Entirely Tech


Tuesday November 6 2018

International Northumbria alumnus and tech investor offers advice to students

A US-based entrepreneur and start-up investor has returned to Northumbria almost 30 years after studying at the University, to meet current students and share his experiences in business.

International Northumbria alumnus and tech investor offers advice to students

Chris Jones studied business accounting at Northumbria in 1989 as part of an exchange programme set up with the College of New Jersey in the US. He went on to become co-founder and Chief Financial Officer of Durante Rentals, a business specialising in construction equipment. The company has more than 105 employees, and bases throughout New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.

A passionate entrepreneur, Chris is also an early stage investor in tech start-ups and a donor to Northumbria’s own Entrepreneurial Fund. He was named Chief Financial Officer of the Year in 2014, and again in 2017, by the Business Council of Westchester in New York State, and in 2016 he received a “Person of the Year Award” from the Small Business Administration. Chris is also a former winner of a “State 40 under 40 Award” – recognising dynamic business leaders in the US under the age of 40.

During his visit to Northumbria, Chris met with students from Northumbria’s pioneering Entrepreneurial Business Management (EBM) course where students set up and run their own enterprises as part of their degree. He also spent time at the Business Clinic to hear how students gain real-world experience by working in teams to offer free consultancy services to clients.

Chris said: “It was exciting to come back to Northumbria after almost three decades, and to meet with so many talented and entrepreneurially-focused students. Speaking with them about my own career and the lessons I have learnt by founding and building a business was a huge privilege – and hopefully useful for them as they develop their own business ideas and plans.”

Nigel Coates, Business Clinic Director at Northumbria University, said: “We were delighted to welcome Chris back and to show him around our new offices. A lot will have changed since he was last here. As a highly successful entrepreneur and active investor in tech start-ups, sharing his knowledge and business skills was an incredibly valuable learning experience for our students.”

The Business Clinic at Northumbria’s Newcastle Business School, is an education scheme whereby business students provide advice for real clients, including all types of businesses from SMEs and multinationals through to not-for-profit organisations. Since it started five years ago, the total value of the students’ free consultancy advice and reports has been estimated by 220 client organisations to exceed £1.2m.

The EBM programme at Northumbria focuses on independent, real-world learning, with students launching their own businesses. Commercial ideas are developed as a central aspect of the programme and students are encouraged to explore how to manage and grow their businesses independently. The programme is based on a Finnish model of education, called Team Academy, and Northumbria was one of the first two universities to pioneer this approach in the UK.

For more information on Northumbria please see: www.northumbria.ac.uk.

"It was exciting to come back to Northumbria after almost three decades, and to meet with so many talented and entrepreneurially-focused students."
Chris Jones, US-based entrepreneur and investor

DISCLAIMER: The statements, opinions, views and advice expressed in this article are those of the author/organisation and not of ENTIRELY. This article should represent information correct at the time of publication however whilst every care has been taken to present up-to-date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. ENTIRELY will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within this article or any information accessed through this site. The content of any organisations websites which you link to from ENTIRELY are entirely out of the control of ENTIRELY, and you proceed at your own risk. These links are provided purely for your convenience and do not imply any endorsement of or association with any products, services, content, information or materials offered by or accessible to you at the organisations site.

Discover our Industry Magazines

Discover our UK Regional Magazines

North West Business News, Jobs and Events | Entirely North West UK
East of England Business News, Jobs and Events | Entirely East England UK
Ireland Business News, Jobs and Events | Entirely Ireland
London Business News, Jobs and Events | Entirely London UK
Midlands Business News, Jobs and Events | Entirely Midlands UK
North East Business News, Jobs and Events | Entirely North East UK
Scotland Business News, Jobs and Events | Entirely Scotland
South East Business News, Jobs and Events | Entirely South East UK
South West Business News, Jobs and Events | Entirely South West UK
Wales Business News, Jobs and Events | Entirely Wales
Yorkshire Business News, Jobs and Events | Entirely Yorkshire UK

Datamere Software Solutions

Datamere Software Solutions is an award-winning development company that offers a complete downstream package for gas suppliers. Established in 1998, Datamere created its market leading Gas Management System which offers a modular approach for portfolios of varying sizes.The company has also created bespoke software solutions for hospitality, healthcare and HR industries and is currently working on the development of GMS V4 and GENUS.


Founded in 1981, JMC IT is an award-winning IT support partner based in Agecroft, Salford.

The Config Team

The Config Team -SAP Logistics and Warehouse Management Specialists - was founded in 1994. With its head consultant office based in Skelmersdale, the successful solutions it has delivered to globally respected names give it a reputation as a leading authority in SAP Logistics implementation.

Kieron James


Kieron started his career as a Teacher before moving into the emerging market of web domain names sales in 1999. In 2005, he branched out into telecoms, founding Zimo,which won the industry's Service Provider of the Year Award in 2008. He went on to cofound Nexbridge, wich provides industry-leading telecoms services to communications providers and recently branched out into IP telephony services with the popular WHYPAY conferencing service which offers free conference calls to UK businesses.


Virtual PA HR Services

Behind every successful business owner, consultant or freelancer is a team of support staff making sure that everything runs like clockwork. I offer a range of support services that will help your business do just that.By using Virtuelle's professional, flexible and affordable business support, all the day-to-day things that take up your time and energy are taken care of, so you can concentrate on what really matters to you running and growing a successful business.