University geared for start-up success

The University provides enterprising staff and students with outstanding opportunities to start their own businesses.

There is a broad range of support services aimed at helping Edinburgh students and staff to develop the next big start-up.

Edinburgh is amongst the most entrepreneurial universities in the UK, consistently supporting more than 30 new ventures each year.

Talented entrepreneurs

The Inspire Launch Grow Awards for Enterprise were held at the University on 18 June to recognise entrepreneurial talent across the staff and student body.

The event featured a showcase of inspiring staff and students who had won over £14,000 worth of prizes to help them kick start their business ideas.

Supporting start-ups

Photo of Abesh Thakur and Varun Nair, founders of Two Big Ears Ltd, a company that designs immersive and interactive audio applications and tools, with a focus on mobile and emerging technologies
Photo of Liita-Lyaloo Kaukushu started Kalitasha Ltd, which develops a product that helps women in developing countries to manage menstruation

LAUNCH.ed is the University’s award-winning service for student entrepreneurs. It works with students and recent alumni to help them explore, launch and grow their business ideas.

From August, LAUNCH.ed will be delivering more than 40 events including workshops, competitions and start-up weekends to help students to get started.

Edinburgh Research and Innovation, the University’s commercialisation arm, has supported University staff in the development of 19 spin-outs since 2010. These include MTEM - the biggest ever spin-out from a Scottish university - which was sold for $275 million in 2007.

The University launched a pilot programme called PostDocBiz in September 2013, which offers support to post-doctoral researchers with business ideas. Since then, PostDocBiz has worked with six postdocs on promising new companies.

Developing businesses

The University of Edinburgh’s Business School plays host to one of Scotland’s most active business networking clubs. The Entrepreneurship Club hosts free networking events nearly every week which feature an entrepreneurial speaker followed by a wine reception and networking.

Over the past 18 months, they have held more than 90 events that featured 145 speakers and hosted more than 5000 delegates from the University and the Scottish Business Network.

Informatics Ventures, based at the School of Informatics, runs education events, networking sessions and investor conferences. It organises the Engage Invest Exploit conference held in Edinburgh each year.

On the University’s Little France campus, the Bioquarter Company Creation team is a group of experienced advisors that helps form companies and raise capital for pharma-based ventures. In the past two years, they have been involved in spinning out eight new companies.

The Institute for Academic Development provides business and enterprise support to students and staff at the University, and works very closely and collaboratively with LAUNCH.ed, The Entrepreneurship Club and the Business School on events.

Growth potential

A new £2 million pilot project, backed by the Scottish Funding Council over the next three years, aims to support the formation of 90 new technology companies with high-growth potential at Scotland’s universities.

The initiative is led by Edinburgh Research and Innovation and LAUNCH.ed. A core group of three regional university hubs, based at Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Strathclyde, will offer enterprise support services to local campuses.

These will include one-to-one advisory clinics, workshops, mentoring and support in raising finance.

The project will also aim to create a more favourable climate to raise investment funds, and integrate with other successful Scotland-wide programmes supported by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise and the Converge Challenge.