Innovating off the bench

posted in: Education, Entrepreneurship | 0
Scientist in lab doing research and using lab machines, test tubes, microscope and every laboratory equipment.

Having studied predominantly pure science modules, EnterpriseTECH came as a refreshing option in my final year. It gave me the opportunity to understand more about how science and business interrelate through hands-on experience, with lectures giving a deeper insight into entrepreneurship in general.

The course starts with a presentation evening, where local science start-ups present their business to the EnterpriseTECH cohort, these start-ups range from engineering, agriculture, environmental science and medical sciences. It’s quite an eye-opening experience to learn about the different start-ups out there and how they are innovating to change our world. For example, the evening included businesses aiming to clean the air of pollutants, make farming more efficient, improve the way biological research is carried out and make food better for us. After hearing from the start-ups, it’s up to the students to choose a team.

The project I chose involved making biological research more efficient. The majority of our team was completely new to how the system worked, so we first had to research the system – we did this using the information provided and by meeting with the inventor. Once we had a good grasp on the technology we began the steps of evaluating its commercial feasibility as guided by the accompanying lectures and supervisions. We started with market research where we learned that the most important aspect was designing good questions to begin with, we found it was best to keep these short and sweet. We then individually focused on a different aspect of the business; looking at; the industry, competitors, intellectual property, pricing strategy, and recommendations. We got an appreciation for the amount of work and detail necessary to evaluate a business and how to display this data in a clear and engaging way.

Another important aspect of EnterpriseTECH, is the opportunity to pitch the invention to business angels, this really helps to develop team skills and presentation confidence. As each person tended to be better at one task than another, we were able to encourage each other along and help each other develop in areas we were respectively lacking. Resolving creative and organisational differences also served as valuable preparation for the workplace. EnterpriseTECH provided pitch-presenting workshops and directed us to resources on how to give an impactful pitch which allowed us to understand and emulate the essence of a successful pitch.

Working with a team on a commercial feasibility report and pitch on a real-life business truly helped to prepare me for graduate life and was often a talking point at interview. My team came from a variety of disciplines which helped to re-create the workplace environment, as well as making for an interesting group dynamic and allowing me to meet people I may never otherwise have.

The lectures are given by top industry professionals with a good portfolio of successful businesses behind them. Lectures covered several aspects of business development including; people, project development, ideation, markets, research, evaluation and intellectual property. Ultimately, equipping students with a strong base should they wish to enter into entrepreneurship upon graduation. The lectures allow for wider discussion resulting in a more interactive and dynamic learning experience with debates becoming an often occurrence. While individual assignments give students the opportunity to assimilate the ideas from the lectures and apply the principles to business scenarios.

Working closely with your business and industry-accomplished supervisors allows for a more personalised approach for understanding entrepreneurship and what it means to be an entrepreneur. They pass on insights into how to find and analyse resources to predict how a company will perform and provide an appreciation for the challenges involved in building a business and how to overcome them.

Since participating in EnterpriseTECH I have worked closely with start-ups, which the programme has greatly aided. I regularly refer back to the information and framework which I was taught in order to progress and ensure I am making the correct strategic decisions, as such I am very grateful to be apart of the program.

Overall, EnterpriseTECH not only equips students with the initial tools and know-how to start a successful journey in entrepreneurship but also aids professional development. I would highly recommend EnterpriseTECH to a range of students, whether interested in entrepreneurship or simply undecided on a career path, EnterpriseTECH will equip you with real-world skills and experiences that will serve you well for life as a graduate.

Emma Pope

Emma Pope

Emma read Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, graduating in 2018. Since graduating she has gone on to work with startups in a marketing capacity, worked in communications at the UN and has recently joined Deloitte as an Associate in Forensic Analytics, where she hopes to continue innovating and growing. Emma Pope participated in the 2018 EnterpriseTECH Undergraduate Programme.
Emma Pope
Emma Pope

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