Santander Awards Keele Graduate a US Scholarship

Posted on 01 September 2014

Keele University is one of only two universities in the UK to be awarded a place on a prestigious Entrepreneurship Programme.  This meant that James Geary, a Keele graduate, was one of just two entrepreneurs from the UK to be chosen for this year’s Santander Universities’ Babson Entrepreneurship Programme for Students. As a result he has just completed an intensive two-week course in America to enhance his business skills.

James graduated from Keele University in 2013 with a degree Chemistry and Politics. He then set up Gears’ Oils, a company that makes vegetable oil, biodiesel, firelighters and fuel pellets from oil seed rape. As a young entrepreneur and part of SPEED Plus, an initiative to support young entrepreneurs set up by a number of Midlands universities, James was put forward for the program by Dee Frankish, student enterprise manager at Keele University.

James spent two weeks this summer at Babson College in Boston, named by U.S. News and World Report as number one in the world for entrepreneurship education, as one of just 30 young entrepreneurs from around the world chosen for the course. During his time in Boston, James learned from experts about marketing practices, business planning as well as about vital business strategies.

James says: “The course was the opportunity of a lifetime. From the moment that our flight landed I was learning and meeting new people with exciting ideas to share. Being part of an active class made the whole course unique and unforgettable for the whole two weeks. There was a great mix of people, who had already started their own business, and university students looking to do so when they graduate. Now I have returned I will use this knowledge – especially the lessons on alternative business models – to augment my business, consider new ways to expand and grow and I’m really excited about what the next five years will bring.”

The Santander Universities Global Division has collaborated with universities for 17 years and was set up to support the higher education and research system. In partnership with Babson College, Santander sponsors these two-week, intensive courses to teach a wide range of business skills.

James is taking part in the SPEED plus initiative for young entrepreneurs,  which was set up by the universities of Wolverhampton, Birmingham City, Coventry, Staffordshire and Keele. It supports the young entrepreneurs with £4.2million of European Regional Development (ERDF) funding. As with many of the entrepreneurs from Keele University, James’ business is registered at the Nova Centre on the Keele University Science and Business Park.

For further information please contact: Ian Stanley on 0121 713 3939 or email