Imperial College London calls on local tech entrepreneurs to take part in its Innovators’ Programme


 

Imperial College London is calling on tech start-ups in Hammersmith and Fulham to apply for training and support on the White City Innovators’ Programme.

The programme, in partnership with Natwest, aims to support the development of local tech entrepreneurs by providing free space to work at the Imperial White City Incubator and training in areas such as fundraising, team building, IP, marketing and pitch practice.

It is about ensuring early-stage companies are ready to take the next steps, from learning about the responsibilities of company directorship to what angle investors really look for.

Over the four weeks start-ups will interact with sector experts through a series of workshops, surgeries and networking opportunities. Each team will have access to a dedicated mentor, all of whom have a wealth of experience mentoring or running tech startups.

The programme finishes with a pitch to a panel made up of external investors and directors from Imperial Innovations and NatWest. 

Application criteria

We are looking to work with technology focused start-ups who are doing something innovative. Teams do not have to be associated with Imperial College London.

Companies must have:

  • Raised less than £500,000 in investment (or less than £500,000 in annual sales)
  • Have less than 5 employees
  • Be less than 3 years’ old

Is funding available?

The best pitch will win a prize worth 10k to grow their business (£8,000 equity free seed capital and six months virtual membership to the Incubator).

How to apply

Apply via our online application form.

Quote

“The Innovators’ Programme is perfect way for tech entrepreneurs to access free space and expertise to help grow their business. We’d welcome applications from teams in the local borough Hammersmith & Fulham.”- Thomas Bond, Programme Manager

Case study from first cohort of Innovators Programme

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/alumni/imperial-alumni/alumni-stories/chris-cieslak/ (More quotes in link)

Since graduating from Imperial with a Master’s degree in Composite Materials, Chris Cieslak (MSc Aeronautics 2010) has been designing and building wind turbine blades. It is invigorating work, but keeping the giant blades – which are permanently exposed to the elements – clean and operative is a constant challenge. That’s why Chris has launched BladeBug Limited, a new company that is developing a robotic device to inspect and maintain the turbines.

Tell us about Imperial’s White City Incubator and how it helped you…

“The White City Incubator is a brilliant facility filled with laboratories, offices and meeting rooms, which are expressly designed to support entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. I greatly benefitted from participating in their Innovators Programme, where I got free access to work space, top equipment and expert advice over four weeks. I also met some really inspiring people and made connections that have been critical in helping build my business.”

Talk us through the basic idea…

The idea came from working as a blade designer. Often there are problems once the blades are out in the field, which means rope-access technicians have to abseil down them – and that obviously becomes more dangerous and expensive with off-shore turbines. I just thought there must be a better way and so came up with the idea for BladeBug – a little robot that walks along the blade surface to carry out maintenance and inspections. I thought about this idea for a long time until finally I could no longer convince myself it was just a crazy whim. So I decided to leave my job and give it a go.

By how many years could your product extend the potential life-span of a turbine blade?

Turbine blades have a design life of 20-25 years, but that depends a lot on how they’re treated and maintained. Recently, turbine owners have been realising that it really does pay to properly maintain their product and manufacturers have also seen the profit potential in offering additional care. My idea fits snugly in the middle of those two needs, which makes good business sense. And besides, bringing down the cost of maintaining blades ultimately benefits everyone. It really is a win-win.

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