PROPERTY firm Strutt and Parker have announced a new partnership with the Royal Agricultural University’s (RAU) Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programme this academic year.

This includes the launch of a new alumni award for a graduate business start-up and funding for the Grand Ideas Competition, its well-established programme which has supported a number of students starting out in business.

The new alumni entrepreneur award, Grow It, features a £1500 cash prize. It will be open to recent graduates who have left the RAU in the past three years and have successfully built and developed their own business.

The firm’s sponsorship also includes £1000 to the RAU’s First Steps Fund – designed to encourage students to develop a business idea – and £2000 to the Grand Ideas prize, for which students enter a Dragons Den-style business pitching competition and are judged by independent entrepreneurs and business leaders. This year’s judges include Christine Cross, former Director of Tesco, Levi Roots, of Reggae Reggae Sauce and past winner Lewis Steer who runs the Dartmoor Shepherd as well as the RAU’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Joanna Price.

Head of enterprise at the RAU, Katy Duke, said: “We’re excited about working with Strutt and Parker and BNP Paribas Group this year and to introduce the new alumni “Grow It” award. This builds on the success of our established Grand Idea Competition which seeks out the best new business proposition from our students.

“The breadth and scale of the enterprises already created by RAU graduates is impressive, and it’s a key part of our teaching to provide them with the support and mentoring to develop their ideas.”

The award will be presented at the 12th RAU Annual Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Awards in May 2019.

The RAU offers a range of business degrees at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level, including a BSc in International Business Management, where student satisfaction has outscored the national average for the past two years (National Student Survey 2018). The University also offers an MSc in Business Management and an MBA in International Food and Agribusiness.

The University’s Real Estate and Rural Land Management degrees are accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).