Cambridge Postgraduates in Entrepreneurial Challenge - (1996 competition)
A team of postgraduate researchers from the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge has won the first New Entrepreneurs Prize for their business plan for Vivo, a start-up biotech company manufacturing a new sensor for monitoring blood glucose levels. "It was hectic but definitely worthwhile" was the verdict of Julie Tucker, Managing Director of Vivo.
The scheme was devised to give postgraduate researchers an insight into the many different facets of commercialising the results of science and of establishing a science-based company. Five teams participated in the four day event, held at the University of Nottingham, in April. After a short intensive course in business plan preparation and with business, financial and commercial experts on hand to advise throughout the event, the five teams prepared and presented their plans to a panel of judges from the academic, business, finance and public sectors. Competition was intense, with some teams working through most of the last night to finalise their presentations.
The winning Cambridge team were Julie Tucker, Roger Millington, Alistair Hindle, Donna Freeman and Matthew Steinberg. Runners-up from the University of Nottingham were Zina Affas, Tamsin Ford, Deepen Shah, Adrian Taylor and Kevin Francis who chose as their product a new system for rapid detection of bacterial contamination.
The judges were impressed with the quality of the business plans, both in terms of style and substance. "I was impressed by the very high quality of the people and the presentations and their grasp of the commercial imperatives in starting new companies" said Dr Brian Richards CBE, Executive Chairman of Peptide Therapeutics, and chairman of the judging panel. He was also impressed with the variety and the originality of the bases of the proposed companies.
But there is more to the New Entrepreneurs Prize than simply winning or losing the competition. "We certainly came away knowing a lot more about the mechanisms of setting up a company" said Julie Tucker. The judges too were very positive about the scheme. "If I had had the opportunity of attending such a course before attempting to set up a new company, I would have found it invaluable" said Dr Richards.
The BBSRC gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship of prizes by Price Waterhouse and additional support from Coopers & Lybrand.
- Past Competitions - > next (1997)