Susanne Klatten

Buckingham alumna donates £1.8m to create major University innovation and enterprise initiatives

9 February 2018

Susanne Klatten

 

German entrepreneur, businesswoman and philanthropist Susanne Klatten has made a gift of £1.8m to fund an Innovation and Enterprise Centre at the University of Buckingham which will enable its enterprise and entrepreneurship department to grow significantly at a time when the government has identified these areas as key for the country to retain its place in global markets.

As well as having a highly successful career BSc Business Studies graduate Susanne is also involved in a huge range of philanthropic work including the establishment of a leading European centre for entrepreneurship in Munich.

Susanne said: “Some of my most formative experiences in business and management took place at the University of Buckingham. Since then I have been deeply convinced that entrepreneurship is key for progress and value in both economy and society.  Therefore, it is a pleasure for me to deepen the connections between Buckingham and the community of like-minded people already doing this work in Munich at UnternehmerTUM, the Centre for Innovation and Business Creation I founded 15 years ago.”

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, added: “We are extremely grateful for this extraordinary gift that will enable Buckingham to become one of the country’s leading centres for entrepreneurship and enterprise. This is very timely as the government is calling for entrepreneurship to become a key part of the curriculum for the next generation so that we can create business men and women who can help the country to enhance its position in world markets. It will also enable us to grow as a university.”

As well as enabling the University’s enterprise and entrepreneurship department to grow from 100 to 600 students the funding will help with setting up internships, scholarships and PhD courses. It will be used to incorporate entrepreneurship modules into other Buckingham courses. There will also be be a scheme to encourage school and college students to bring an enterprising approach to curriculums. The funding will help the University to expand in the coming years and further boost the local economy.

A £3m donation by Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP on top of entrepreneur Lord Vinson’s £7m donation has enabled the university to construct its new Vinson Building, which will be a centre for liberal economics as well as housing the new Buckingham Innovation and Enterprise Centre.

Richard Harrington, CEO of Buckinghamshire and Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The University of Buckingham is key to the local economy, already one of the areas of fastest growth and start ups in the UK. Developing entrepreneurship is one of our aims as more businesses set up in this area and this new centre will dovetail brilliantly with everything that we are doing to promote business locally. We are delighted that it is going to be run in the new Vinson Centre, which we helped to fund, as we can see the many benefits of the University and council working hand in hand to enhance the prosperity of the area.”

In 2006 the University of Buckingham was the first university in the world to create an undergraduate course, the BSc Business Enterprise programme, where students could “pitch” for up to £5,000 funding from a “Dragon’s Den” type panel of local businesses (Buckingham Angels) to finance startups.

The University of Buckingham currently offers the following courses in enterprise, entrepreneurship or innovation: