Prue Leith helps celebrate improved Business Gateway and start-up support facilities at QMU

By Press Office

The entrepreneur and TV personality, Prue Leith CBE joined Queen Margaret University (QMU) and East Lothian Council representatives to celebrate the newly upgraded business facilities at the University.

Prue, who is the QMU’s Chancellor, was pleased to attend the celebratory reception which marked improvements to the University’s Business Innovation Zone and East Lothian Council’s Business Gateway.

The Chancellor, who is a highly successful entrepreneur herself, is keen to support the University and the Council in encouraging students to view entrepreneurship as a first destination career choice. She is also eager to ensure that students and business people in the Lothians are aware of the excellent support services offered by East Lothian Council’s Business Gateway and its upgraded facilities.

In 2012, QMU became the first University in Scotland with a Business Gateway on campus. The service has been used extensively by students who are thinking about starting their own companies, as well as people from the Lothians who are looking for business advice, financial and development information, and training, Recently, the Business Gateway service has gone through a refurbishment in a bid to create an improved environment for people using its services. Importantly, the Business Gateway has installed a new sound proofed glass meeting pod, within the Business Innovation Zone, to protect the confidentiality of meeting exchanges between business people and the Gateway advisor.

Miriam Smith, Business Development Manager at Queen Margaret University, said: “East Lothian Council’s Business Gateway and the Business Innovation Zone at QMU, together provide easily accessible information for entrepreneurial students and graduates considering starting up their own businesses, as well as offering advice for new start-ups and established local businesses.

“QMU now has 28 student and graduate start-ups companies based out of its Business Innovation Zone, as well as a further 15 in the pipeline. These include video production companies and theatre companies, to food and drink business and speech & language start ups. Each company can benefit from free meeting and desk space, which removes the need to hire office accommodation. They also have access to funding competitions, specialist equipment, and university expertise, as well as the excellent services of the East Lothian Business Gateway.  

Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s Provost, and spokesperson for Economic Development, said: “The partnership between the council and QMU is going from strength to strength and continues to provide a strong link between school pupils, university students and our business community. Encouraging these links and promoting entrepreneurial start-ups through Business Gateway helps East Lothian Council achieve its aim of building a strong economy and making East Lothian the best place in Scotland in which to live, work and do business. The new soundproofed Business Gateway meeting space will, I’m sure, encourage even more people with start-up ideas or those looking for support to grow their existing businesses to come and get some invaluable advice.”

On the 13th February, Prue was joined by QMU staff and students, East Lothian’s Provost and East Lothian Council’s Business Gateway team in celebrating the improved Business Innovation Zone and Business Gateway space. Prue confirmed: “It is essential for our local and national economy, as well as our competitiveness in the global market place, that we encourage and support more entrepreneurs in starting new businesses and developing existing ones. I am proud that QMU is playing its part in fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst this student community, and is working in partnership with East Lothian Council to improve the businesses service to start-ups and established businesses within the Lothians.”

Miriam Smith concluded: “This innovative partnership between QMU and East Lothian Council exemplifies our joint commitment to supporting the Scottish Government’s ambition for Scotland to become a world leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation.”




Notes to Editor


Business Gateway facts

 Since the launch of the Business Gateway service in 2012 the team has held over 1000 startup meetings on site at QMU.  As a direct result of these meetings 370 new businesses have been created.

East Lothian Council’s Business Gateway

The Business Gateway Service is situated at Queen Margaret University within the Business Innovation Zone, on level 1 overlooking the 1875 restaurant.

 Prue Leith CBE

The TV personality has an impressive track record as an entrepreneur, having successfully built a catering business from scratch in the 1960s which grew to become Leith’s Good Food, the party and event caterer. In 1969, she opened Leith’s, her famous Michelin starred restaurant, and, in 1975, founded Leith’s School of Food and Wine which trains professional chefs and amateur cooks. Today, Leith’s has catering contracts at the most prestigious venues, including at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC)

Her skills as a businesswoman and her concern with the need for more women at the top of industry, the City and public life led to her appointment as a non-executive director of many top organisations such as British Rail, Safeway, Whitbread, and Belmond (formerly Orient Express) hotels.


For further media information contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University, E: T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239, or Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, T: 0131 474 0000. 

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