29 September 2008

UCL hosted the UCL Enterprise Showcase, an event that marks the culmination of the London Entrepreneurs Challenge 07. The event showcased new and emerging IP, technologies and companies, attracting some of the best new business brains and technology innovations from both UCL and the London Business School.

Now in its 5th year, The London Entrepreneurs’ Challenge (E-Challenge) is a series of workshops and a business plan competition designed to introduce participants to fundamental business and technology concepts. The aim is to help students and staff to think about how their ideas can be applied commercially and demonstrate the basic concepts needed to communicate a new business idea.

This initiative brings together technology and commercial skills from UCL and the London Business School, combining the technical and entrepreneurial talents of both institutions to help forge the next generation of world-class entrepreneurs in London.

The Challenge is highly regarded by the enterprise community. “It is really encouraging that universities are launching initiatives such as the E-Challenge that will help build a more entrepreneurial culture in the UK”, commented Dr. Mike Lynch, CEO and Founder, Autonomy, on news that the Challenge was being launched.

The Awards ceremony was set against the backdrop of the UCL Enterprise Showcase, an event that has become a ‘must-do’ fixture in the diaries of many venture funders and technology entrepreneurs, who understand that the best time to find new opportunities is at the very earliest stages of commercial development.

This year, the event provided a showcase for some of the most exciting new companies, technologies and IP emanating from UCL, and covered areas as diverse as non-invasive cancer detection, smart materials solutions, bio-imaging and a range of nanotechnology applications.

With research academics and entrepreneurs on hand to provide practical explanations of the technologies, the event offers one of the few truly interactive forums for potential investors to get under the skin of new developments and understand the enormous market potential for these innovations.

Keynote speakers included UCL alumni Patrick Sheehan of the Environmental Technologies Fund, and Ben Reynolds, CEO of Fixtures Live Title, a highly successful internet business. These speakers were able to offer some sound advice to the young entrepreneurs who had reached the finals of the London Entrepreneurs Challenge, including Audio3, a new company that has created a revolutionary portable audio speaker system, and eventually walked away with the top two prizes. All winners were awarded their certificates and cash prizes by the President and Provost of UCL, Professor Malcolm Grant.

Of the event, the Provost commented, “It is always exciting to see the inspired and fresh approach that Challengers take to creating new business ideas. It is very encouraging for me to see that, year on year the entrepreneurial spark seems to burn ever brighter in our students”

The event was sponsored by Camden Innovation Central, and organised by the UCL Centre for Enterprise and the Management of Innovation together with UCL Business PLC. Jacquie Mather, project manager for Camden Innovation Central, an LDA funded initiative, was delighted with the success of the evening. “The Entrepreneurs Challenge has once again provided an exciting showcase for UCL and London Business School talent. We are delighted to have been able to sponsor this event and provide two of the finalists with the opportunity for one year’s virtual business space at Centa Business Services”, she commented.