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Gloucestershire Business News

University praised for its entrepreneurial excellence

Katy Duke, Head of Enterprise at the RAU with Levi Roots of Reggae Reggae Sauce, at the RAU campus in Cirencester

The Royal Agricultural University has been made a centre of excellence by the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs.

It is just the sixth university to be given the prestigious accreditation, and the first small specialist university to achieve the status.

The RAU was praised for leading-edge enterprise practice and for making the development of students' entrepreneurial skills a priority.

Enterprise education has been a crucial part of the University's teaching, particularly on courses offered by its School of Business and Entrepreneurship.

The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs' report highlighted RAU students being offered personal tutoring as well as benefiting from long-standing links to external experts and businesses.

Sarah Trouten, chief executive of the IOEE, said: "A true entrepreneurial spirit could be felt within the university.

"Staff and leaders all share the same desire to actively encourage students to grasp the enterprise opportunities on offer.

"Staff have worked hard to create this, building an eco-system of support for students and ensuring that those who want to go on to run their own business are given every opportunity to do so."

The RAU's extra-curricular Enterprise Programme has created in excess of50 successful businesses at the Cirencester campus.

One of its major success has been Cotswold Hills dry white wine - grown at its Down Ampney vineyard - is produced, marketed and sold commercially by the students themselves.

Each year the University hold a Dragons Den-style Grand Idea competition sees students pitch their business plans to an expert judging panel.

Past judges have included Levi Roots of Reggae Reggae Sauce and Julian Dunkerton, co-founder of Superdry.

Successful RAU entrepreneurs include Charlie Beldam, who produces Cotswold Gold Extra Virgin rapeseed oil at his farm in Broadway.

Last year's competition winner Alex Dunn created a farm safety app which helped her win the Farmers Weekly Agricultural Student of the Year title.

These achievements ensured that the RAU fully met all twelve of the accreditation criteria.

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