University College London generates £10bn a year for UK, report finds | The universities

University College London has boasted that its financial contribution to the UK economy is equivalent to hosting the Olympics every year – in part because of the way it encourages graduates to create jobs and investment across the country .

An independent report commissioned by UCL estimates that the university generates nearly £10 billion a year in economic activity through its £1.67 billion expenditure. According to consultancy firm London Economics, this figure “is comparable to the surge in international trade and foreign investment generated by the London Olympics in 2012”.

While much of the £10 billion is generated by disseminating UCL’s research and knowledge, some comes from spin-offs and startups like the one co-founded by Rachael Twumasi-Corson, including the company Afrocechix now sells its hair care products in Superdrug and Whole Foods as well as exporting to over 50 countries.

Afrocenchix’s 14 staff are dwarfed by the 19,000 full-time jobs the report estimates are underpinned by UCL’s activities, but Twumasi-Corson credits UCL with crucial funding and support to help get it off the ground Afrocechix – through a conference she attended while studying medical anthropology.

Twumasi-Corson attended a conference organized by UCL’s Entrepreneurial Operation – which aims to help students with “entrepreneurial activities”, including businesses with their roots outside UCL – and decided to enter Afrocechix in a “brilliant ideas” competition organized by UCL.

“I didn’t think we would end up winning, but we did. So it was great to win and to have this validation from UCL; it helped us a lot to establish the business well,” she said.

The prize was £5,000 in funding, plus office space in central London and business advice from UCL’s business unit, which Twumasi-Corson said was equally important.

“There was a really cool person working at UCL…of Caribbean descent and it was actually the first time I interacted with a university entrepreneurship department that had a black woman there,” said she declared.

“She understood a lot of the issues with my hair that led to creating the product line, which was really awesome.”

UCL returned the favor by employing Twumasi-Corson in its business advisory team: “I worked three days a week helping students with their businesses, then the rest of the week I worked on my own,” said she declared.

“It put me on the trajectory to be able to have a sustainable business with employees. I have been working full time for about three years. And I have a team of 12 people, 14 including contractors. This support of UCL really helped me, I learned a lot.

Afrocechix was just one of 234 graduate startups that launched or ran in a year, 2018-19, with 83 spin-offs, generating £110m in revenue, attracting £639m of external investment and employing 2,950 people.

The London Economics report found that UCL’s research and knowledge exchange activities were worth more than £4 billion in 2018-19, and estimated that “productivity spillovers” meant that every million pounds sterling invested in research at UCL resulted in an additional economic output of £6 million across the world. UK.

While the university does most of its spending and employment in the London area, the report found that the total impact of its own spending generates £3billion for the UK economy, of which just over a third outside the capital. Of the 19,000 jobs supported by UCL spending, more than 7,000 are located outside London.

The report comes as the government is highly critical of the value of degrees taught at English universities, including its complaints about ‘low value’ qualifications.

Michael Spence, Provost of UCL, said: “This study demonstrates for the first time how much UCL in particular is improving health and prosperity across the UK, through its work to expand knowledge , to translate them into new technologies, techniques, activities and therapies, and to cultivate the talent of future generations to do the same.

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