Royal recognition

Sunderland graduate Robert Banerjee has been named as a winner in ‘The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Awards 2019’ after seeing significant growth in his IT recruitment service.

The success of Korp Talent Ltd, launched less than a year ago by Robert, has been recognised as one of 18 businesses to receive the award from His Royal Highness, organised annually and presented at the University of Huddersfield.

The scheme recognises students and graduates who have shown “remarkable entrepreneurship” while at university. Launched in 2013, the awards are given to students or recent graduates selected by universities across the North of England.

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Robert, 25, from Luton Town, said: “I am delighted to have been nominated for such an award, let alone to actually win! Since starting Korp Talent there has been a lot of eyes on me from local competitors and previous employers to whether a young man age 25 would be able to build a company based in Sunderland that is focused on the Swedish market. For me, this is just a little bit of validation that we are in fact on the right path and I am looking forward to see what the next 12 months have in store.”

After graduating from Criminology in 2016 from the University of Sunderland, Robert began working for a high profile, tech recruitment firm servicing the Swedish IT sector. Robert soon realised he had an ambition to launch his own business and found an investor whose portfolio included other businesses requiring IT recruitment services.

He turned to Sunderland’s Enterprise Place for support, setting up an office there after a friend told him about the hot-desking facilities on offer.

Following a successful launch in 2018, Korp Talent has seen turnover grow significantly during its first year. Having recently secured an exclusive preferred supplier contract with Swedish company Scandinavia’s biggest telecoms providers worth £250,000, Robert is now looking to expand and open a second office in the UK. They have one new consultant starting in August, another in September and plans to recruit four more before the end of the year.

The 24-year-old said: “Because my work is based in Sweden, I was able to work from home to begin with, but after hearing about what the Enterprise Place can offer graduates, it seemed like the right opportunity.

“It gave me a chance to get out of the house and work in an office environment surrounded by other like-minded young entrepreneurs.

“It also provided the opportunity to access some of the support services they offered, like the workshops and training they held in areas like marketing and branding. This type of help has been invaluable.”

He added: “I think what has separated us from other recruitment agencies attempting oversees operations is our commitment to building client and candidate relationships. Every other month, one of our employees travels with me to Sweden for a week in order to ensure we keep a high level of face to face contact with both clients and candidates. We’ve now gone from strength to strength and connecting the best candidates with the most interesting clients based in Sweden and are looking to expand further. The Enterprise Place has been a great place for us to get started, now we are looking forward to moving into our bigger office space next month and seeing what we can achieve in year two.”

Based at the University’s Hope Street Xchange Building, the Enterprise Place has already helped scores of students and graduates get that vital first step on the career ladder to building their own business.

Laura Foster, Internships and Enterprise Manager at the University of Sunderland, said: "It's fantastic to be able to help students and graduates like Robert realise their start up ambitions. To see the company do so well in their first year is amazing.  Being able to retain graduate talent in Sunderland is so important and I’m delighted that Robert has chosen the University’s Hope Street Xchange, in the heart of the city, as his next step office.”

The Internships and Enterprise project is receiving up to £2,207,656 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

The Enterprise Place offers students and graduates the opportunity of up to 12-months free membership and access to:

-      Professional, co-working office space in Hope Street Xchange

-      Expert one-to-one business advice

-      A place on our Start-Up-Skills course

-      Workshops, events and networking

-      Commercial editing software

-      Dedicated business development support team

-      The opportunity to join a community of entrepreneurs

For more information about the Enterprise Place, go to:

Hope Street Xchange

Launched in 2017, Hope Street Xchange was developed by the University with £4.9m investment support from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP’s) Local Growth Fund and £2.23 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

Based on the City Campus it links the University to the region’s small business community by supporting fledgling start-ups and offering space for existing businesses to develop and grow. From here businesses can access students and graduates with the skills they need - through a range of options including placements, internships and knowledge transfer partnerships – as well as connecting them with the University’s world-leading research base, sector expertise and specialised hi-tech equipment.

The centre was initiated by Sunderland Business Group, which aims to support entrepreneurship and increase the number of business start-ups with support from the North East LEP.

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a public, private, and education sector partnership that covers Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland local authority areas.

Its aim is to create 100,000 more jobs for the North East economy and to ensure that 70% of these jobs are better jobs.

A better job is defined as being in the top three Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) categories, which are: managers and directors; professional occupations; and associate professional and technical occupations. Measuring this means LEP can demonstrate higher skilled and more productive roles in our economy.

LEP develop and lead the delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) which details how they will achieve this plan for growth for the North East.

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