National Award for University Entrepreneurship


The University of Leeds has won The Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship.

Announced at the 2015 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards on 10 November, the award recognises the University’s role in encouraging and enabling student entrepreneurship and supporting high growth small businesses in the region. 

The ceremony highlighted the University’s efforts in delivering support for entrepreneurial students across all subject areas, as well as the significant impact of support and advice for student start-ups and alumni entrepreneurs.

The Duke of York Award is one of many honours and awards the University has been nominated for this year for its enterprise initiatives.

Professor Nigel Lockett, Director of Enterprise Learning, said: "This recognises our focus on helping our students and graduates gain the funding and skills needed to start their own business, boost their employability or become entrepreneurial leaders of the future.

“Winning the Duke of York Award is testament to years of hard work providing Leeds students and graduates with exceptional enterprise education, support and opportunities.”

The University’s dedicated Centre of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies has encouraged every subject to integrate enterprise, with over 1,200 students across all Faculties undertaking enterprise electives this year. 

The student start-up service, Spark, also provides a dedicated team to support students and graduates up to seven years after graduation with support in setting up and running a business. 

Professor Lockett added: “We really want to get the message through that enterprise at Leeds isn’t just for business students. With our ‘Spark’ being homed within the University’s Careers Service, this creates a clear message to all our students that enterprise is for all.”

The extensive network of alumni and other supporters also fuels cross-campus provision, offering support to the next generation of entrepreneurial Leeds students with funding, mentoring and work experiences. 

This has included securing donor support for student and graduate entrepreneurship for the next five years, as well as a new ‘InTechnology Enterprise Incubator’ which is already home for 37 early-stage start‐up businesses.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, opened proceedings at the ceremony with a message for this year’s finalists. 

He told the audience: “I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you on behalf of the whole country, for all that you’re doing to create jobs and growth in Britain.

“Tonight we celebrate all that you’re doing, from your leadership in digital and innovation, to the Duke of York’s new award for University Entrepreneurship, these awards are rightly the Oscars of great British business.

“The awards recognise people who have the guts to strike out on their own, who have the tenacity to work hard for every deal and who have the innovation and vision that lets you grow your business and take new people on.

“Its people like you who are making this the most entrepreneurial and dynamic period in our country’s recent history. So thank you again for all you’re doing.”

The University’s sector‐leading approach was also praised last year by Lord Young, an adviser to the Prime Minister on small business and enterprise. 

Lord Young said: “I welcome the leadership of the University of Leeds in this area and the approach they have adopted to market and embed ‘enterprise’ in the name and content of subject specific courses from Biotechnology to Fashion Design.”

The University has also been shortlisted for ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the 2015 Times Higher Education awards at the end of November. 

Earlier this year, in September, Kairen Skelley, head of Spark, was also named as the Higher Education Enterprise Champion at the National Enterprise Educator Awards.

In addition, Kairen was one of four individuals to be nominated as an Enterprise Support Champion at a House of Lords event in November, organised by the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs and the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative.

Further information

For further information, please contact the University of Leeds Press Office on 0113 343 4031 or email

The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards is now in its 14th year and is a flagship awards programme that recognises and rewards excellence across all sectors.