HR · 15 November 2017

Research centres combine to create a powerhouse for entrepreneurial training

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The entity will be funded by LetterOne – the international arm of Russia’s Alfa Group

The Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) and the New Entrepreneurs Foundation (NEF) have joined forces to create a new “entrepreneurial powerhouse”, tackling issues which hold back the wider take up of entrepreneurship across Britain.

The aim of the newly created not-for-profit will be to develop entrepreneurial skills, deliver research projects, and commission campaigns and development programmes to increase levels of UK entrepreneurship.

The combined entity will look to train the next UK generation of entrepreneurial talent, and encourage aspiring startup founders to realise their potential.

Through its research, it will identify gaps in current entrepreneurial training provisions, and bring together bodies to implement ways to address these gaps.

Creation of the new combined entity has been funded by LetterOne – the international arm of Alfa Group – one of Russia’s largest investment firms. The group’s founder, Mikhail Fridman, will donate nearly £1m over a three-year period to help get the new organisation up and running.

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Launched in 2011, the NEF is a charity with the aim of developing young entrepreneurial leaders. Since it began, almost 200 young entrepreneurs have completed its training programme. Some 92 have gone on top launch new businesses, raised £27m in funding, and created over 1,000 new jobs.

Meanwhile, the CFE was launched in 2013 as the UK’s think tank for entrepreneurship. It will continue to promote the role of entrepreneurs in creating economic growth and social cohesion.

The CFE works mainly through its so-called “Founders Club” and best practice networks, including the Prison Entrepreneurship Network and the Incubator and Accelerator Network.

Welcoming the merge, Neeta Patel, the current CEO of the NEF, who’ll head up the new joint body, said: “By combining our expertise – in NEF and CFE – as a leader in entrepreneurial training and socio-economic research – we are well placed to more actively champion, support and develop the economic and social case for entrepreneurship in the UK.”

“We want to encourage more people, particularly women and students, to see entrepreneurialism as a natural career choice and enable them to realise their potential and start businesses.

Commenting on the announcement, CFE founder Luke Johnson added: “Together, we will have the scale to undertake research, campaigns and programmes to tackle some of the long-term challenges holding back entrepreneurship in Britain.”

“The UK has a strong track record of entrepreneurial achievement. In the past decade alone, the country has broken all previous records in terms of company formation and is well ahead of its peer economies. Yet, we believe it can go further.”

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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