SETsquared Exeter Student Startup Manager Emily Davies, has been shortlisted for the 2020 National Enterprise Educator Awards for her contribution to entrepreneurship education and support.
Since she joined the University of Exeter in 2017, Emily has been pivotal in the development of the entrepreneurship support delivered through the Student Startups programme.
The programme has been responsible for helping students on the first steps of their entrepreneurial journeys, from the generation of ideas, through to launch and trading. It provides a safe and supported space in which entrepreneurial students can explore and test their ideas, build a solid foundation of skills and experience and most importantly, try and fail and try again.
Emily’s work has raised the profile of entrepreneurship activity across the University, developing extra and co-curricular content in partnership with colleges and courses from all disciplines, as well as building strong links with the local start up community and initiating connections with international partners.
Emily has been shortlisted in the Rising Star in Enterprise Education category of the awards which is designed to recognise an exceptional individual at the early stage of their enterprise or entrepreneurship education or practice career in higher and further education.
The aim is to reward and celebrate those who have demonstrated an exceptional and inspirational commitment to supporting student and graduate entrepreneurship.
"I'm thrilled to have been nominated for this award” said Emily.
“I'm really proud of the work that we have done to build and develop the Student Startup programme over the past three years.
“Entrepreneurship education is an exciting field to be working in; developing entrepreneurial skills and competencies and the ability to find creative solutions to problems we encounter is more relevant now than ever as we look at the challenges facing us - to our environment, our communities and our economy.
“I am thankful to have the opportunity to work with such a talented network of students, colleagues and external partners and I’m excited to continue building our programme over the coming months and years."
Since joining the team Emily has developed and led a programme of support which has engaged well over 2,000 students and recent graduates.
The success of the programme has helped support the creation of the new curricular ‘With Proficiency In Entrepreneurship’ (WPIE) modules launched by the University of Exeter Business School in September 2019, enabling all students from all disciplines to take core entrepreneurship modules.
In 2018 Emily was awarded the “Best Employability Award” at the Annual Students’ Guild Teaching Awards, having been nominated by students for offering exceptional advice and support.
Emily is consistently looking for ways in which to innovate and evolve the support and resources available and to engage new participants. This includes growing the entrepreneurial support activity delivered at the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus and securing additional funding to create a full time Start Up support post.
During 2018, the Student Startup team developed “The Deck” – a dedicated space designed to support entrepreneurship education and venture creation. Emily has led the cultural development of the space, striking the balance between having an inclusive, open door policy while maintaining a focus on entrepreneurship activity and developing a space which despite being on campus, feels different from other University environments.
Most recently, Emily helped launch a new COVID-19 Startup Support Fund. The scheme, supported by Santander UK and Research England, gives graduate entrepreneurs the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £2,000 to support projects that respond to some of the challenges caused by the pandemic.
“In the 3 years that Emily has been the Student Startup Manager at the University of Exeter she has been able to demonstrate not only her skills as an entrepreneurship support provider, but most importantly, her ability to develop valuable partnerships with wide ranging stakeholders” said Joe Pearce, Head of Business Support (SETsquared), who nominated Emily for the award.
“Emily thoroughly deserves to be recognised for her work in helping students to take their first steps on an entrepreneurial path, and the success which so many of the ventures which she has helped to start is testament to Emily’s skills and the programmes she has developed.”
The overall winner will be announced at the Enterprise Educators UK online conference later this year.