Entrepreneur First, a not-for-profit programme helping talented UK graduates create high-growth startup businesses, has announced that its 2012 Cohort has achieved a collective valuation of £15 million since getting together a year ago.
The news was delivered at a special networking event held in London's Guildhall Crypts, with Entrepreneur First also unveiling the 36 graduates that will make up the programme's 2013 intake.
Drawn from a range of leading UK higher education institutions, the graduates will undertake a six month idea development programme supported by Entrepreneur First mentors that will ultimately see them found their own companies - the class of 2012 went on to form 13 startups.
Kicking off last night's event with a keynote speech, Tech City Investment Organisation CEO Joanna Shields (pictured, top centre, with Entrepreneur First co-founders Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford) said that she hoped the Entrepreneur First graduates would be flying the flag for British innovation for years to come.
"Innovative programmes like Entrepreneur First are crucial in helping us achieve a shift in mentality in the UK. We need to be doing more to celebrate the talent, skills and courage of people who choose alternative routes to traditional careers, and who are reaping major rewards as a result. We need exemplars and proof that this is a hugely rewarding path to follow," she commented.
Shields continued: The Entrepreneur First classes of 2012 and 2013 are all imagining, starting and growing their businesses, being their own bosses and shaping their own futures. They are the best example of what can be achieved and I can't wait to see the products and services they launch. I wish them continued inspiration and warmly congratulate them on their success."
Entrepreneur First also confirmed that its summer 2013 programme will feature a new initiative, Code First: Girls, aimed at teaching female graduates coding skills to support their entrepreneurial development.
Alice Bentinck, co-founder and COO of Entrepreneur First, added: "We're delighted to share our 2012 graduate's success stories and unveil the 2013 Cohort alongside representatives from Tech City and our partners and sponsors. It's our goal that the UK's budding entrepreneurs and startups recognise that pursuing their business ideas is achievable."