UCL Innovation and Enterprise


New guide for translating university knowledge into social enterprise launches

21 March 2013

A guide which seeks to assist staff in UK higher education institutions in transforming their research and ideas into successful social ventures is being launched today by a consortium of UCL, social enterprise company UnLtd, UCLB and STORM® Skills Training CIC. 

The guide – ‘From ideas to social enterprise: a guide to utilising university intellectual property for the benefit of society’ – is based on their experiences of successfully  utilising  university knowledge and resources, including intellectual property for public benefit. It was made possible through the generous support of the Intellectual Property Office Fast Forward Competition.

The guide offers specific tools, such as an interactive scenario builder and social enterprise business sketch planner, so that knowledge transfer offices across the UK can work more effectively with their colleagues within their institutions to build and scale social enterprises based on the UK’s cutting-edge research.

“UCLB is committed to supporting the development of social enterprises as a further mechanism to translate UCL’s innovative knowledge base into products and services that provide substantive benefits of society,” said Dr Steven Schooling from UCL Business (UCLB), UCL’s technology transfer company. “We are therefore delighted to have collaborated with our partners to develop a resource that can provide valuable support to those involved in knowledge transfer across the HE sector”.

This guide comes at a time when there is a rapidly growing demand for social innovation across Europe and the world. UnLtd supports social entrepreneurs in all contexts, but sees universities as a particularly rich source of innovative ideas for social change. “This guide helps academics and institutions to recognise and realise the potential of their research ideas to bring about social good,” says Cliff Prior, CEO of Unltd. “It makes an important contribution to enabling a culture of support for social enterprise within the university sector, complementing our work to support students to set up social ventures also”.

‘From Ideas to social enterprise’ is the first social enterprise resource to offer guidance and support university staff who wish to create and capture sustainable value through social enterprise.