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Press release

  • 25 January 2007

Enterprising University of Sussex students follow an American dream

Two University of Sussex students and aspiring entrepreneurs have set off on a six-month visit to the USA as part of a scholarship programme to develop their business ideas.

Joshua Seal and Will Griffiths were selected by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (a leading U.S. centre that works to advance entrepreneurship) to be part of its new Entrepreneurship Fellows scheme.

Last June the pair secured two of just 16 places on the scheme - launched last year in the Budget - after presenting their business concepts to an interview panel in London. Sussex was the only university to secure more than one place on the scheme.

Joshua Seal, who graduated last year with an MEng in Robotics, Cybernetics and Process Automation, is developing an energy-saving device for electrical equipment kept on standby, such as televisions. Joshua's company name is Social Concepts Ltd (see

Will Griffiths, another graduate from the MEng in Engineering, is aware that environmental issues are becoming increasingly critical to the way in which commercial and residential buildings are developed and maintained. He is developing a wireless thermostatic radiator valve for central-heating systems, to address energy wastage from unoccupied rooms.

The Fellows will begin their six-month programme in the U.S. this week with a welcome tour and introduction to the Kauffman Foundation, Kansas, where they will spend the first five weeks meeting and working with their mentors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship. Fellows will then visit U.S. universities, including Harvard, before they take up a three-month internship at a U.S. business. They will return to the Kauffman Foundation at the end of the six months to share and consolidate their experiences before returning to the UK.

During the scholarship the Fellows will work on their individual business concepts, which range from addressing environmental and health issues to designing new luxury technology goods and a new application for mobile phones.

At the end of the programme Joshua and Will are expected to bring what they've learnt back to the UK, to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs and educators within Sussex and across the region.

Commenting on their success, Will said: "We are delighted to have been selected as Fellows. We are incredibly excited about how the programme and time in the States will shape our businesses and develop our entrepreneurial skills. The US is renowned for its entrepreneurial activity and it will be an amazing experience to spend time there."

Ian Robertson, Chief Executive of the NCGE commenting on the Fellows said: "The Fellows have proven they have the resolve and determination to develop their ideas into fully-fledged businesses and are committed to the programme and will take advantage of every opportunity it offers. They are the best in their field and are excellent ambassadors for UK entrepreneurship."

Notes for editors

  • The National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) is an independent organisation supported by the DTI's Small Business Service and DfES, whose aim is to raise the profile of entrepreneurship and increase the number of students and graduates (within five years of graduation) seriously considering and engaging in business start-up in all its forms, including self employment. Further information on the NCGE is available at 
  • The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City is a private, non-partisan foundation that works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. The Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Information about the Kauffman Foundation is available at
  • Josh was supported and mentored through the competition by the University of Sussex Regional Development Office and Sussex IP. For further details or comment, please call Sharon Phillips, Regional Development Manager for the RDO, on 01273 877554.
  • For further information about the work of the NCGE, contact Lynsey Bonell / Graham Smith, Twelve Consultancy, tel: 020 7631 0737.


University of Sussex Press Office contacts: Jacqui Bealing or Maggie Clune. Tel: 01273 678 888 or email

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