As Lincoln is named in the top ten cities for business startups, Andrew Stevenson is proud of the work he and his team have achieved whilst he has been Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Lincoln. In the last four years he has helped to nurture new businesses around the city through incubation centres, helped to combat a skills shortage and set up new communication channels to bring Lincolnshire organisations together.
After four years of hard work, everything seems to be coming together for both his career and for the pride he feels in helping graduates and startup businesses succeed, even if he did take a very unusual path to get to where he is today.
Whilst completing his degree in Geology in Liverpool, Andrew had been working at the American Adventure theme park in the catering department and realised that this was more in line with what he wanted to do.
This feature interview was first published in issue 64 of the Lincolnshire Business weekly magazine, now available to read at www.lincsbusiness.co. Subscribe to the email newsletter to receive the latest edition in your inbox this Friday.
Andrew leapt from the rocks and into running his own restaurant, a Pierre Victoire franchise in Sheffield. He gained valuable experience of what it is like to set up a new business, and when an opportunity opened at the University of Lincoln for someone to set up an incubation centre for startups, he took it. “I had done a part time MBA while I had been running the restaurant, so I guess the university thought that I had a combination of the practical and the academic skills as well.”
Through setting up partnerships with companies like Siemens, he was able to tackle the skills shortage in the region and loved the feeling of helping both businesses and graduates find the right positions.
“It’s the right match in circumstance. It’s about connecting the right people in those organisations at the right time, understanding what the drivers are on both sides and trying to match those drivers up.”
Andrew is a man with many titles, including Director and Chair of the East Midlands Incubation Network, Director of Investors in Lincoln and Director of Metnano Ltd – all programmes and schemes that the University of Lincoln supports.
“I think my favourite part is the variety. I’m hugely excited by the fact that I get involved with everything from the Science and Innovation Park and doing startup work on that for the university, through to careers and employability work that we do around getting graduates into the careers they want. It is fantastically rewarding. I also get to help our academics secure research grant income through to investor network projects.
“The variety and the opportunities my work give me, to meet with different people and to do different things, is what gets me up in the morning and keeps me going.”
The full cover interview with Andrew Stevenson is available to read in full here. For the latest dispatch of business news from across Lincolnshire delivered in your inbox every Friday, subscribe to the Lincolnshire Business magazine.