Heriot-Watt has been awarded a grant of £100,000 as part of Santander Universities' Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Fund.
The University will match fund the grant as part of the fund to bring the total to £200,000.
The money will be used to develop an 'Entrepreneurial Communities' programme. The aim of the project is to promote entrepreneurial thinking, help develop new businesses and provide access to training, conference facilities, workspaces and experts in various fields to communities across Scotland. The University is one of 15 institutions across the UK, including two in Scotland, to receive a grant from the fund, which was launched to celebrate Santander Universities' 10th anniversary in the UK.
The funding provided by Santander has been fundamental in helping us achieve our goal of connecting start-up businesses and entrepreneurs the skills they need for success.
Santander Universities Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Fund is a £1 million fund designed to support universities in delivering large-scale projects benefiting over 5,000 people directly and driving economic benefits across the UK.
Professor Richard A. Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at Heriot-Watt University, said: “To be one of only two universities in Scotland to receive this funding from Santander Universities is a great accomplishment. Heriot-Watt is investing significantly in innovation and entrepreneurship, and in 2019 will be opening our £19m Discovery and Innovation Centre to connect and inspire the next generation of digitally minded and equipped entrepreneurial leaders.
“This funding will allow us to not only help develop our entrepreneurial students, but will also allow us to provide training and support to the wider community. By using our campuses across Scotland we will be able to promote and create a culture of enterprising and entrepreneurial skills in locations where access to these types of services and programmes are usually out of reach. The funding provided by Santander has been fundamental in helping us achieve our goal of connecting start-up businesses and entrepreneurs the skills they need for success.”
The key objectives of the fund include helping to start, run or grow a business, developing and promoting entrepreneurial skills, culture and mindsets, championing innovation within businesses and delivering economic, social or employment benefits to the local and national economies.
In addition to business support, the programme aims to work towards the Scottish Government's 'Scotland Can Do' aspirations of creating a supportive business environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. The University will also share its international campuses to provide export opportunities for those involved.
Matt Hutnell, Director at Santander Universities, commented: “We are delighted to award this grant to Heriot-Watt University, which will not only develop entrepreneurial ambitions amongst students, but will also support and connect entrepreneurs and start-up businesses within communities across Scotland.”
Santander Universities was first created in Spain in 1996 by Emilio Botín, who recognised that Universities play an important role in society. He believed that Santander should support these institutions through the provision of scholarships, mobility awards, entrepreneurship funding and much more.
Santander Universities now has over 1,200 University partners spanning across 20 countries. In 2007, Santander Universities was launched in the UK and now has partnerships with over 80 Universities, providing over £10m of funding in 2017 to support university staff and students.