By Kate Madley

The Alacrity Foundation, the latest innovative project to stimulate and support UK graduates, was officially launched in Newport this week by Business Minister Edwina Hart and Sir Terry Matthews.

The charitable status programme is a collaborative partnership between Sir Terry’s Wesley Clover organisation, the Welsh Government and private investors, the Waterloo Project and Andrew Probert.

The five year project aims to support graduate entrepreneurs by enlisting 50 of the top engineering, science and business graduates from British universities. The Alacrity Foundation will develop skills and train graduates with a view to create ten new Welsh-based technology firms during the project life.

“Entrepreneurial and innovative companies are the ones that will help to create the biggest growth in Welsh jobs and the Alacrity programme is a catalyst for those companies to be created in the ICT sector,”  said Edwina Hart.

“The Alacrity model taps into the wealth of our graduate talent and provides education, opportunity and access to the capital- all of which are key ingredients for entrepreneurial success.

“We must make Wales an even more attractive place to do business and my initiatives- such as Next Generation Broadband, Enterprise Zones and High Growth Start Programmes- all help to create an environment that is as good as any to start up a business. And now, Alacrity adds significantly to this business environment.”

More than 50 professional mentors have signed up to feed into the Alacrity Foundation, to share with the selected graduates their knowledge and experience.

“I am truly excited to be working with our partners in industry and the universities with the intent of creating the next generation of technology businesses,” said Sir Terry Matthews.

“The path for success for Wales will be through growth in innovative new start up economies head quartered in our economy.

“Alacrity provides our graduates with three vital elements for success: Entrepreneurial education, opportunity alignment and access to the capital. The programme gives young entrepreneurs a chance of a lifetime to create sustainable business in the information and communications sector.”

The Alacrity Foundation will be based on the banks of the River Usk and has undergone significant regeneration in the build up to the launch.

Alacrity House is situated between the Riverfront Theatre and the University City Campus and is owned by Newport Unlimited, the urban regeneration company for Newport.

“We are delighted to welcome Alacrity Foundation to the centre of Newport and to support their vision of creating a home for entrepreneurial graduates,” said Bill Mayne, Chair of Newport Unlimited.

“The creation of new businesses is key to the on-going regeneration of Newport, as well as supporting the wider economy. We need to ensure that these budding entrepreneurs put down permanent roots in the city as their businesses thrive.”