Non-profit organisation Entrepreneur First has officially launched its 2013 programme, designed to encourage UK university graduates to become tech entrepreneurs.
The organisation revealed today that 36 graduates would be joining its 2013 programme, which continues to be financially backed by investors including the City of London Corporation, Microsoft, Silicon Valley Bank, and McKinsey & Company.
Entrepreneur First founders Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck decided to hold off revealing the programme's second cohort of graduates until they had been officially welcomed at 10 Downing Street a week ago by high-profile members of the IT industry, including Rohan Silva, the Prime Minister's special adviser on digital, and Joanna Shields, TechCity chief executive.
The graduates, 70 percent of whom hold computer science degrees, were selected at the end of February after an intense recruitment and selection process.
Bentinck told V3 that Entrepreneur First had received a total of 570 applications that were then whittled down by a number of entrepreneurs and investors.
The selected applicants are now set for a mentorship programme in the coming months and those who are down to advise the group include Autonomy founder Mike Lynch, founder of Last.fm Stefan Glaenzer, co-founder of Songkick Pete Smith, and Wonga founder Errol Damelin.
Towards the end of August, the group will form companies made up of fellow particpants and begin the process of turning their ideas into a business.
Entrepreneur First, will give start-ups access to office space, training, experienced mentors and investors.
The aspiring entrepreneurs include a Cambridge computer science graduate who is currently working on exploiting the video processing power of the Raspberry Pi to create an educational visual video processing language and a Warwick graduate who has already created a Twitter application TwitTraffic that has attracted over 30,000 active users.
Bentinck said last year's Entrepreneur First programme was very successful with 34 participants achieving £15m of combined investment.
This summer Entrepreneur First will also be running a programme called Code First: Girls, which will encourage more women to consider a career in technology or as an entrepreneur, giving up to 30 high-potential female graduates a solid foundation in coding.
Bentinck said this programme had been devised because Entrepreneur First had only 10 percent female participation last year, while this year has 20 percent.
"We wanted to take some positive action to increase the number of girls in the programme so we have now set up an eight week, part-time course to teach young women how to code, which will be offered completely free," she said.
"Seven of the girls on the Code First programme will be in our 2013 cohort this year, and we hope some of the other girls will be joining our 2014 programme."
The boom in start-up courses comes as the FinTech sector also experiences strong interest from start-ups looking to London based organisations to help them grow.
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