This semester Rise Up launched its INTENT programme for the first time.
Rise Up INTENT (International Entrepreneurs) programme consists of four interactive, practical workshops aiming to give final year international students the insight and skills to start and grow a profitable business in the UK after graduation; with the exciting opportunity at the final stage to pitch their business idea to a panel in order to gain endorsements for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur (T1GE) visa.
Workshops focus on business planning, market research, financial literacy and marketing to help the participants develop their business ideas. The interactive nature of each session helps students to apply the speakers’ know-how and knowledge directly to their business ideas during the workshops. Participants also benefited from having previous clients come and talk during workshops about their experiences of running a profitable business in the North East after receiving a T1GE visa. It was important to give the participants the opportunity to hear from people who’ve gone through the process and been successful.
Rise Up INTENT programme will run each semester and so far has yielded fantastic results with 9 endorsements made this semester. That’s a staggering 350% increase in endorsements from the last academic year with one programme still yet to run! This is a clear indication of the impact the workshops have had on equipping students with the relevant insight and knowledge to run their own business.
Gretel Ferat, an MBA graduate from Mexico said, “The INTENT programme gave me food for thought during the process of putting my business plan together. After every session I would go back to my partners with questions that were important to clarify, not only for the purpose of the business plan, but to establish a shared and well defined vision of what we are trying to achieve with our business and how are we going to get there”.
The direct benefits of the programme were outlined by Olubusola Eshiet, a Nigerian PhD graduate from the school of Education, Communication and Language Sciences and one of the 2014 endorsees: “Though I had discussed my ideas with RiseUp team and with friends, articulating them to a sizable group of people I had not met before was a first. I also had the chance to receive feedback on my business and it was good to discuss the figures too. They don’t look that abstract any longer.”
There were a variety of businesses endorsed from the programme’s first run this November, ranging from creative performance to business support services. They’re all very ambitious however, and they need to be. The programme is intense and requires driven entrepreneurs who are passionate about their businesses succeeding. Our post-programme evaluation revealed that 100% of the attendees now feel more prepared, able and likely to become self-employed as a direct result of taking part in the programme.
The programme will next run in spring 2015 and we’re hoping for a budding new crop of international entrepreneurs to take up this unique opportunity. If growth continues at the same rate of success, it is sure to create a large multicultural business community who can have a significant social and economic impact on Newcastle and the North East.
Entrepreneurial Development Officer