Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s main commercialisation service, provides free and personalised guidance, support, and resources for students and staff with entrepreneurial minds. Edinburgh Innovation’s newest facility, the Student Enterprise Hub, opened last week, aiming to increase students’ access to Edinburgh Innovations and further contribute to the achievement of their creative and genuine ideas.
The Student Enterprise Hub is located in Appleton Tower, right beside the entrance from Chapel Street, and is open from 9 am – 5 pm on weekdays. The Hub provides a hot-desking service for students whether they are thinking about opening, or are close to launching, a business. The usefulness of hot-desking, a practice where multiple people use a single desk for various projects, is widely debated. However, it can potentially provide a creative and competitive environment for its users through reflection on the idea of and close interaction with fellow entrepreneurs.
The Student Enterprise Hub will also give its users more straightforward access to Edinburgh Innovations and its wide range of facilities. These include personalised advising, specialised workshops, and networking events, and helping non-UK residents, who want to establish a business in the country, with their application for start-up visas. Additionally, Edinburgh Innovations offers multiple competitions, giving student entrepreneurs a chance to win not only funding but increased visibility of their projects.
Just in the 2018/19 academic year, students and staff of the University launched 60 enterprises. These include Augment Bionics, a business that creates prosthetics by using 3D printing technology, and Lilypads, a ‘pioneer’ in reusable sanitary products, which sets out to combat period poverty and contribute to the reduction of plastic waste. The Student Enterprise Hub makes the Enterprise Toolkit, a library of online resources, accessible to all University of Edinburgh students and staff. According to the Student Enterprise Hub website, this new facility would provide a more personal and interactive cooperation between students and advisers, complementing the existing support channels.
Just a few days before the Hub’s opening, the University of Edinburgh was shortlisted among the top six for the Outstanding Entrepreneurial University Award (also known as ‘The Oscars of Higher Education’), sponsored by the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE), an award that hundreds of institutions enter every academic year. The NCEE website claimed that the award is given to “an institution whose vision and strategy place enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation at the heart of the organization.”
Image: Edinburgh Innovations