Start a business and achieve an honours degree in just two years at the University of Buckingham

From mid January 2010 you could be studying for an honours degree in Business Enterprise and starting a business on the innovative BSc Business Enterprise (BBE) honours degree programme at the University of Buckingham Business School.

This is a two year (8 terms) undergraduate programme, during which you would have the opportunity to establish and run your own business, as an integral part of your honours degree. See http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/business/bbe/

The first cohort of students started in January 2006 and as the University of Buckingham works for 4 terms each year, they completed their studies in December 2007. Three more cohorts have studied on the programme and you would be one of the fifth cohort starting in January 2010.

Details of the programme
In the first two terms you would study a range of business subjects, including Marketing, Accounting and Business Planning, plus Entrepreneurship and Innovation. You then prepare and submit your business plan by mid May and must “pitch” your business idea in front of the “Buckingham Angels” venture capital panel at the end of May 2010.

If your business plan and “pitch” are successful and you also pass your first examinations, held at the end of the second term, your company is provided with “seed-corn” capital of up to £5000 to enable you to establish and operate your businesses.

In the following 18 months you would run your business, whilst also continuing to study a wide range of business enterprise subjects. You are supported by academic staff and are mentored throughout by experienced entrepreneurs.

At the end of the programme, graduates whose businesses are becoming successful have the opportunity to buy them from the university, at a reasonable cost and continue their development. For examples of the types of businesses being developed by BBE students, see here.

Maintaining academic quality
Although the programme involves practical work, academic rigour is vital to ensure that the quality of the honours degrees awarded is maintained. In addition to the study of traditional Business School subjects, other activities are included, such as learning about working with customers, partners, suppliers, bankers, accountants, government organisations and venture capital providers.

Experience in running the programme has shown us that it is essential to involve external entrepreneurs (including Penny and Thomas Power) and business people with the students throughout the two years. This means that the entrepreneurs not only make interactive presentations to the students, but are also available to them as long-term mentors.(e.g Mike Southon)

Types of businesses operated by Business Enterprise students
When the programme started, the first businesses operated by the students were events companies and websites. More recently students have established companies that promote environmental sustainability (Podnik Ltd) and offer digital signage solutions to small and medium size companies (Idigi Frame Media Ltd).

The next opportunity to join the programme is in January 2010
As this is a niche programme, requiring a large amount of academic and mentor input, it would not be possible to offer places to a large number of students. We therefore restrict the maximum number accepted to about 20 students over the two years of the programme. We do, however, welcome mature students, who find Buckingham an excellent place to study and to start their business.

The next intake of students is in mid January 2010 and places are still available, so if you are interested in running your own business, getting the finance to operate it and also achieving an honours degree, please contact me.

Author: Professor Nigel Adams

Nigel is a Professor & the first Director of the Buckingham Enterprise & Innovation Unit (http://www.beiu.co.uk) part of the Vinson Centre (http://www.vinsoncentre.com) at the University of Buckingham He also teaches, advises and mentors undergraduate students taking the innovative two year (8 term) BSc in Business Enterprise (http://bit.ly/bbe_home1) and post-graduate students taking the MSc in Entrepreneurial Consultancy in Practice (MECP) Programme (http://bit.ly/mecp_home). This masters programme develops business consultants who are able to advise business owners how to successfully grow their businesses. BBE one of only a few similar honours degree programmes in the world which offer undergraduate students the opportunity to study for a degree in Business Enterprise, whilst also starting & developing a business. These types of degree are called Venture Creation Programmes (www.vcplist.com) , Within 4 months of starting the programme students must pitch for seed-corn capital from "Buckingham Angels". Nigel also teaches Entrepreneurship to other students at the University of Buckingham and advises and mentors university students and staff and local people who want to start business or grow their businesses. Between 2002 and 2011, Nigel was Managing Director of Nigel Adams & Company Ltd, providing business, management, international marketing, recruitment and other support and advice to the management of Western companies to help them establish business operations in Central & Eastern Europe & to improve their sales. Nigel is an experienced international business adviser with more than 40 years experience in business, enterprise, management, marketing & counter-trade. He was based in Poland from 1993 until 2002, working on Polish state company restructuring projects as a British Government Know How Fund Management Adviser. Nigel is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) & a Chartered Marketer.