- Research by Novuna Business Cash Flow pinpoints top 20 universities for producing entrepreneurs between 2020-2022.
- Surprising outcomes with lower-ranked universities showcasing robust entrepreneurial outcomes.
- A shift in regional trends: Northern and Welsh universities make strides in closing the North-South entrepreneurial divide.
Top Universities for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
In a bold step to unravel where tomorrow’s business leaders are really coming from, Novuna Business Cash Flow scoured LinkedIn data of nearly 2.8 million alumni from 121 universities. The findings? A fascinating blend of familiar names and unexpected contenders in the entrepreneurial arena.
|Index Rank||University||Region||Guardian 2023 Rank*||% of Alumni becoming company founders (2020-2022)*||No. of Students Equivalents*|
|1||University of Cambridge||South East||3||6.85||4,374|
|2||SOAS University of London||London||86||6.64||662|
|3||London School of Economics and Political Science||London||4||5.90||3,456|
|4||Goldsmiths, University of London||London||106||5.76||757|
|5||University of Oxford||Midlands||2||5.16||2,902|
|6||University of Cumbria||North West||115||5.10||303|
|8||Falmouth University||South West||97||4.95||397|
|9||University of the Arts London (UAL)||London||19||4.33||1,250|
|10||University of St Andrews||Scotland||1||4.11||533|
|11||Kings College London||London||29||3.86||2,384|
|12||City, University of London||London||58||3.75||723|
|13||University College London (UCL)||London||9||3.63||2,652|
|14||St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London||London||70||3.58||189|
|15||University of Sussex||South East||66||3.51||806|
|16||York St John University||Yorkshire||77||3.46||261|
|17||The University of Edinburgh||Scotland||12||3.42||1,526|
|18||Royal Holloway, University of London||London||33||3.38||540|
|19||Wrexham Glyndwr University||Wales||94||3.32||149|
|=20||University of Chichester||South East||37||3.25||152|
Full list available in the Novuna Business Cash Flow blog post
While the likes of Cambridge and Oxford remain strongholds for entrepreneurial education, the limelight is shared by unexpected stars like the University of Cumbria and Goldsmiths.
Regional Divide: More Than Just North Vs South
While 75% of the top 20 entrepreneurial universities lie in London or the South, deeper exploration paints a more intricate portrait. The regions dominating in producing company founders are:
|Index Rank||Region of University||% of Alumni Founders (2020-2022)||No. of Student Equivalents|
However, the North and Wales seem to be punching above their weight, especially when examining universities that ramped up founder production from 2017-2019 to 2020-2022.
Bucking the Trend: Universities Defying Odds
A comparative look between the 2017-2019 and 2020-2022 periods reveals a decline in entrepreneurs across most regions. However, nine universities defied this trend:
|Index||University||Region||Guardian 2023 Rank||% of Alumni 2017-2019||% of Alumni 2020-2022||No. of 2020-2022 Students Becoming Company Founders|
|1||University of Cambridge||South East||3||5.70||6.85||4,374|
|2||University of Cumbria||North West||115||4.22||5.10||303|
|3||University of Suffolk||South East||69||2.11||2.91||175|
|4||York St John University||Yorkshire||77||2.77||3.46||261|
|5||Liverpool John Moores University||North West||87||1.73||2.04||692|
|6||University of Wales, Trinity Saint David||Wales||74||2.61||2.87||285|
|7||University of Chichester||South East||37||3.01||3.25||152|
|8||Wrexham Glyndwr University||Wales||94||3.10||3.32||149|
|9||University of Bolton||North West||38||2.23||2.30||183|
A closer look reveals that apart from Cambridge, all the other top performers were ranked 37th or below by The Guardian.
John Atkinson, Head of Commercial Business at Novuna Business Cash Flow, reflected:
“Our findings highlight that the entrepreneurial spirit is well and truly alive across a spectrum of universities, not just the usual top-tier suspects. For young people aspiring to be business leaders and evaluating university options, this data provides a fresh perspective.”
About the Research
Field: 23rd July – 1st August 2023
Sample: 121 UK universities, Alumni between 2017-2019 and 2020-2023
To ascertain the number of entrepreneurial alumni, analysis was conducted of the ‘Alumni’ segment on the official LinkedIn page for each university. Our criteria filtered for alumni who held the job title “Founder” during the period from 2017 to 2023. The results of this analysis yielded the figures presented in the ‘Student Equivalents’ column.
Additionally, we recorded the total number of students who graduated within the aforementioned timeframe. This data facilitated the calculation of the percentage representation of founders among the total alumni.
The ‘Guardian 2023 Rank’ was sourced directly from the Guardian University Guide, available here.
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