Alan Lewis CBE, the Conservatives’ Vice Chairman for Business Relations and Honorary Professor of ESCP- Europe (European School of Management) visited The University of Manchester’s Business Incubator company (UMIC) and its Intellectual Property commercialisation company (UMIP) on Wednesday 20th April.
The purpose of the visit was to discover how universities are working with businesses to generate growth for the UK economy. Alan Lewis was particularly interested in meeting a selection of spin-out companies from the University and local entrepreneurs to gain a clearer understanding of the issues which affect them in today’s economic climate.
Professor Rod Coombs, Deputy President, and Peter Fell, Director of Regional and Economic Affairs, welcomed Alan Lewis to UMIC’s Core Technology Facility (CTF) and explained the University’s approach to business engagement and company formation. This was followed by a presentation by Clive Rowland, UMIP’s CEO, of UMIC’s and UMIP’s role in the commercialisation of University innovation and its impact and benefits to society, both directly and indirectly.
Following a tour of the CTF’s business incubator facilities, a roundtable discussion took place with 6 start-up companies associated with UMIC and UMIP. Lord Bradley, Associate Vice President, Mark Rahn, fund manager of the UMIP Premier Fund and David Maddison, UMIP’s Designer-in-Residence were also in attendance. Professor Coombs invited Alan Lewis to make some short comments to which the entrepreneurs were invited to respond.
Alan Lewis commented: “It was a pleasure to come back to the University where I first studied. The work they do here is very encouraging to me and shows that the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive and kicking in Manchester. I believe passionately that the UK is the best country in the world to live and do business. The Conservative Party is keen to listen to business, and in my role as Vice Chairman for Business Relations I am touring the country meeting with entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes. I am grateful to Professor Coombs, Clive Rowland, Peter Fell and their colleagues at Manchester University for giving me the opportunity to hear how they are encouraging the business leaders of the future.”
Clive Rowland commented: “We are very encouraged by the interest shown by the Conservative Party in the University’s business relations and intellectual property activities and it is very rewarding to know that the University has yet again been selected as an exemplar of university technology transfer to help inform the Party’s understanding of this important dimension of the UK economy.”