”
Chris Daniels, MD of web and app developer Cyber Kiln, who attended the dinner, said: “”I look forward to seeing, as well as being part of, the change that Staffordshire University is helping to make.
“Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is on the cusp of an evolutionary change, not only to our industrial makeup and how we do business within our city, but also how the large organisations like Staffordshire University actively engage and support businesses within their community.
“This new wave of social responsibility is what will help drive big changes, and better equip our city for the challenges for the future.”
Dan Waterman, of Stoke-on-Trent-based animation specialist Carse and Waterman, added: “It’s a really exciting and welcomed message from the vice chancellor to support entrepreneurship in the area.
“As Staffordshire University graduates who set up our business in 2009 we have experienced many of the pros and the cons of setting up an innovative business in the city and there is lack of culture and visibility for young creative and tech businesses.
“We are certain that the university is absolutely in a place to make a difference and help support and stimulate exciting things in Stoke and Staffordshire and ensure entrepreneurs stay keeping their businesses and successes local.”
• Martin Jones also unveiled plans for a TED X event in February to bring TED talks to the university’s flagship Catalyst building. Anyone interested in giving a TED talk can find out more and apply here.