UMIP student entrepreneur showcases talent

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As part of the UK’s first ‘University Demo Day’, entrepreneurial students and graduates from The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University pitched their business ideas to 160 of the City’s most influential investors and businesses. The event, co-ordinated by Manchester Entrepreneurs, was held on Wednesday 18th March at Studio 6, part of the Old Granada Studios development in Spinningfields and saw eight of the universities’ most innovative student start-up’s pitch for support.

Co-founder and Joint Chief Executive of Manchester-based online retailer,, Mahmud Kamani, opened the Dragons’ Den style event, after which the start-ups took to the floor to showcase their creativity and enthusiasm for business success. Guests included Richard Young, North of England Director at the British Venture Capital Association, Luke Georghiou, Director of Research and Innovation at The University of Manchester, and Justin Normand Entrepreneurship Manager at Mass Challenge UK.

Erol Chioasca, a PhD student from The University of Manchester and UMIP IQuBit awardee pitched on the night hoping to attract both investment and expert advice from the floor.

His software programme TRAM, is an innovative and disruptive technology which allows a faster, cheaper, more consistent and accurate business analysis service, than conventional services. His software analyses problems within businesses 7 times faster than a traditional business analyst and is a smart service which overcomes manual processes. His software currently has a patent filed under PCT application and was voted “Best student tool” in the Automated Software Engineering conference in Silicon Valley, 2013.

Erol explains: “TRAM is a software service, which helps its users save time and money during the first analysis stage of business operations. It improves the efficiency and timescale of first stage analysis. There is a huge opportunity in a high growth market place and there is not a like for like competitor, which makes TRAM a disruptive technology that addresses the problems of analysts today.”

“The Demo Day was a great event that brought together young entrepreneurs from MCR,” he added. “It showcased amazing projects, bringing together people with different backgrounds but common entrepreneurial interests. As for us, we got in touch with a few potential clients, got an invitation to apply to another start-up event, and were approached by a couple of potential investors. Not bad!”

The evening was the culmination of a four-month scheme, ‘Accelerate ME’ which was delivered by award-winning student society, Manchester Entrepreneurs.  The scheme was launched to connect student start-ups with the resources, network and funds the society has to help them accelerate their businesses.

Tom McCann, Director at Manchester Entrepreneurs, said: “The feedback from guests has been terrific, with many of the investors, including Boohoo, making really positive noises about getting involved.  This kind of event really highlights the exciting path Manchester is taking to become a ‘Top 5 European Startup Destination’ and helps to focus on the important role that the universities and academic community have to play in making it happen.”

The event was supported by a number of companies and institutions including UMIP.

Ellie Buckley, Enterprise and Business Development Executive and IQuBit programme lead at UMIP, said: “We have a fantastic working relationship with Manchester Entrepreneurs and we were delighted to sponsor their demo day.  Our IQuBit programme supports students with digital ideas and we provide our awardees with kickstarter funding, access to networks and mentors which can help their start-up progress to the next stage. Events like these are just what our awardees need to develop their business, collaborate with industry experts and increase their exposure within the start-up scene. Monique, Tom and the rest of the team organised an excellent event to showcase the talent coming out of both the academic and student community at The University of Manchester.”

This event was also supported by Hello Work, The Business Growth Hub, Business Finance Solutions, Innospace, Natwest, Chancery Accounts and Co Angel Investment.

Ignite, £10m Social Impact Investment Fund, UK Roadshow stops off in Manchester

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Ignite, a £10m social impact investment fund backed by Centrica, is looking for the brightest business ideas that use energy to make a difference in people’s lives. If you have an idea, we would love to hear from you. Applications will be shortlisted and finalists will be invited to pitch to a panel of industry and social enterprise experts in June 2015.

*Applications open: 13th April 2015
*Final deadline for applications: 15th May 2015

For more information and to apply, visit our website:

You should apply if you need some help to get your idea or business plan investment-ready, or if you feel you are ready for investment now. The most successful applicants will:

. Have an idea that needs a little polishing to get investment-ready
. Be in energy or an energy related sector
. Make a clear impact on people’s lives
. Be UK based with social impact in the UK
. Have potential to become financially sustainable without grant income
. Eventually be looking for investment between £50k and £2m in 2015

The most successful pitches will receive a package of pre-investment support to get your business ready to pitch for investment from the Ignite Investment Committee, including:

. A Centrica mentor to oversee the support programme
. Theory of Change coaching by an industry expert
. Individualised business support and development workshops
. Introductions to the Ignite network of ambitious energy-related social enterprises throughout the UK

UMIP is hosting one of the UK roadshow drop-in sessions at the CTF building, Grafton Street on 23rd April and we would like to encourage people to come along and speak to the Ignite team, find out what they are looking for, and get advice on applying for investment or support.

UMIP welcomes new colleague Dr Simon Howell

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Simon Howell

UMIP’s IP Development and Partnering Team welcomes Dr Simon Howell as dedicated IP Development and Partnering Manager for graphene projects.

