QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 82 - Page 16

Business Innovation Zone helps new graduates step ahead T HE BUSINESS INNOVATION ZONE (BIZ) on campus is now a thriving hub of activity with eleven fledgling graduate businesses taking their first steps into the commercial world. The enterprises range from young drama companies and video production teams to sustainability measurement consultants and a music documentary producer. Based in the central atrium in the university, the aim of the BIZ is to support the development of entrepreneurial graduates by providing a nurturing, innovative environment and facilities that will help ease the pressures associated with getting young businesses off the ground. Aside from having an established base, reduced overheads and access to IT, QMU’s graduate companies can now access the services of Enterprise Campus, a collaboration between the Scottish Funding Council and Scotland’s 19 universities, which is located at the BIZ one day per week, as well as other external organisations such as Scottish Institute for Enterprise and Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. As QMU was the first University to have a Business Gateway incorporated into its campus, graduates can also tap into expertise from Gateway business advisers on a regular basis. QMU’s BIZ initiative responds to the increasing role of universities in making Scotland a world-leading entrepreneurial and enterprising nation. This aspiration is set out in both the Scottish Government’s Innovation Framework ‘Scotland Can Do’ and Universities Scotland’s cross-sector commitment and entrepreneurship action plan ‘Making it Happen’. Our strategy is to continue to embed enterprise deeper within the culture and curricula of QMU and increase the level of entrepreneurship support for students. BIZ users, Sam Sadler and Cordelia Toennies, have established a video production company which creates promotional videos and short films for a diverse range of clients including charities, hotel groups and theatre companies. The young entrepreneurs behind FilmMeThis are passionate about providing a personalised quality service which falls within clients’ budgets. The company also provides photography services thereby offering an all-round comprehensive visual service. Sam Sadler from FilmMeThis, explained: “With the rise in use of digital media, everyone now requires good quality video content to help communicate their main messages and stand out in the marketplace. There is big demand for video product services but there is also lots of competition to secure people’s business.” Sam continued: “We always knew we wanted to run our own business but it takes time to get established and to build a portfolio and clientele. Being part of the BIZ gives us space to breath. It offers us time to develop contacts and get our business properly established without being under pressure to pay significant running costs for premises. As part of our agreement with QMU, we continue to make an in-kind contribution to the University which helps keep us connected with staff and students.” Bawsoot Theatre company 18 QMYOU / Business Innovation Zone