Chairman's Year End Review

The Coventry University Entrepreneurs (CUE) continues to go from strength to strength, demonstrating its adaptability, longevity and sustainability. Over the past five years since its inception, it has rapidly evolved into a multidimensional and professional organisation, whilst maintaining its raw entrepreneurial and student-inspired nature.

Competitions : The flagship £50K and £1K competitions continue to be strengthened and there is an ever-growing stream of high quality entries with an increasingly direct link to the research base at the University. Further, in response to a growing global trend and a need to address a significant niche, these two competitions are now complemented by the 3P (People, Planet and Productivity) competition for socially responsible entrepreneurship. This takes the total prize fund to a record £100,000.

Alliances : At an institutional level, the alliances with other initiatives and bodies across the University have continued to be strengthened and CUE is now positioned as an indispensable and pivotal player in a broader ‘entrepreneurial value chain’, enabling it to offer its members an endless array of opportunities.

Brand and participation : The CUE brand has become a very strong one, widely recognised within the University as well as the local business community. This has both led to, and been driven by, increased involvement of high calibre individuals, businesses and organisations as speakers, mentors, judges, sponsors, entrants and beyond.

Community : Past efforts and investments have finally started to pay off with frequent news of great successes by alumni. As these individuals and their companies link back to CUE in order to support the new generation of participants, we begin to witness the emergence of a unique community of University entrepreneurs.

International : The inevitable ‘global expansion’ of CUE, using a strong home base as a launching pad, has dramatically accelerated this year. Working with the MIT $50K competition, CUE hosted the world’s foremost conference on business plan competitions – the Global Start-up Workshop (GSW) - welcoming over 200 delegates from over 35 countries. With its role as a leading organisation firmly established, CUE has gone on to spearhead the formation of a UK-wide network of business plan competitions, as well as a much larger global network. This has been paralleled by the development of ‘sparkPLUG’, a consulting division that helps other universities and regions to establish business plan competitions and the relevant infrastructure.

CUE is, in many ways, one of its own greatest success stories and there are many who have a stake in this success and who must be thanked for their continued support of this important society. Included are members of the steering committee, university staff, sponsors, speakers, mentors and entrants. Not least, there are the student volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year.

With so many exciting projects in development, and with an enthusiastic and dedicated organising team about to take the reins, the future of entrepreneurship in Coventry has never looked brighter.