Stephen Young Entrepreneurship award for SBS academic

Dr Joanna Butler of the Department of Work, Employment and Organisation won first prize at the latest Strathclyde Inspire Awards for her startup MyEmploy.

MyEmploy has the potential to transform how people excluded from the labour market are supported into fair work. 

Strathclyde Inspire 100, the bi-annual showcase event, was hosted by the Principal, Professor Sir Jim MacDonald on November 16 to celebrate Strathclyde's Triple E European Entrepreneurial University of the Year success - and the next generation of innovators.

Joanna was one of six to present their business/product and she was awarded the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Award, winning the largest financial prize on the night of £10k. In September 2021, the University received a donation from alumnus and global business leader Dr Charles Huang from his philanthropic foundation. This transformational gift funds the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards, the Stephen Young Global Leaders’ Scholarship Programme and the Stephen Young Institute, all launched in honour of Dr Huang’s PhD mentor, Professor Stephen Young. 

Joanna, on right in photograph, said, "I am delighted to have secured funding from the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Fund. This will go towards the development of our AI-driven real time coaching for employability advisers, with the aim of supporting the profession to drive forward solutions that work for unemployed jobseekers."

The judges were Sarah Hume of Scottish Enterprise, Rhona Bree of Equity Gap and Rob Halliday, EOS Advisory. The other prizewinners were: Rory Bone, 4SB Mobility, awarded £7.5k from Santander UK Universities; Genna Masterton, Gifted Kind, awarded £5k from Sir Tom Hunter; Kieren Egan, Carestax, awarded £5k from Sir Tom Hunter - Sir Tom generously donated an additional £10k on the night to add to the existing funding pot of £17k.

The Strathclyde 100 award follows on from the news that Joanna was awarded Gate 3 funding (£30,000) by the University which supports the commercialisation of this online employability tool. Joanna has already passed Gates 1 and 2 (total funding £12,000) and is the first Strathclyde Business School academic to have passed Gate 3. 

The stage-gated process has been implemented to support commercialisation of University-owned intellectual property developed by staff and Post-Graduate Researchers (PGRs). The outcome of these opportunities will typically be the formation of a new spin-out company or a licence agreement with a third party. The process has four gates which must be passed in order to access the resources available to support onward development/progression of the opportunity through the pipeline. 

Published: 22 November 2023

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