The Peter Coates Foundation will receive a £20m donation from Peter Coates.

It has teamed up with Staffordshire University to launch the Peter Coates Fast Forward Programme. Beginning in January, the programme will offer emerging entrepreneurs the skills, funding and support they need to start new high-tech businesses in Stoke-on-Trent.

Participants will study for a year to achieve the newly created Peter Coates MSc in Entrepreneurship at Staffordshire University. This is a unique programme in the UK that has been designed with one purpose: to give budding entrepreneurs the skills, experience, support, confidence and opportunity to thrive.

To ensure that this opportunity is accessible by those who have drive and ambition, but do not have the full academic record or financial support to undertake such a programme; full bursaries are available from the Peter Coates Foundation and non-academic criteria will be used to support applicants.

At the culmination of each one-year course, up to 30 teams of graduates can each pitch for up to £200,000 of venture capital investment and ongoing mentoring support to start their own businesses. This boost will give founders the resources and connections they need to become part of a dynamic enterprise cluster.

Peter Coates said: “With this new programme, we want to help our city and region by accelerating its entrepreneurial success. We want to give everyone who has ambitions to start a business the skills, funding and support in order to give it the best chance of succeeding. I want to create a legacy of a thriving and growing ecosystem of new high-tech businesses to drive the economy and region forward.”

Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Martin Jones said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Peter and the Peter Coates Foundation on what could literally be a life-changing opportunity for individuals accepted on to the course.

“Working with and alongside those SMEs who are currently involved in the University’s Innovation Enterprise Zone, we believe the new one-year course will help to create a dynamic enterprise cluster and bring new job and wealth creation to our city and region.

“This is very much in keeping with our responsibilities as a Civic University to improve the regional economy, support quality or life in our local communities and develop higher level skills in business and industry through the retention and development of entrepreneur graduate talent.”

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