UWE Bristol & ISU Tbilisi Round Up First Entrepreneurship Boot Camps

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and Ilia State University (ISU) have completed the first series of Entrepreneurship Boot Camps at Ilia State University. The program has been developed following a successful collaborative bid by UWE and ISU to the British Council, under the Creative Spark initiative.

The program was developed through the Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, based at the UWE Bristol Business School. The sessions focused on the skills needed and challenges faced whilst starting or developing a business and were delivered by Director of the Aldridge Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Professor Gurpreet Jagpal, Senior Lecturer in Business Management Paul Hinchcliffe, who lived and worked in Georgia for 5 years, and Lecturer in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Lauren Davies. The small group activities were designed to bring together students from different areas of study to highlight the wide range of skills that are needed in business start-up and development.

The initiative attracted almost 200 students from a range of subject areas across ISU and a number of students used the knowledge gained through the program to enter the British Council’s Creative Spark Big Idea Challenge, a pitching competition aimed at entrepreneurial students from across the seven partner countries involved in the Creative Spark program. A team of students from Ilia State University were successful in the country level final of the competition and will now represent Georgia in the global final which takes place in the UK in September.

“We’ve really enjoyed working with ISU’s faculty and students to support the development of enterprise and entrepreneurship,” Jagpal said. “With support from the British Council Creative Spark Partnership we have managed to accelerate the development and growth of an entrepreneurial ecosystem across Ilia State University and beyond and we look forward to this partnership growing.”

In addition to support for entrepreneurial students the project provided an opportunity for professional services staff from ISU to visit entrepreneurial incubators across Bristol and London and professional development training for academic and senior leadership staff on academic entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial teaching and entrepreneurial leadership. The entire project was co-ordinated by the Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at UWE Bristol and a team of professional services staff at Ilia State University, including Head of the Development Office Ketevan Darakhvelidze and Patent and Licensing Associate Teona Bebia.

Bebia said that the partnership had kickstarted students’ confidence, ambition and drive.

“After the session, students became more motivated and our courses helped them to make them believe in themselves and not to be afraid of challenges that they will face on the risky entrepreneurial pathway.

“The partnership delivered several entrepreneurship-oriented programs that guided our students through the business start-up journey and equipped them with skills in business planning, ideation and pitching. Moreover, the partnership has had a positive impact on our students and academics that will gradually help to refine and improve our entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Bristol and Tbilisi have been twinned cities since 1988 and this initiative has followed on from the Bristol Business Conference, which was held in Tbilisi in September 2018, coordinated by the Bristol Twinning Association and supported by TBC Bank plc. The conference saw a group of business professionals from Bristol visiting Tbilisi to explore ways of developing business initiatives between the two cities.

UWE Bristol and ISU look forward to developing further collaborative initiatives in the future. If you would like more information or to become involved with business plans and ideas please contact aldridgeinstitute@uwe.ac.uk.

Image source: UWE

12 August 2019 16:02