University of Hertfordshire welcomes Entrepreneurs in Residence
31 March 2023
The University of Hertfordshire is delighted to welcome two Entrepreneurs in Residence (EiRs), as part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen opportunities for students and staff to work and partner with industry.
The University of Hertfordshire is delighted to welcome two Entrepreneurs in Residence (EiR), as part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen opportunities for students and staff to work and partner with industryThe EiRs, Raphael Sofoluke and Suzanne Meenan, have both been officially appointed and have begun contributing to various university programmes, including providing expert advice and support to students, staff and SMEs, and contributing to knowledge-exchange projects.
The first to be appointed was Raphael Sofoluke, who graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a joint honours in Business and Law in 2013, and founded the UK Black Business Show in 2017. He was listed as one of Forbes 25 Leading Black British Business People to Follow in 2020. Raphael is also a renowned activist, driving diversity and inclusion within the business sector.
Over the next year he will bring his knowledge of the business world and entrepreneurial skills to students: acting as a one-to-one mentor; giving seminars on entrepreneurial thinking; and helping to deliver a business incubator scheme.
Sofoluke said: “I'm really excited and proud to be appointed an Entrepreneur in Residence at University of Hertfordshire. I spent a number of crucial years of my life here, and to be back to support other students on their entrepreneurial journey really excites me.”
The second entrepreneur to be appointed is Biotech business advisor Suzanne Meenan who has a background in R&D and has held commercial roles at Roche, GlaxoSmithKline and NHS England, as well as running her own consultancy, Suzanne Meenan Consulting. Her two-year placement has been funded through the Royal Society’s Entrepreneurs in Residence programme, which provides opportunities for experienced industry experts to spend one day a week at a UK university developing a bespoke project.
Suzanne will also be mentoring students and academic staff, as well as delivering masterclasses; evaluating entries for entrepreneurship awards; and supporting the delivery of Herts Healthcare Accelerator programme.
“Having worked across the bio-pharmaceutical industry and some of its interfaces with the NHS, I hope to give researchers and entrepreneurs a depth of understanding that will enable them to develop their innovations with a focus on commercialisation right from the start,” said Meenan.
The EiRs roles and accompanying activities, are the latest addition to the university’s Enterprise Zone’s provision, where collaborations between academia and industry create opportunities for innovation and growth. This proactive approach to knowledge exchange has provided businesses with over £1.7million worth of expertise and support since it was launched in 2019, resulting in a number of impressive outputs, including supporting over 300 SMEs during the last year alone and inspiring 226 students and alumni to launch their own start-ups during the last three years.
“We are thrilled to welcome Raphael and Suzanne as ‘Entrepreneurs in Residence’, they each bring incredible expertise and will be critical to the programmes they will be involved in, acting as role models for our students and ensuring we remain fully connected to industry. EiRs are key to helping Universities stay up to date with industry-relevant and cutting-edge science, research and innovation,” said Yanina Aubrey-Gimenez, Head of Business Growth and Entrepreneurship.
“By offering advice on entrepreneurial activities as well as knowledge of their commercial fields, these individuals will nurture connections between our talented student and staff body and industry organisations, so we can ensure they reach their full potential.”
Find out more about The Royal Society’s Entrepreneurs in Residence scheme.