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12 April, 2013 - 08:24 By News Desk

Cambridge technology alumni ignite economy

Yupar Myint, Ignite programme director

Technology ventures sparked by alumni of a Cambridge University summer school for entrepreneurs have provided a jobs and GDP boom for the economy, new figures have revealed.

Participants at the Ignite programme managed and delivered by the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL) have created £120 million in revenue, more than 2,000 jobs and raised £35m in investments in the last two years.

On top of that, £50m was achieved through company exits involving Ignite alumni companies.

It’s a massive endorsement for a programme that has been running for more than 10 years in the UK and Europe’s innovation capital.

Yupar Myint, Ignite programme director, said: “These figures are exciting and confirm the value of the programme. Despite tough conditions, these entrepreneurs have managed to create highly successful ventures which have had a tangible economic impact.

“It’s certainly gratifying for us as educators to see the way the skills and confidence gained by participants through Ignite has enabled them to make great strides with their business ideas and, in many cases, achieve great commercial success.” Ignite attracts a diverse range of projects which can be broadly categorised as being from the hi-tech or life sciences sectors. Chris Muktar attended Ignite in 2009 and is the co-founder of WikiJob.co.uk, the largest graduate careers site in the UK. WikiJob.co.uk uses social media to break down barriers between candidates and employers.

He said: “I had no previous business training and needed a more rigorous grounding to develop my first enterprise. Ignite was instrumental in developing my venture successfully.

“The experience taught me to develop realistic business goals that can be implemented and to plan ahead with cashflow and capital forecasts. I came away with a much better grasp of business planning, particularly in terms of building a quantified picture of future aims and outcomes.” And Rob Walden, business development director of POD Point, an innovative UK company that specialises in all aspects of electric vehicle charging, added: “I was lucky enough to attend Ignite in 2005 as a delegate sponsored by Marshall Aerospace my then employer.

“What I learned was of great value to me in establishing new business streams at Marshall and in doing a wide range of international business development within the company.

“In late 2010, I joined POD Point as their fifth team member. POD Point was founded by two Ignite alumni and I was the third to join. Many of the skills that I acquired at Ignite were really useful in building POD Point and have remained useful as we’ve grown and entered our 4th year of business.”

The next Ignite programme runs from July 7-12. If you are interested in attending, CfEL advises that you sign up soon as there are now limited places available.

To secure your place(s) and to take advantage of a five per cent discount on the fee, you should book by the end of April. Discount rates are only available for those who book early and make full payment up front. For further information and to apply, visit the web site: http://www.cfel.jbs.cam.ac.uk/programmes/ignite/

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