Fertile ground for new start-ups and budding entrepreneurs

From Bradford to Bahrain and back again – the Yorkshire University that means business

The University of Bradford is cementing its position as one of the UK’s leading centres for SMEs through a series of initiatives, one of which involves sending students to Bahrain to gain valuable business experience.

Vishanth Weerakkody, Deputy Dean of Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences said: “At the faculty, we support and empower aspiring entrepreneurs with innovative start-up ideas to realise their ambitions through access to mentoring, knowhow and resources.”

The University of Bradford ranks consistently high on national business rankings tables. It’s School of Management is part of an elite group of business schools worldwide with the triple-crown of accreditations – AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS.

Its annual Entrepreneurs Across Borders programme sponsors students to travel abroad and experience entrepreneurship activities. These included trips to businesses, lectures and pitching their own business idea.

Sankar Sivarajah, Head of School of Management said: “Here at the School of Management we provide some fantastic opportunities for international study tours.  We believe these can give our students a more informed global perspective, particularly in relation to understanding new international markets. Our Entrepreneurs Across Borders initiative is a great way for our students to make connections, increase cultural awareness, challenge stereotypes and gain unique innovation insight from different parts of the world.”

The School of Management, in partnership with Ahlia University (Bahrain) and Qatar University (Qatar), launched the initiative with the aim of integrating the theory and practice of transacting business in emerging markets. Both tours include a series of workshops, and visits to multinational organisations, social enterprises, startup/incubators, cultural visits, guest talks, and social activities with partner institution students and staff.

Alkestid Sterjo, 28, who will be going into his final year of a human resource management degree later this year, was among those who took part in the latest trip to Bahrain.

He said: “It was more than beneficial, it was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life and something I wanted to participate in even before I registered for Bradford. I knew they had this programme.

“The trip was well organised. We visited companies and were given insight into how they operated. We had entrepreneur and marketing modules at the University of Bahrain. At the end of the trip, we had to present our own business idea.”

Accounting and finance graduate Emmanuel Ale, 23, who is hoping to return next year to complete masters, travelled to Bahrain in February and said: “We were able to learn about different ways to get a business off the ground,” adding: “I made the right choice by coming to Bradford. It’s very business orientated.”

One entrepreneur who knows all about that is 24-year-old University of Bradford graduate Omar Bahadur, CEO & Founder of the new start-up Faraday Drinks Ltd, who has his sights set on disrupting the energy drink market with his innovative natural caffeinated flavoured water product.

He said: “Bradford is a diverse city and what you find when you go into business is just that: diversity. So, having a university here really prepares people to do well in that world. The University has done nothing but support me. I’m proud to be born in Bradford and to have attended its university. Business comes in all shapes, colours and sizes. Bradford is a city where anyone can become anything.”

The university has dedicated space in the Bright Building, with ‘innovation lab’ used for teaching and for the general public to use and work on their business ventures

Entrepreneurial modules are taught across the curriculum, including its flagship Career Booster programme, which gives students access to industry leaders and cutting edge skills.

A recent study conducted by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance revealed the highest-ranking university in the north was the University of Bradford, with one in eight (12.14%) of its students starting their own company or finding work in senior managerial roles upon finishing their degree. The university ranks 71st in the UK overall and at an impressive 19th in the study.

HCIF commissioned this study involving 9,544,010 former university students in the UK, using LinkedIn data of all the students with the university on their profile who have job titles associated with starting or running a business.

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