DMU nominated for Outstanding Entrepreneurial University of the Year

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has been nominated for a national award for its work in developing an entrepreneurial mindset and fostering innovation.

The Times Higher Education (THE) Awards – also known as the ‘Oscars’ of higher education – recognize the very best work in teaching, research and knowledge sharing at UK universities.


DMU was nominated for Outstanding Entrepreneurial University of the Year, which recognizes universities that “have developed and delivered an exceptional approach to embedding entrepreneurship in their culture and programs.”

DMU’s focus on business is guided by its new Empowering University strategy, which is putting a number of new ideas into action in the 2020/21 academic year.

While Leicester remained in lockdown – the longest enforced Covid-19 shutdown of any UK city – DMU has expanded its program of events for students, SMEs and members of the public.

In order to further develop the entrepreneurial culture within the university, each of the four faculties has appointed a Faculty Enterprise Lead to coordinate knowledge-sharing activities and support interdisciplinary work. Regular training workshops have been conducted online to upskill academics who want to learn more about working with companies. Also, a new Knowledge Sharing and Professorship Pathway has been created to celebrate the breadth of expertise that knowledge sharing professionals bring to academia.

Helen Donnellan, PVC Regional Business and Innovation, said: “It is great news that DMU has been nominated for such a prestigious award.

“This nomination underscores the tremendous work that has gone into creating culture across DMU. It celebrates our ability to work together to help students develop entrepreneurial skills and start businesses, support our staff and alumni on their journey of innovation, and help startups and businesses in our community grow and thrive to be.

“Leicester is already known as a hotspot for entrepreneurs and this is national recognition of the DMU’s role in this area.”

DMU used its allocation from the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), awarded by the government, to enable activities that ultimately drive growth and support the economy.

The DMUworks Entrepreneurship team has significantly expanded student entrepreneurship offerings, creating new bootcamp courses, TEDx conferences, entrepreneur guest lectures, 1-1 sessions, and start-up schools.

Taken together, these programs have attracted hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students and their work resulted in DMU being named one of the top 10 UK universities for undergraduate and graduate start-ups in 2022.

Launching in October, the DMUmade Entrepreneurship program aims to support current students and recent graduates in developing entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial skills through a series of hands-on workshops.

Simon Baines, Team Manager of DMU Entrepreneurship said: “In these challenging times, our students and graduates can benefit from entrepreneurial skills, whether they want to start their own business or simply improve their employability by applying these skills in a job role .”

In addition, DMU’s start-up programme, The Crucible, was also nominated (and later won) for an award for its in-depth support for business start-ups, and DMU’s Leicester Castle Business School provided around 84 companies with free leadership and management skills and in the across town to help them grow their business.

The THE Jury shortlisted just six universities for the award, looking at the activities that took place between August 2020 and August 2021. DMU competes against the University of Central Lancashire, London School of Economics, London South Bank University, Robert Gordon University and the University of Strathclyde.

John Gill, editor of THE, said the awards will “reflect on universities doing extraordinary things in extraordinary times, when the pandemic continues to force higher education and all who work in it to respond to an unprecedented challenge.

“That the universities have done this with zeal and creativity is evident in the truly extraordinary stories told in the entries for the awards,” added Mr. Gil.

This year’s awards will once again be presented at the Hilton London Metropole on the evening of November 17th. The ceremony follows the two-day THE Campus Live UK & IE event taking place at the same venue.

Posted on Thursday September 1st, 2022

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