UCL Campaign


UCL launches George Farha New Venture Awards for student entrepreneurs

1 August 2016

UCL is pleased to announce the launch of the George Farha New Venture Awards to support promising student start-up businesses.

The awards, which have been funded by a generous donation from UCL alumnus and philanthropist George Farha, will be made to UCL students who have developed the most promising start-ups after completing this year’s UCL Advances Idea Accelerator (AIA) – an 8-week entrepreneurial summer school for those looking to take their business ideas to market.

George Farha said: “Supporting young entrepreneurs is something I believe strongly in and I am pleased to be able to help by funding these awards at UCL. The university has a successful track record of encouraging entrepreneurship and these awards are a key step to help budding entrepreneurs realise their vision.”

Dr Celia Caulcott, Vice-Provost (Enterprise), said: “I am delighted that we are launching the George Farha New Venture Awards to help students to develop their business ideas. George Farha’s support is invaluable in helping UCL to encourage students from all disciplines to learn business skills and put their innovations into practice.”

The summer school provides a select group of entrepreneurial teams with the opportunity to attend practical business development workshops, work with a business coach and talk directly with a host of entrepreneurs who’ve all made the journey themselves.

Most importantly, the AIA gives the students a shared space to work on their businesses in close proximity to one another – encouraging peer-to-peer engagement. It is this approach where the true value of the programme lies for the cohort of entrepreneurial teams.

The AIA culminates in a pitch to a panel of judges which serves to validate the team’s business ideas as they prepare to enter the market. And with the introduction of the George Farha New Venture Awards at stake for the winning teams, there is now even more incentive to maximise the time on the programme and deliver the best pitch possible.

The GSP Group was formed in 2012 by Suha Hourani and George Farha. GSP Group’s mission is to generate stable and substantial returns, looking for skewed risk profiles with enhanced downside protection, while responsibly creating long-term, sustainable value for our companies and our stakeholders. With main offices in London, and presence in the US and UAE, GSP Group has two divisions: Real Estate and Private Equity. The Real Estate team has been investing mostly in the UK market generating extraordinary returns since inception. The Private Equity team has been supporting, growing and transforming companies, providing venture capital for small and disruptive companies or growth capital and executing buyouts for more mature and sizable businesses. Our Private Equity group is industry-agnostic and has invested in a diverse range of industries such as Technology, Food and Beverage, Services, Business Services, Industrials, or Consumer Products, and geographies, generating top-tier returns since inception. one of the most successful service companies in the Gulf. Intercat Group is a leading supplier of ancillary services to major hospitality companies and the education and health sectors and also has a strong retail presence in the food and beverage market. George Farha has supported a range of projects at UCL including scholarships in Real Estate and Women’s Health. Current students may recognise the name from his generous gift to the UCLU “George Farha Café Bar”.