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New Wilson Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship

The new Wilson Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, based at Durham University Business School, will be created as part of a record donation of £7.5 million from alumnus Charles Wilson and his partner Dr Rowena Olegario.

The Wilson Institute

The institute will provide entrepreneurs and leaders, especially in small and family businesses, with insightful and practical support to develop those businesses to full potential. It will also have a specific focus on servicing business leaders and business ideas in the local region at every stage of development: supporting ‘start-up, scale-up, and smart-up’ activities.

The Business School and the region

In establishing the Wilson Institute, the School is seizing a unique opportunity to enrich the forward-thinking enterprises across the region, stimulating business creation, scale-up activity, and beneficial economic development across the North East and beyond.

The Wilson Institute will provide the world with yet another window into the North East economy and ensure North East business has a wide-open door into the Business School.

Charles Wilson

Charles Wilson was an undergraduate geography student at Durham University, and is now the Chief Executive of the UK’s leading food wholesaler Booker Group. Charles joined Booker in 2005 from Marks and Spencer plc where he was a main board director, and prior to Marks and Spencer, he was a main board director of Arcadia Group plc. Charles was awarded the Sunday Times Business Person of the Year 2017 and the Financial Times Entrepreneur of the Year 2011.

The Donation

The Institute is part of a record £7.5 million donation from Charles Wilson and Dr Rowena Olegario which will also launch the Durham Inspired – North East Scholarships programme which will support students coming from low-income backgrounds from the region, and endowment for the University’s Institute of Hazard Risk and Resilience (IHRR) – a research institute co-founded by Wilson in 2004 which supports research and practice in areas related to global natural disasters.

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