Innovation & Enterprise


London Venture Crawl 2021 goes virtual: UCL students immerse themselves in entrepreneurship

16 March 2021

London Venture Crawl went online for the first time this year, taking students on an inspiring entrepreneurial journey from the comfort of their own homes.

Student pitching to a large crowd as part of the London Venture Crawl. Photo by David Baird

London’s biggest celebration of urban entrepreneurship

It’s a definite high point in the year for anyone interested in finding out more about London’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, and this year’s event was no exception.

A collaboration between UCL and 16 other universities, London Venture Crawl gets students ‘up close and personal’ with some of the capital’s most inspiring companies, people and places. 

For the last four years, UCL students have hopped onto iconic London buses to look round innovation hotspots and meet inspiring entrepreneurs. But due to the pandemic, this year’s was the first ever virtual Venture Crawl.

Over 700 people registered across the different universities and were given access to a dedicated site, with live events happening at different locations all day. An interactive map meant each student could plan their own route and tap into a vast menu of live and recorded workshops, interviews and tours.

Students take a tailored tour of the capital’s startup ecosystem

“We wanted to push the boundaries of online events and bring students something extra special this year,” explained Hayley Jones from the Venture Crawl team at Loughborough University London. 

“Taking it virtual meant students could tailor their experience and dip into events all over the city. With over 80 map pitstops to take in altogether, there was a huge amount on offer. It also meant we could open it out to double the number of students than in previous years.”

As well as input from 17 universities from London and beyond, the event was supported by many big-name organisations, with speakers from Barclays, Bloom & Wild and Rolls Royce, among others. 

Showcasing our home-grown businesses

UCL Innovation & Enterprise showcased the wide-ranging support for startups available at UCL. Lots of UCL student businesses were in attendance, including ventures operating from BaseKX, UCL’s entrepreneurship hub in King’s Cross, run by UCL Innovation & Enterprise.

One example was Victoria Ndoh (MA Ethnographic and Documentary Filmmaking), who spoke about her business NODANNI, which manufactures and distributes vaccine bracelets for mothers to wear to track an infant's vaccine cycle. 

Meanwhile, students got to ‘virtually visit’ London’s innovation hotspots and build their networks mingling with other students and entrepreneurs.

A chance to pitch their ideas

The day culminated with The Big Venture Crawl Pitching Competition, with students from each university battling it out on Zoom to win the Venture Crawl champion 2021 title. 

Eugenio Lupi (BSc Economics) did a brilliant job of representing UCL with Greenr, his platform that incentivises energy saving with a reward system. He was pipped to the post by Lauren Finn from the London College of Fashion, who won overall with her impressive biodegradable underwear idea. 

“I loved watching the live pitches, in particular, and hearing the solutions students are creating to solve everyday problems,” said Abigail Oyekunle (UCL PGDE 2020). Abigail developed her business at UCL last year as part of our Launch and Explore entrepreneurship programmes (now called ‘Build your own business’). 

Director for Entrepreneurship, UCL Innovation & Enterprise, Jerry Allen, commented: “Venture Crawl is a marvellous opportunity for UCL students to get a glimpse into a diverse range of enterprises, take a peek behind the scenes and meet other entrepreneurs. A great example of universities working in partnership, too. Hopefully we’ll all be back on our buses again next year.” 


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Photo from 2019  London Venture Crawl © David Baird.