A NEW centre aimed at developing the entrepreneurs of the future has been opened by a Lothian college.
The Nuclei business support unit at Jewel and Esk College will provide a home for up to ten new student companies, and can also offer space to ten local companies at any one time.
Each student using the centre has their own “incubator unit” with a computer, internet access and telephone, while money generated from rent will be reinvested back into the facilities.
The driving force behind the specialist unit, which opened as part of the college’s Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship last week, is Sharon McAllister, a former competitor on The Apprentice who made it to the show’s later stages in series two.
Ms McAllister, now head of the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at the college, said: “The hope is that the new facility will act as a stepping stone to enable young entrepreneurs to develop their aspirations, as well as their business strategies, and encourage them on the path to long-term commercial success.
“Renting space to local businesses will also provide a steady funding stream for the college, which will be reinvested in the new centre to help continue to support students and their growing ideas.”
The centre’s name, Nuclei, was chosen by Jewel and Esk Creative Industries student Ann Harrison, whose idea was selected out of 40 entrants. She is in the process of developing a digital design studio with her business partner, Rachel McFarlane, and is working from one of the new units at the centre.
She said: “The growth, energy and nourishment of a cell come from the nucleus – ultimately, it is the beginning of everything. In business, an idea needs to start from somewhere and to make it a success – the idea needs to be nurtured and developed.
“The new Nuclei centre gives me, and other budding entrepreneurs, the chance to grow and nurture our business ideas. We’re all very excited about the opportunity.”
Among the new student businesses making Nuclei their entrepreneurial home are a vintage clothing company and a sports management agency, as well as wedding planning and car cleaning businesses.
The students will receive free business advice from entrepreneurs who will lead a series of business masterclasses at the centre.
These include Andrew Russell, owner and sales director of luxury toiletries manufacturer Arran Aromatics, and David Wightman, an experienced technologist.
Those using the new centre will also be assisted by other Jewel and Esk students in areas including marketing and website development.
Space at Nuclei will be provided free of charge to Jewel and Esk students. Private companies can rent a pod in the centre from £150 per month.
To rent a pod in the centre, call 0131-344 7000 or e-mail DGerrard@jec.ac.uk.