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London's universities say ‘OpenSME’ to new support for capital's small businesses

A group of London's universities are launching a new collaboration – OpenSME – that seeks to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access the expertise and knowledge they offer.

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UCL Advances celebrates fifth anniversary with showcase of entrepreneurial talent

5 December 2012

UCL Advances, the university’s centre for entrepreneurship, celebrated its fifth anniversary last week with a party in the South Cloisters which showcased some of the institution’s hottest entrepreneurial talent.

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The gathering, attended by 250 guests drawn from students, academics, the business community and the staff of the enterprise division, saw over a dozen students and graduates of UCL showcase their businesses, including:

  • Old Bond Ltd, who’s founders, Art Stavenka, 26, and his business partner Kiryl Chykeyuk, a PhD student at Oxford University,  appeared on Dragon’s Den earlier this year and secured £90,000 in funding;
  • Minimanuscript, founded by UCL PhD student Jake Fairnie and business partner Dr Anna Remington, a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, which launched the following evening;
  • Jive Bike, founded by MSc Technology Entrepreneurship graduate Marcin Piatkowski, a revolutionary new folding electric bike with a range of up to 33 kilometres, and whose stall featured a prototype of the new concept for guests to evaluate.

The evening also featured a live demonstration – and freshly made lemonade – of the UCL Advances Citrus Saturday project, which in the summer saw teams of students from local schools around campus being supported by UCL students in setting up their own lemonade stands across the borough.


Photos by Tim Bowditch


Since its foundation in 2007, UCL Advances has been a pioneer in encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship within UCL, propelling the university to the forefront of entrepreneurial activity within the UK’s higher education sector.

Speaking on the evening about the successes of the last five years and the challenges facing both UCL and the economy over the next five years, and beyond, Professor Stephen Caddick, UCL’s Vice-Provost for enterprise, was upbeat.

“Despite the global success of our university sector the future is challenging for the current generation of students, between 18 and 24,” he said. “We in universities have a responsibility to do what we can to improve their prospects directly and by ensuring we do everything possible to help drive the economy back to prosperity."

“The future is bright for our universities – we have bright people; innovative and creative people, but we cannot operate in isolation,” he added. “To ignore the opportunities and benefits of increasing entrepreneurialism across UCL will be to the detriment of our mission, values and ultimately our success as a research institution.”

Download a copy of the review booklet distributed at the event - ‘Our first 5 years' (PDF, 4.6MB)

UCL Advances would like to thank all of the exhibitors who demonstrated so well the many different ways in which UCL Advances supports staff, students, the community and small businesses. Each has had a unique experience and a different story to tell, but all are successful, inspirational and ones to watch.