Professor Jonathan Knight, Vice-President for Enterprise, opened Enterprise Day 2024 which took place on 20 March. He highlighted our increasing enterprise activity at the University of Bath, saying:

The University of Bath has seen increasing spinout activity, particularly in Life Sciences and Healthcare, and in Sustainability. We currently have 611 students enrolled on the Bath Entrepreneurship Programme, an annual increase of 40%. Last year we were shortlisted for 11 awards at the National StartUp Awards for the South West region, recognising the successful accomplishments of both students and staff.

Professor Sarah Hainsworth, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, introduced the first ‘In conversation’ session with Professor Marianne Ellis, Department of Chemical Engineering, and Alumnus George Kalligeros. Professor Ellis gave an insightful overview into her entrepreneurial journey in deep biotech. Her spin-out Cellular Agriculture is the first UK spin-out in cultivated protein production. She said: “Bath is the place to be for Healthcare and Lifesciences, and now Food Sustainability”.

There were two quickfire student presentations during Enterprise Day, where students had one minute to pitch their business ideas, followed by a choice of three Masterclasses.

Professor Ian White, Vice-Chancellor and President, gave reflections on his entrepreneurial journey during an interview with Professor Knight. He emphasised the growth in enthusiasm for enterprise, driven by a collective effort. He said:

The growth in entrepreneurship at the University since the pandemic has been astonishing. We have a rich narrative of extraordinary success at Bath. This has helped create a sense of purpose in the University community and a desire for knowledge for the common good. We have research with impact and that makes a difference.

Critically important is inclusive enterprise and we must continue to minimise barriers in our ecosystem. Ideas can come from anywhere and shouldn’t be constrained to the University. Partnerships are crucial to this and the engagement with local government has made a huge difference. We also have the most remarkable alumni network at Bath: one of our jewels.

Andrea Kelly, Centre Manger at the SETsquared Bath Innovation Centre, highlighted the importance of programmes supported by local government in helping drive success. These include START, a West of England Combined Authority (WECA) funded programme led by UWE with the Universities of Bath, Bath Spa and Bristol, and techSPARK, for budding entrepreneurs to start and scale their own tech companies. Also funded by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), Andrea highlighted the FWD project, a collaboration between BANES, the University of Bath, Bath Spa University, and Bath College for moving skills, talent and business forward.

She was part of the panel for the final ‘In conversation’ alongside Dr Harry Destecroix, Founder of Science Creates, Professor Millie Stone, a Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence, and Remy Foucher, the University Relationship Manager at Santander UK. Ending, Dr Destecroix drew attention to the importance of the scale of our ambition if we are to reach our enterprise objectives.

It was announced last week that the SETsquared Partnership, which includes the University of Bath, was ranked third leading start-up in Europe and first in UK and Ireland by the Financial Times. See the announcement.