Thirty five of the UK’s most talented and ambitious graduates have been accepted on the Entrepreneur First scheme, which will provide them with the skills, tools and potential funding opportunities to launch a successful, high-growth start-up.

The budding entrepreneurs who have secured a place on the inaugural scheme will benefit from a rigorous programme of training and world-class mentoring from some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs.

With unrivalled links with City businesses, investment opportunities and enterprise support, the City of London Corporation, as a core sponsor, will continue to provide practical support for Entrepreneur First over the next two years.

Entrepreneur First’s Kick-off Weekend will take place at the City of London’s Innovation Warehouse, Smithfield on 31st March and 1st April.

Over the a two day event, the cohort of 35 budding entrepreneurs will be trained and supported by key members from the London entrepreneur community. This comes as the participants prepare to launch their own businesses in September 2012.

The City of London Corporation will also host a launch reception at the Guildhall in the City for the 35 entrepreneurs on the programme on 5th April 2012. Stuart Fraser, Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, will host the reception.

Stuart Fraser, Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee at the City of London Corporation, says, “Small businesses will provide the vast majority of new jobs in the coming years, therefore it’s vital that budding entrepreneurs and high-growth ventures are nurtured. We are already seeing bubbles of innovation, with Tech City an example. However, if London’s positioning as a global business hub is to be maintained, this success needs to be further propelled through pioneering programmes like Entrepreneur First.”

To stimulate small business and economic growth, the City of London Corporation spearheads an array of initiatives, supporting around 640 small businesses in 2011 alone and has seen David Cameron (pictured above) visit a number of key initiatives over the past year.

The capital, skills and expertise of the City are often leveraged to deliver these initiatives, which include:

Angels in the City – delivered in partnership with London Business Angels, this scheme aims to generate over £10m of new Angel investment per annum for Tech City start-ups and create 200 jobs annually.

Ready to Supply the City – this programme helps SMEs in the City and surrounding boroughs become ‘tender ready’ and increase their share of the £13.3 billion City supply chain.

Local Procurement Charter – the City of London Corporation’s Local Procurement Charter requires developers to procure at least 10% of its services locally.

Matt Clifford, CEO, Entrepreneur First, comments, “Entrepreneur First was founded to encourage the UK’s brightest graduates to create their own high-growth start-ups and to give them the support network that they will need to make these businesses a success. Britain’s corporate and entrepreneurial community will play a major role in delivering this support and Entrepreneur First simply could not exist without its backing.

“We are therefore delighted to have the City of London Corporation as a core sponsor of Entrepreneur First. We’re excited by what this support will mean for the Entrepreneur First cohort and are looking forward to working closely with City of London Corporation in the coming months.”