Innovation & Enterprise


SPERO Learn: How to create a business or social enterprise (for doctoral students and ECRs)

10 June 2024–20 June 2024, 9:30 am–4:30 pm

A group of people working together around a table

Learn how to establish an impactful startup or social enterprise, or an enterprising project within a bigger organisation (academia or industry). This is a free course for UCL doctoral students and early career researchers.

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students


UCL Innovation & Enterprise


103c Camley Street


This free course provides a practical introduction to entrepreneurship for doctoral students and early career researchers.

It'll help you improve your business knowledge and the professional skills needed to start a:

  • business or social enterprise, such as a company based on academic research that could become a spin-out or a standalone enterprise
  • ‘side hustle’ that you run alongside a full-time job, such as a freelance project or a business based on a personal passion
  • academic venture that will help you advance your career as a researcher, such as a research group or a grant-funded project
  • R&D venture within industry, such as a new business unit in a large organisation that wants to explore new market opportunities

It'll also help you develop an entrepreneurial mindset and transferable skills such as collaborative working, innovative thinking, and presenting.

UCL doctoral students will receive 7 DocSkills training points via InkPath and the Doctoral School when you complete the course.

This workshop is part of our programme of entrepreneurship training for doctoral students and early career researchers (SPERO).

By completing this workshop, you’ll automatically become a member of the SPERO alumni network.

Who it’s for

This course is for UCL:

  • MRes students
  • doctoral students
  • post-doctoral researchers
  • early career researcher staff members (within 6 years of graduating from doctoral studies)
  • research students who graduated from UCL within the past 2 years

You don't need any prior business experience to attend. You don't need to be an aspiring entrepreneur or already have a business idea.

What to expect

This course involves both in-person and online sessions:

  • sessions 1 and 5 will be full-day, in-person workshops (you must attend both these days)
  • sessions 2, 3 and 4 will be half-day, online workshops

If you already have an enterprise idea, you can work on it throughout the course, either individually or as a pre-formed team.

If you don’t have an enterprise idea, you’ll be put into a team and you’ll come up with an idea together. You’ll then work in that team for the rest of the course.

Ongoing support

There’s no expectation that you’ll continue to develop your idea after the course – although we strongly encourage you to do so!

Following the course, you'll have access to fortnightly one-to-one advice sessions with SPERO tutors to support the further development of your idea.

You'll also get access to The Freelancer Club Academy Licence which provides a comprehensive range of freelancer support services equivalent to a value of £300.

What you'll learn

You’ll learn the fundamentals of how to establish an impactful startup or social enterprise, or an enterprising project within a bigger organisation (academia or industry).

These fundamental concepts include:

  • ideation
  • intellectual property management
  • customer and competitor research
  • prototyping
  • brand creation
  • designing processes in an early-stage venture
  • setting goals
  • financial planning
  • influencing and negotiating
  • pitching for sales or investment

Dates and times

Sessions will be on:

  • Monday, 10 June, 9:30am to 4:30pm (in person)
  • Wednesday, 12 June, 2pm to 5pm (online)
  • Thursday, 13 June, 2pm to 5pm (online)
  • Tuesday, 18 June, 2pm to 5pm (online)
  • Thursday, 20 June, 9:30am to 4:30pm (in person)


If there is anything we can do to make this workshop accessible or comfortable for you, please let us know by emailing matt.harris@ucl.ac.uk


Filming and photography will take place at this event for promotional purposes. The photographs and recordings will appear on our website and social media channels. If you do not wish to be filmed or photographed, please let a member of staff know on arrival.

Book your place

Book you place via InkPath.

If you cannot use InkPath, please complete the alternative booking form.

About the tutors

Warrick Harniess, Managing Director, Scandinavia Stories

Warrick began his career at Pearson Education, where he built two online learning ventures for Pearson UK, managing startup budgets of around £2 million. He pioneered a digital marketing and customer service strategy that created Pearson UK social media accounts with the greatest customer reach, shares and interactions. Warrick also created a customer support programme that helped Pearson-Edexcel achieve Investors in People Silver status and the Institute of Customer Service’s ServiceMark standard.

Mario Moustras, CEO and Founder of Mazamo Coaching

Mario is a leadership and talent development coach who works with researchers and entrepreneurs. Before becoming a coach, Mario worked for the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). He has a PhD in chemistry, and is a chartered scientist and Fellow of the RSC. Mario has worked with scientists and engineers across government agencies, industry and universities. He's led teams through science-related programmes in higher education, enterprise partnerships (especially with small companies) and technology policy.

Read our privacy notice to understand how UCL Innovation & Enterprise will deal with your personal data.

UCL Innovation & Enterprise reserves the right to make changes to the programme, location and/or speakers without prior notice. Such alterations are occasionally necessary due to circumstances beyond our control.