Solent University alumnus donates £100,000 for new Digital Innovation Centre

As part of graduation week, Solent University has pledged to continue supporting the region’s thriving technology community following its largest-ever donation from a former student.

British award-winning tech entrepreneur and Solent alumnus, Sean Yazbeck, has donated £100,000 to fund a new enterprise centre at the University, dedicated to digital innovation.

Set to open in the autumn, the new Sean Yazbeck Centre for Digital Innovation will provide students and businesses with access to state-of-the-art technologies and software in gaming, computing, augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. The donation from Sean – a Visiting Fellow and Honorary Doctor of Business at Solent University – will fully fund the new facility and help boost graduate employability by up to 15%, thanks to a number of project opportunities with established and start-up businesses once the centre opens.

Sean is the founder and CEO of several technology companies including the enterprise digitalisation software, Scopeworker, which recently signed a deal with US telecoms carrier, Sprint, to digitalise their multi-billion dollar 5G deployment. Bringing with him unrivalled knowledge and experience in the technology industry, Sean will be providing support to the centre, working to ensure it offers the very best equipment whilst supporting students as they engage with private enterprises.

Sean explained: “British universities are increasingly driving the nation’s rapid growth in technology-based industries.  Britain is perfectly positioned to becoming the world’s next Silicon Valley.  This relatively small donation is a contribution to supporting the next generation of British tech entrepreneurs. It is also a thank you to Solent University for being the launch pad for my career.”

Theo Paphitis, Chancellor of Solent University, said: “Sean’s philanthropic support, guidance and leadership has been instrumental in the University being able to offer this new teaching and learning environment.“This donation will enable our students to not only develop high-quality skills through a range of really interesting activities, but also access to opportunities for them to deliver commissioned commercial projects and services to meet the needs of the industry. A key skill when you’re engaging with the business sector.”

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, added: “The Sean Yazbeck Centre for Digital Innovation comes at an exciting time for Southampton and the wider Solent region. In a hugely fast-paced industry, it is crucial that our students have access to technologies that will expand their skill-set and see them through into employment.”

The centre will build on the success of the University’s other similar initiatives, including Solent Creatives and Solent Productions.

 Solent is: 

  • Holder of TEF silver in recognition of the University’s excellent teaching (OfS, 2018)
  • Highly rated for teaching, inclusivity, facilities and student employability (QS World University Rankings, 2017)
  • 12th out of 124 in the country for boosting graduate earnings (The Economist, based on LEO data, 2015/16)
  • Home to world-leading research in communication, cultural and media studies, and art and design (REF, 2014)
  • In the top 10 UK institutions for number of graduate start-ups created, three years running (HE-BCI, 2017/18)
  • Winner of the Times Higher Education (THE) ‘Most Improved Student Experience’ Award 2015
  • Recognised in the 2019 THE University Impact Rankings for gender equality, reducing inequalities and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions