Promoting innovation and entrepreneurialism at the UK’s University of Liverpool.
The IET has introduced an exciting new award at the University of Liverpool this year with the aim of promoting greater innovation and entrepreneurialism amongst engineering students.
Through the IET Entrepreneurship Award, students will be encouraged to foster links between electrical, electronic and software engineering-based technologies, with management. In addition, the award provides an array of benefits including: financial support to establish a new business up to the region of £25,000, free commercial space within the Liverpool Science Park, together with support and mentoring from the University’s Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Leadership (CEEL) Management School, industry experts and entrepreneurs.
The award was the brainchild of the IET’s chief executive and secretary, Nigel Fine, former IET president and University of Liverpool alumnus Sir Robin Saxby, the University’s Professor Steve Holloway and Professor Murray Dalziel. The foursome discussed the potential of the award in 2010, agreeing to investigate the idea as an opportunity that would recognise the interaction of science and engineering, entrepreneurship and management. The resulting award has a strong focus on the exploitation of emerging technologies as the basis for innovative and creative new business ideas. It was equally important that the award should provide support to help establish a student-led business that had potential for real commercial success.
The competition involved teams of students to examine the feasibility of ideas from both a technical and a business perspective, with a final judging event held last month. Two finalist teams presented their business plans to a panel of six judges, which, as well as including the four creators of the award, also attracted entrepreneur Michael Ter-Berg, and businessman and alumnus, Thomas Lau to join the panel.
The winning team, led by Anurag Agarwal, is called (Con) Fusion, an apt name given the team’s international composition, with members from the UK, India, Pakistan and China.
Commenting on the award, Sir Robin Saxby said: “To be successful as an engineer or a scientist you need to be very vertical, to get deep into a subject. But business tends to be very horizontal and the advantage of this competition is in getting people to be more horizontal. What is impressive to me is the way students in both teams are working together across disciplines and remaining positive with each other, which is what they are going to have to do in the real world.”