Lion’s Den Workshops 2014/15

Almost exactly one year ago, six PhD students teamed up with the common goal of creating an innovative business idea. Being all very different people, we had a lot of fun throwing our ideas together over multiple caffeinated beverages, until our idea really came together. And now, looking back, it’s great to see how what seemed like a fun side-project to our studies has become a real fledgling start-up. Our idea was a self-monitoring health app called CogniTracker, with the potential to aid in the early diagnosis of dementia in the general population. It will be able to track performance, physiology and well-being of users by measuring visual movements, speech changes, hand movements and cognition using smartphone technology.

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Winning the Lion’s Den Challenge in February was a huge turning point for us as it meant we could really start to launch our idea forward, with the support of KCL. We had loads of ideas for the project that we needed to test out and people we wanted to work with, and now as winners of the competition we had the financial backing and confidence in our idea to really get started.

In the last 6 months we have been putting a lot of the basic business skills learned from the Lion’s Den workshops into practice, along with the continued support of the Lion’s Den team. We have been learning how to set up a business, protect our IP, and carrying out market research. Winning also gave us the opportunity to do the fun part of the business; designing the games we wanted for our app! Over the summer our programmer, Richard, has been making a prototype of the app and it’s been awesome to see him turn doodles of our ideas into fun games that can be played on a smartphone. Having a mentor provided through the Lion’s Den Challenge has also been invaluable to us, with incredible insight and fine-tuning to enhance our ideas throughout this venture.

Looking back to this time last year, we really couldn’t have guessed the knowledge we would gain, the skills we would acquire and the friendships we would make through the Lion’s Den programme. It’s been a great experience for us and we would definitely recommend that you give it a try this year! Good Luck!

See the schedule of workshops between now and February here.

Written by Christos Michaelides & Christina Wayman

Taking your business to market

Are you a global graduate with an innovative start-up idea?

Do you have a promising idea that you can turn into a successful business?

Is your ambition to start up your own firm in a global business hub like the UK?

For overseas nationals seeking to start a new business in the UK, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has an exciting new programme – The Sirius Programme – aimed to attract the brightest and best final year students and graduate entrepreneurs to set up their businesses in the UK.

It offers you a place on one of the world’s best business accelerator programmes and also provides a £12,000 financial contribution. You will also receive additional support to gain clients, funding, mentoring and logistical help with relocating to the UK, including visa sponsorship.

The scheme is open to recent graduates or final year university students who have followed BA/BSc level, Master or Research degree programmes. Only teams of 2-4 members can apply, and at least half of the team must be non-British citizens.

For those who are interested, check out the Sirius Programme website for more information http://www.siriusprogramme.com/.

Apply for the chance to win a place at the Rice University Business Plan Competition

Calling all graduates with a current enterprise

Applications are being accepted for the chance to win a place at the Rice University Business Plan Competition, the largest and richest business plan competition for current students. Last year TiE UK sent 2 of the UK student teams competing at Rice University Business Plan Competition, a total of 3 teams from the UK took part.

Taking part in this competition with TiE UK is a great way to access the opportunity to:

  • Receive up to $1.5m in prize funds
  • Pitch their business idea in front of leading academics and investors
  • To widen their professional network outside of the UK
  • To receive feedback on their business plan and pitch from leading entrepreneurs
  • To receive complimentary mentoring and support

In order to apply your team should check that you meet the criteria.

Following this you can register and submit an executive summary here, making sure they adhere to the guidelines detailed on our website.

The deadline for submitting an executive summary is 1 November

If you have any questions, or if your team requires a short extension to the deadline, please contact Helen Sorrell, Chapter Manager for TiE UK Limited, at hsorrell@tie-uk.org.