December 12, 2023 | University Partners

Loughborough University Enterprise Network made more than £1.5million of investment in student and graduate businesses

Student and graduate-led businesses supported by Loughborough Enterprise Network (LEN) have gone on to secure £1.6million in funding during the 2022-2023 academic year.

The funding, which is entirely external to the University and made up from private equity, crowdfunding and grants, is one of several notable successes showcased in LEN's annual impact report released this month.

Achievements across the 2022-2023 academic year include:

  • 1,466 students taking part in extra-curricular enterprise activities including coaching, workshops and networking
  • 184 students applying for funding to develop skills and help launch their start-up
  • Allocation of over £82k in start-up funding to students and graduates
  • 50% increase in female students applying for funding.
  • Over 36 new businesses created through LUinc.
  • 330 people employed by student and graduate led businesses
  • LEN brings together a powerful support network across the University and beyond to help students, graduates and staff to develop enterprise and entrepreneurial skills and start, scale and grow new businesses.

LEN’s support spans several entrepreneurial spaces and facilities across Loughborough's East Midlands and London campuses. This includes the University’s business incubator, LUinc., based at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park, which brings together graduate and academic entrepreneurs with founders from across the region and beyond to create a rich and supportive start-up community. Other spaces include the Start-Up Lab in the University’s STEMLab, Future Space at Loughborough University London and the Careers and Enterprise Hub in Loughborough town centre.

LEN’s Impact Report highlights a range of thriving businesses which have originated from and been supported by the University; these include a recipe search engine designed to combat food waste, a mental health fitness platform that helps athletes reach their full potential, an innovative patented product designed to support children with learning and movement disabilities and a collapsible, lightweight neonatal incubator that has saved the lives of thousands of premature babies.

One of the businesses supported by LEN which was based in LUinc. is The Bug Factory, founded by Thomas Constant (Industrial Design and Technology, 2018). The Bug Factory manufactures eco-growing pods designed for people’s homes that harness insect power to recycle food waste and convert it into pet food and plant fertiliser.

Winner of the 22/23 Innovate UK Young Innovators Next Steps Award, which recognises trailblazing young entrepreneurs, The Bug Factory’s products are now available in stores across the UK and the US as well as internationally online. The business has recently set up its manufacturing facility in the East Midlands.

Professor Nick Jennings, Vice-Chancellor of Loughborough University, said: “Loughborough’s commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation is at the very heart of our mission to drive positive change and create better futures.

"Through LEN, we’re helping to develop a new generation of businesses that are improving lives, enhancing sustainability and creating jobs. To have reached £1.6million worth of funding and investment is testament to the hard work of our incredibly talented students and graduates, as well as the wider innovation community, including our alumni supporters and other business champions, who all play a key role in helping these businesses to flourish.”