Gateshead College nominated for four national enterprise awards

Students and staff from Gateshead College have been shortlisted for four national awards by the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) – more than any other college or university.

The college’s enterprise society, Northern Stars, has been nominated for College Enterprise Society of the Year, Social Enterprise Society of the Year and the Network Builder Award at NACUE’s annual society awards. Vicki Hodgson, entrepreneurial activity manager at the college, has been nominated for the Staff Enterprise Champion Award.

Three finalists were selected for each category from 195 nominations. The winners will be announced at NACUE’s annual Society Awards Dinner on 25th April at Westminster Kingsway College in London.

The awards scheme rewards individuals and organisations that have helped students to demonstrate high levels of enterprise and entrepreneurialism in their work. Northern Stars was described in nominations as “professional, committed, tenacious and the epitome of what an enterprise society should be”.

Will Bywater, head of further education at NACUE, said: “We’ve been really impressed by the tireless work of the students and staff at Gateshead College this year. These awards recognise people who have gone above and beyond in promoting student-led enterprise, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Everyone involved has been a real pleasure to work with this year and we can’t wait to see what 2014/15 brings.”

For the Social Enterprise award, Northern Stars has been recognised for its work with Turnip & Go, a student-run business that sells locally sourced fruit and vegetables to staff and students at college campuses. The business donates 10% of its profits to the Gateshead College Foundation, an independent charity that helps people develop the skills they need to secure meaningful employment.

Several other businesses have emerged from Northern Stars, including Mixr, a student enterprise that produces fun, taste-bud-tempting mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails). Last year the company was awarded £500 of funding from the FE pioneers programme, a business support scheme that helps new start-ups to get off the ground, and was praised by serial entrepreneur Doug Richard during a visit to the college in November.

Judith Doyle, principal at Gateshead College, said: “It’s fantastic that our staff and students have been recognised by such a well-established national organisation; they’ve worked extremely hard to make a significant impact in the college within a short space of time. The enterprise society is part of our wider strategy at Gateshead College to give our students the best chance of success in the jobs market, developing their skills and confidence so they can launch their own ventures or gain skilled employment within an established business.”

Gateshead College is a founder of the Gazelle Colleges Group, which is leading the initiative to foster a new generation of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial thinkers who can add value to communities, bring innovation to existing businesses and who can create their own employment with confidence and ambition.