Sheffield software tycoon David Richards of WANdisco launches free academy for entrepreneurs

A Sheffield software tycoon is launching a free start-up academy for entrepreneurs to teach the secrets of his success.

Thursday, 31st March 2022, 8:14 am

WANdisco founder David Richards is launching the EyUp Entrepreneurship Academy offering up to 10 students a six-month course starting in October.

They will launch companies focused on helping South Yorkshire’s manufacturers go digital, with the help of successful entrepreneurs and executives.

Mr Richards said: “I’m often asked how I created WANdisco – this course will provide the answer. Entrepreneurship is all about risk and there can be no guarantee of success but equally failure provides a valuable learning experience.

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WANdisco founder David Richards is launching the EyUp Entrepreneurship Academy offering up to 10 students a six-month course, startting in October. Picture Bruce Rollinson

“There are not many pathways for new entrepreneurs in the UK, which is why we have fewer successful start-ups relative to the United States. Our Entrepreneurship Academy will provide new companies with an addressable market and access to capital, giving them a competitive advantage.”

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The academy will be based in Kollider, a tech-hub in Castle House the former Co-op in Castlegate in Sheffield city centre.

The course is full-time, free and open to those aged 18 and over.

Students and advisers will get shares in the start-ups, which could become valuable in the future, Mr Richards said.

He added: “This will be an excellent opportunity for people to learn how to build a company, launch a minimum viable product and take it to market with the support of seasoned entrepreneurs and executives who have been there and done it.

“There is already an active customer base in the South Yorkshire business community with local manufacturers looking for data tools and technologies to boost productivity, make informed decisions on carbon output and drive economic and employment growth.”

The project follows the launch of EyUp Skills, a 16-week programme teaching students how to get jobs as software developers. The first cohort of seven graduated in December.

Adrian Hackett, co-founder of Kollider, said: “Start-ups will have access to an enormous amount of extra support, funding and business development opportunities.

“Kollider is pleased to form a part of South Yorkshire’s innovation infrastructure and has over the past few years provided the platform for a number of multi-million pound investments and exits.”

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