Simon will manage and commercialise the growing portfolio of graphene related technologies emanating from the materials research base at the University with the view to either create new spin-outs around these new developments or license them to industry.

Simon joins us from Manchester Metropolitan University, where he was Enterprise Manager at the School of Engineering. Previously his wide-ranging experience includes founding, developing and selling a broad range of high tech businesses including leading one of The University of Manchester’s earliest spin-outs, Intelligent Solutions Partnerships.

Simon has developed, managed and commercialised IP throughout his career and has significant experience of consultancy, product development and solution engineering companies. He has delivered innovative products and services across a diverse range of sectors, including defence, aerospace, consumer, retail, mining, automotive, IT and digital/e commerce.

Simon’s educational background includes an undergraduate degree in Physics, and a PhD from The University of Manchester.

Simon comments: “’I am delighted to be joining UMIP, at my old University, where I hope my experience of early-stage technology businesses, coupled with the management of IP portfolios in a diverse range of applications and industry sectors, will add value and drive benefit for the University and its researchers as it further commercialises Graphene.”

Award-winning creative project unites international artists

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Heaven 17’s Martyn Ware joins artists and world musicians for an evening to support creative communities in places of conflict and war. The In Place of War (IPOW) event, which is being delivered in association with the TIE Network, is from 7pm –11pm on Wednesday 22nd April at HQ Building (2nd Floor), 2 Atherton Street in Manchester.

Martyn Ware will host the event which also features IPOW Co-director Ruth Daniel and Benson Wereje (DR Congo) and guests will enjoy complementary world foods and drinks and performances from Jon McClure (Reverend and The Makers),  Benson Wereje (DRC),  UK godfather of hip-hop Rodney P and MC Fallacy,  Performance Poet Dean Atta,  Bird to Beast and features a Congolese monologue.

Funds raised on the evening will enable the project to develop and secure the required spaces (including building works, security, and decoration), support local staff costs and help with shipping equipment to the locations. The project has already raised over £200,000 of music, studio and film equipment from musicians, TV studios and The University of Manchester.

IPOW is an award-winning University of Manchester initiative which helps to build powerful networks, create social change through creativity and demonstrate the value of the arts to public space, public life and public debate. For ten years the project has been helping to mobilise, empower and connect artists and creative communities in sites of war, revolution and conflict.

Ruth Daniel, Co-Director, In Place of War said: “Our work is about giving isolated artists a wider platform to tell their stories of war and help empower communities through creative practise. Turning our research into practise we have developed a range of innovative alternative educational tools, and raised funds to help create new cultural spaces in some of the world’s most challenging places.”

IPOW was recently shortlisted for the Outstanding Aspiring Social Enterprise of the Year, at the Making a Difference Awards from the University’s Office of Social Responsibility and was runner-up in The Guardian University Awards for its international work. The project was also recently awarded a £5000 Do It Award from UMIP and UnLtd which will be used to help develop the business model.

IPOW has also developed a ground-breaking creative entrepreneurial programme to be certified by the University and delivered for free to local young people in communities in some of the most under-resourced parts of the world. In these communities with little access to education, offering a free creative entrepreneurial programme with the certification of the University would provide transformative opportunities for up to 5,000 young people in each community every year.

Visit the In Place of War website for more details about the project.

Unleash your ingenuity: BiotechYES and EnvironmentYES

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Are you an early career researcher? Do you want to diversify your life experience and professionally develop your range of attributes? If so, say yes to taking part in YES!

YES is an innovative competition which aims to raise awareness of the commercialisation of scientific ideas among the research community. YES has been running for 20 years this year and has a track record of inspiring postgraduates to take their careers somewhere they may not have previously imagined.

How does YES work?

A team of 4 or 5 members work together to devise a business plan for a company based on hypothetical science. Places are provided FREE of charge to most researchers.

The process

  • Form a team and apply by Friday 29 May
  • Part of the team attend a briefing session on Monday 3 August in Nottingham
  • Decide upon an innovative idea that could work as a business and think about which areas of the business each team member be responsible for and undertake some market research
  • All team members attend a three day residential workshop encompassing presentations and mentoring sessions from leading figures in industry. Workshops held in October and November
  • Teams with the best business plan are selected to go forward to the final on Thursday 10 December in London

Benefits of taking part

You will:

  • develop enterprise skills
  • cultivate business acumen
  • create new knowledge
  • think creatively to produce innovative solutions to major challenges
  • collaborate with peers and industry experts using a range of networking skills
  • discover how to communicate research with impact to diverse audiences
  • gain project management skills in the context of business planning
  • learn about ethical, legal and health and safety aspects
  • understand how funding is sourced and managed
  • win £2,500 and an opportunity to go to the Rice Business Plan Competition in Texas

Find out more and APPLY by visiting:


Biotechyes EnvironmentYES


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