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New Partnership to Help UWTSD Student and Graduate Start-ups Attract Investment


A new collaborative partnership between the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and Ship Shape, to help Universities and industry to identify potential business investors, has been announced.

The university is committed to developing the entrepreneurial and creative skills of its students and graduates as a key planning principle and such skills are embedded in our programmes.

Universities are key to a thriving economy as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.  UWTSD encourages the development of new inventions and knowledge, to add commercial, social, and cultural value to society. To further develop our ability to be a dynamic force within the Welsh (and beyond) eco-system, UWTSD has invested in Ship Shape, whose search tool finds funders for business founders. It is a clear need, and the expertise will extend our offer significantly to our students and graduates.

Dr Kathryn Penaluna, Associate Professor of at UWTSD said:

“We’re delighted to announce our partnership with Ship Shape which coincided with Global Entrepreneurship Week. Many great ideas are generated within our educational institutions and we’re ambitious that West and South Wales becomes an engine of Innovation centred around UWTSD.”

Co-founder and CEO of Ship Shape Daniel Sawko said:

“Empowering innovation has never been more important to our future and yet many potentially ground-breaking solutions still can’t find the right people in Venture Capital to help them grow. The strategic partnership with UWTSD is a real statement of intent from both of us. We’re ambitious about unlocking and commercialising the brilliant ideas all around the world, which could go much further with better access to the relevant Venture Capital investors.”

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) ranked UWTSD in 2019-2020 as:

#1 in UK for start-ups that are still active after 3-years.

#2 in the UK for total number of active firms.

#9 in UK for total number employed in graduate start-ups.

The university’s Institute for Sustainable Practice, Innovation, Research & Enterprise (INSPIRE) team sits behind much of the success. They offer a range of support for fledgling businesses, most of which are inspired by, and designed in collaboration with, these entrepreneurial alumni. Supported by Welsh Government and their Big Ideas Wales initiative, it is a powerful mix.

Within INSPIRE, the University’s International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development (IICED) is an acknowledged world leader in developing future-proof types of education that help learners to succeed.

Dr Penaluna added:

The demand for entrepreneurial skills in our graduates has never been stronger. Creative and critical thinking, flexibility to respond to challenges and opportunities, as well as understanding business and sustainability are key and help us to progress our learners’ careers in whichever field they may choose. An employee who understands the essence of a company is a very valuable employee indeed.”

Professor Ian Walsh, Provost of UWTSD Swansea and Cardiff campuses said:

“As one of the UK’s leading Universities of Enterprise, UWTSD’s vision is to build more of these innovative partnerships. We share Ship Shape’s mission of connecting great ideas to investment opportunities for the benefit of our graduates and the wider region.”