The Business Gateway and Business Innovation Zone at Queen Margaret University
East Lothian Council’ s Business Gateway and the Business Innovation Zone at Queen Margaret University, together provide easily accessible information for entrepreneurial students and graduates who may be considering starting up their own businesses, as well as advice for new start-ups and established local businesses. The service launched on 24 September 2012.
What is the Business Gateway?
The Business Gateway is a Scotland-wide service, provided by a partnership of Scottish Local Authorities, Enterprise Agencies and the Scottish Government, which offers free and impartial advice and support to small business start-ups. QMU is the first Scottish university to host a Business Gateway office. The Office is managed by East Lothian Council.
This innovative partnership exemplifies QMU’s commitment to supporting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and to assisting entrepreneurial students and graduates considering setting up their own businesses.
Who can use the service?
The service is a one-stop-shop open to any individual or small business including QMU’s students and graduates. The Business Gateway offers one-to-one advice and free workshops and seminars. The service is staffed 3 days a week on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In addition a representative from Youth Business Scotland, part of the Prince’s Trust is available to give advice on a Monday
Where is the Business Gateway situated?
The Business Gateway Service is situated on campus within a new Business Innovation Zone, on the previously under-utilised glass bridge between the staff offices and the LRC.
The Business Innovation Zone incorporates new business incubation space. This means that QMU can offer accommodation and other facilities to small business start-ups including QMU graduates who are setting up their own business.
Who do I contact for more information?
If you would like help from the Business Gateway, visit their website at www.bgateway.com or call their central helpline on 0845 609 6611. If you are interested in gaining more information on Youth Business Scotland please visit their website www.psybt.org.uk.
If you are a student, your programme leader may also be a good source of advice on setting up your own business.
If you are interested in business incubation space within the Business Innovation Zone, contact Miriam Smith, Business Development Executive (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Student View
“Having the Business Innovation Zone right here on campus presents a fantastic opportunity for QMU students to develop their entrepreneurial skills. The support and guidance of the East Lothian Council Business Gateway and the involvement of Youth Business Scotland will help students and graduates of QMU to start up businesses and to make sure that the ideas they conceive during their studies can reach their full potential. We’re excited by this new development and hope that students and the local community take full advantage of t his service.”
Michael Breckenridge, QMU’s Student President
One of the first fledgling companies to be supported by QMU’s new Business Innovation Zone is Raw Film Productions. The corporate video and documentary production company, which is still in its first year of operation, is run by Agata Jagodzinska, a QMU media graduate and recent BAFTA award winner. Agata runs Rawfilm Productions with business partner Michael Grant, also a QMU Film and Media graduate.
Agata said: “It’s really tough to get a new company up and running in the current climate. To be provided with start-up space at the University helps to provide a solid base for us to develop our business. It relieves the pressure and allows us to concentrate on developing new leads and securing contracts for our new company. It is providing us with a tremendous start to our careers and we couldn’t be more grateful for the support. We are also looking forward to tapping into the help and advice which will soon be on offer from Business Gateway.”
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