Doctoral students attended an interactive workshop last week to develop their entrepreneurial mind-set and see if their research ideas could become successful businesses.

'Ignition: Business Builder' was led by specialist teams from Spin Up Science and Acorn Biz Solutions. The group of student innovators received insight into preparing to spin out, or start-up, a company and guidance in developing an early-stage strategy for their business.

Topics over the two days included: market value, potential customers, competitors, route to market, IP, raising funds and stakeholder relations. Many of the students felt that the workshops not only gave them a valuable insight into start-ups, but also gave them valuable skills which they could use in other areas too:

We heard from incredible speakers and also learnt about some of the real-life hurdles and opportunities that may occur in your entrepreneurial journey. It was very inspiring to see what and how others in the space are doing and how they are making a difference in the world. I would definitely recommend it to all PhDs students, even if you are not intending to start your own business - it provides you with an exposure to broaden your horizons!

Alisha Tuladhar, PhD Programme, School of Management.

In addition to the expert trainers from Spin Up Science and Acorn Biz, the workshop team included:

  • Dr Ben Metcalfe, Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at University of Bath and creator of Equivi Platform

  • Dr Parimala Shivaprasad, Research Associate, Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath and founder of Retra

  • local entrepreneurs: Dr Graham Fisher, Project Manager of Ceryx Medical Ltd and Dr Wesley Essink, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Gen3D

  • University of Bath Research Commercialisation and Innovation Centre representatives

Neil Bannister, Professional Development Manager at the Doctoral College said:

"These workshops, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, offer a great opportunity for doctoral students to learn about the skills and knowledge required to start a business. They leave better equipped to take on an enterprise challenge and to convert the seed of an idea or discovery into a meaningful product or a service. Many of the tips and advice they pick up, such as critical thinking, problem solving, team-working and decision making, are valuable across a range of potential career sectors."

Comments from 'Ignition, Business Builder' attendees:

"This workshop helped me to demystify the process of building a start-up and prepared me mentally to step out of my comfort zone and consider entrepreneurship as a potential future career path." Matthew

“ I wanted to learn more about the environment where science, academia and research meet the rest of the world. These workshops offered some key facts which are difficult to go and look for on your own.” Emily

“ I love research but I want to make it relevant and take it somewhere – not just keep it in academia. That's why I chose a project close to a commercial idea. These workshops provided a good baseline of knowing where to go to with an idea and understanding the economic world we live in. Before this, I was completely unaware of what is available, who can I ask for help and what help there is.“ Uros

You can find out more information about entreprenurial training and support at The Doctoral Enterprise Hub.