London Venture Crawl: students meet top entrepreneurs as part of 12-hour city tour

Loughborough University students boarded a double-decker bus last week for a unique entrepreneurial tour of the capital that saw them visit creative hubs and meet industry leaders.

On Wednesday (14 March), 45 students from both the Loughborough and London campuses travelled the city making stops at the likes of Stour Space, the Google CampusNatWest E-SparkHuckletree and Allia East for behind the scenes visits.

Throughout the day ‘VIP passengers’ boarded the bus to share their stories and stimulate conversations.

Special guests included Nneka Chukwurah, the woman behind Plexiglass, London’s latest accelerator programme for female-founded start-ups, Capital Enterprise’s Julia Rabin and serial investor in student businesses Matthew Stafford.

The 12-hour tour aimed to give students the chance to connect with real-world businesses, be inspired by industry leaders and gain skills in self-confidence, creative thinking and leadership.

Ben Cole, Loughborough University London’s Stakeholder Development Manager, said: “Events like this connect students from across both our campuses to the rich entrepreneurial scene in London. 

“They are the ‘experience difference’ for our students and one of the reasons why two vibrant campuses really make one outstanding university.”

The tour was part of the ‘London Venture Crawl’ – a unique partnership between King’s College London, University College London, London South Bank University, Brunel University London, the University of Westminster, Birkbeck University of London, University of East London, London College of Fashion and Loughborough University London.

In total, six buses carrying 200 university students – from across all disciplines – embarked on the crawl, with each bus visiting different creative hubs.

All students concluded their tours at one of Europe’s largest innovation hubs, Plexal, which is located in Here East with Loughborough University London.

The aspiring entrepreneurs took the opportunity to network with each other and VIP guests, and students from all nine universities took part in a pitching competition.

After a hard-fought set of semi-finals, the competition was won by Loughborough University London MSc Diplomacy, Business and Trade student Christina Akintoye, who pitched her range of skincare products. 

Following her win, Christina said: “This whole day has been such an incredible experience.  I’ve seen so many great spaces, met so many people, and learnt so much about the help that’s out there in London for student entrepreneurs.  My business can only grow from today.”

At Plexal, the students were also treated to a keynote from Diane Pearlman, Interim Chief Marketing Officer at leading video ad tech company Unruly, and talks from inspiring entrepreneurs including Loughborough University alumnus Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pavegen.

Laurence commented: “Loughborough University gave me the skills and confidence to develop my idea and being part of the London tech community enabled me to turn this into a business.

“London has vital access to investors, talent and most crucially, clients. The transport links to Europe and vibrant entrepreneurial community with headline events like London Tech Week make this city a compelling destination for anyone launching a new start-up.”

For more information on Loughborough University London visit the website.

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2020, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 8th in The UK Complete University Guide 2020.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Specialising exclusively in postgraduate-level study, Loughborough University London is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers cutting-edge master’s and PhD degrees, as well as business collaboration, research and enterprise opportunities.

The seven specialist institutes at Loughborough University London include: Design Innovation, Digital Technologies, Diplomacy and International Governance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Media and Creative Industries, and Sport Business. Close industry partnerships with a wealth of leading businesses and creative organisations means teaching and learning is informed by real-life challenges and driven by true industry pressures.