Jamaican students ( Monique Farquharson ) with dreams of becoming trendsetting entrepreneurs can now apply to the Aston University located in Birmingham in the UK for full scholarships and even grants to start their business when the course of study is complete.
Monique Farquharson, a Jamaican, benefitted from a scholarship at the school and now plans to start a tea and pastry business in London while still pursuing her master’s degree.
Farquharson, who resided in Japan before taking up the stint at Aston, said the experience has been quite fulfilling.“I can speak for myself and others about some of the things that attracted us. Aston has a lot of experience. They are very practical and first look at building the entrepreneurial mindset.
“The support that the university gives, and the number of mentors you have access to is very important to entrepreneurs, as you get to learn vicariously from people,” added Farquharson, who is also Head of Speakers & Performe`rs for Tedx Aston University which will this year feature two Jamaican speakers, media specialist Dr Terri-Karelle Reid and businessman Zachary Harding.
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According to Matt Dean, director of international recruitment at Aston, the institution offers some 2.5 million pounds worth of scholarships to international students. These include full or half scholarships and Master’s degree courses in addition to smaller scholarships valued at 300, 500 and 800 pounds.
“We take a lot of students with great ideas but they do not have the wherewithal. They need to have a viable business idea. We do employ a lot of students as recruitment and marketing interns. We do try and acquit a lot of students with work experience, it’s not good enough to have [just] good academic skills anymore. It is a very competitive environment,” Dean said.
Aston University provides a variety of business courses including Masters of International Business, business analytics, business and entrepreneurship (online), business and international relations, business and management, and business and politics.
“Students are also given grants to start up their businesses when they complete their courses. We try to connect people with a ready made business network,” Dean said.
“There is no age limit, it doesn’t matter whatever stage you are in your business we try to help people when they are on that journey,” he added.
Success stories associated with Aston University include Gym Stark, the multi-million dollar sporting goods company, and a soluble straw company which is a brainchild of a Nigerian student and is set to start operations in September.
Aston University does not provide accommodation or travel costs in its scholarship programmes.