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Generation Next members gain access to University of Derby enterprise support

The landmark partnership will facilitate connections, growth and opportunity.

University of Derby enterprise
University of Derby enterprise

The University of Derby has launched a new partnership with Generation Next, a budding network of young professionals in the East Midlands, that will provide members with enterprise and educational support from the university.

The link-up will enable the university to help shape East Midlands Chamber's latest initiative. This aims to connect business owners and employees aged between 18 and 35 with like-minded people, develop their skills, and open doors to new opportunities.

Along with educational support, members of Generation Next will be integrated into The Innovation Hothouse. A co-working space located at the university’s Enterprise Centre where the Chamber will have a physical presence and host some of its networking events.

Lucy Robinson, the Chamber’s director of resources and Generation Next lead, said: “We’re delighted to announce the first key partnership as part of Generation Next, which we truly believe will have an exciting role to play in helping young professionals in the East Midlands to grow their confidence, skills and networks.”

Lucy Robinson, Next Generation lead and Chamber's leader of resources

“The University of Derby already has a very active role in the local business community,” she continued. “Supporting firms of all shapes and sizes while also producing a significant chunk of the graduates who remain in our region.

“The way in which it has also supported both students and postgraduates to develop entrepreneurial skills via facilities such as The Innovation Hothouse makes it the perfect partner for a scheme like Generation Next as they very much fit the profile of our network’s members.

“While the past year has been tough, particularly for young people, we can’t wait to get started in our work alongside the university and help to shape the future leaders of our region.”

What is Generation Next and what will the University of Derby offer members?

Generation Next was launched last year to create a network that supports young professionals and the next generation of business leaders in the East Midlands.

It features a series of networking events and educational workshops led by a range of East Midlands Chamber member companies and specialist advisers, with the aim of developing their professional networks and skills.

These have so far taken place online - upcoming topics include Meet the furloughed worker who turned a gift box into a £1m business and a “Marketing Masterclass” series with NatWest and Luv4Marketing.

Generation Next membership grants young professionals exclusive access to the network’s events programme. They will also be able to submit news content to the Generation Next website, have access to key resources and a chance to get involved in influencing regional policy.

The University of Derby partnership means 100 of its students will have the opportunity to join the network, with two of these joining the Generation Next board of directors, the make-up of which will be announced soon.

It builds on a relationship in which self-employed students and postgraduates based at The Innovation Hothouse can receive free Chamber membership alongside access to hotdesks, free Wi-Fi and mentoring support.

Professor Kamil Omoteso, pro vice-chancellor and dean of the University of Derby’s College of Business, Law and Social Sciences, said: “Supporting Generation Next very much complements what the university and Derby Business School do to inspire young people to become the business leaders of the future through a combination of academic expertise and real-world experience.

“This regional network connects them to a community which can help them – and each other – to take those vital early steps into their business career or to take on their own entrepreneurial challenge.”

East Midlands Chamber president Eileen Richards MBE has vowed to support the next generation of business leaders as one of her three priorities for 2021 and is an ambassador for Generation Next.

Eileen Richards MBE, Managing Director of ER Recruitment
Eileen Richards MBE, East Midlands Chamber President

She said: “It is fantastic to have the University of Derby on board supporting Generation Next. The East Midlands is home to incredible educational institutions, with our universities ranking among some of the best in the UK, which is why it is so crucial that we are attracting and retaining top talent within our region.

“I am delighted to be an ambassador for Generation Next, which aligns with one of my key focuses within my presidential year – which is to work closely with the Generation Next group and ensure our young professionals have the business support services they require to become our future leaders within the East Midlands.”

Generation Next membership costs £150 per person for 12 months, with companies that submit two or more employees for membership eligible for a 20% discount.

To enquire about Generation Next membership, visit or email the team at You can also keep up with the network via LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Upcoming Generation Next events

For more information about this media release, contact Dan Robinson, Media and Communications Manager, on 07764 431028 or


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