UCLan establishes Sarah Butterworth Enterprise Fund

6 February 2024

Students at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) will be able to further their entrepreneurial ambitions thanks to a financial legacy donated by a UCLan graduate’s family following her death.

Sarah Butterworth, who graduated from UCLan in 2012 with an MA in Finance and Management, had always harboured ambitions to set up her own business but was unable to fulfil her dreams after sadly passing away aged 37 in 2021.

Sarah Butterworth

Now her husband Dan Turnock has pledged £50,000 to UCLan to establish the Sarah Butterworth Enterprise Fund, which will benefit up to 15 student start-up businesses per academic year for up to £1000.

Awardees, who can be studying on any UCLan degree programme, will use the funds in their preparation for a career as a business owner or manager. Applicants will benefit from support of a business mentor to produce a business plan that will be judged by a UCLan Entrepreneur in Residence before awardees are chosen.

Dan said: “Sarah was a warm, kind, and caring person who had big ambitions that she was sadly unable to fulfil. She managed to write some initial business plans for a jewellery box manufacturing business but never got to take it any further.

“When Sarah passed away in July 2021, her family and I agreed that it would be a fitting tribute to Sarah if the money she intended to use to support her setting up her own business could be used to support other UCLan students to develop and launch their own business ideas.”

Sarah grew up in Marple, Stockport, and completed an undergraduate degree in linguistics at the University of Bangor before attending UCLan to complete her Master’s degree.

She had taken a career break to care for both of her parents, Gillian and Keith, when they became unwell in quick succession and her studies at UCLan were a way to restart her career and facilitate her dreams of starting her own business.

“Sarah was a very creative and sociable person who enjoyed crafting, singing and baking and her creativity would likely have been reflected in her business” Dan said.

“As well as great people skills, she had a good head for figures but unfortunately health problems conspired against her, and she never got to realise her dreams. Having lost both her parents at a young age and struggling at school at times because of her dyslexia, Sarah had great resilience and determination to succeed, and we hope that this legacy and Sarah’s story will inspire others in their business aspirations.

“It is thanks to the money that Sarah’s inherited from her dad Keith that we are able to make this donation to UCLan and create a fitting legacy to Sarah. Along with Sarah’s family, I would like this money to benefit others who may be struggling to realise their plans of owning a business and see something good come out of the sadness of losing Sarah.”

Emma Speed, Creative Industries Innovation Manager at UCLan’s Enterprise Hub, has been working with Dan to set up the Enterprise Fund.

She said: “This Award resonates with the mission of both Sarah’s family and the University to enable UCLan students to reach their potential and push themselves to achieve more.

“We are proud to honour the legacy of a UCLan alumna in this way. Hopefully, the fledging businesses that benefit from this cash injection will one day be able to pay it forward by making donations to the fund or providing business mentoring to future generations of UCLan student entrepreneurs.”

Students are already applying to the Sarah Butterworth Enterprise Fund, with the first recipient due to be announced in the Spring.

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