RGU drives economic growth through entrepreneurship

Economic Transformation in our Nation

Universities have a strong culture of delivery which aligns closely with the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation. We’ve curated a set of 19 stories to show how universities support people, businesses, industries and Scotland’s regions towards economic transformation.

A whole-institution strategic focus on enterprise

Entrepreneurship and innovation have increasingly become a prominent aspect of Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) strategic direction and now sit at the heart of its mission to transform people and communities by contributing to social, cultural and economic development. This approach proactively contributes to Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

Robert Gordon University prides itself on facilitating creativity, curiosity and new thinking so that its students are equipped with the wide-ranging skills required to prosper and drive economic growth. This includes cultivating an entrepreneurial and creative mindset in every student and encouraging entrepreneurship as a career choice. The University’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group (EIG), established in 2018, works across the University to achieve this, embedding a pioneering mindset throughout the curriculum and in extra-curricular provision.

RGU has always taken innovative approaches to supporting entrepreneurship, including the launch in 2018 of the University’s first Startup Accelerator programme which has, to-date, supported the creation of 98 business ventures. Initially funded through the Wood Foundation and aimed at students, staff and graduates of RGU, the most recent accelerator programme was open to all budding entrepreneurs across the region – and welcomed 36 startup teams. It was supported by the Scottish Government North East Economic Recovery and Skills Fund and by Opportunity North East. The fifth cohort commenced in January 2023.

The University’s support for entrepreneurship is being further enhanced through the development of ‘RGU+’ in 2023. RGU+ is a credit-bearing ‘beyond the classroom’ programme, which will enable all students to access transformative experiences including volunteering, community and public service and work placement opportunities. This development aims to maximise the breadth of students’ career opportunities.

RGU’s commitment to enterprise and innovation goes beyond it’s undergraduate students and includes a range of other initiatives including:

Creative Entrepreneurship masters level programme which offers bespoke business support to early-stage creative entrepreneurs across Scotland to help them grow sustainable creative businesses. Since starting in 2019, the programme has supported 120 early-stage businesses.

The Women in Business and Sustainable Futures enterprise programmes, in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council, which support budding innovators and SMEs across Aberdeenshire to develop sustainable and resilient business practices.

An Entrepreneurship Summer School which is open to any recent Scottish university graduate living in the North East. Comprising a 10-day interactive workshop, the Summer School is designed to guide people looking to enhance their entrepreneurial skills, validate their business ideas and get practical insight into the steps to starting a business.

In 2020 and again in 2022, RGU was a finalist in the Times Higher Education (THE) Outstanding Entrepreneurial University Award.

Key Points:

National Strategy for Economic Transformation theme: Entreprenurial people and culture

Institution: Robert Gordon University

Location: Aberdeen

  • RGU’s Start-Up Accelerator has supported the creation of 98 business ventures.
  • The Creative Entrepreneurship Masters programme has supported 120 early-stage businesses since 2019.