UCL News


Take the Entrepreneurs' Challenge

25 November 2004

UCL staff, students and alumni are invited to learn vital business skills and win £15,000 in cash prizes in the London Entrepreneurs' Challenge 2004-2005.

Entrepreneurs' Challenge Previously named UCL E-Challenge, the programme will run from November 2004 to March 2005, and is now open to alumni of UCL and the London Business School, as well as to all staff and students.

The winner of the challenge will be awarded a £5,000 first prize, and there is also a special alumni prize of £2,000 for the best entry from a former student.  The Entrepreneurs' Challenge is a series of workshops designed to introduce participants to fundamental business concepts that will be useful in all business and academic careers. Topics will include how to spot a good idea, intellectual property and securing funding.

The workshops will be supported by a business plan competition, which will give those taking part a chance to put into practise what they learn. The competition will be in two parts. In the first term, the aim will be to produce a summary of a business idea and in the second term a business plan will be developed. All entrants will be offered coaching and mentor support in putting their ideas together.

Tim Barnes (History 1997), Managing Director of Lodestone Innovation Partners Ltd, developed the concept of the London Entrepreneurs' Challenge. He said: "In previous years, we've had entries from everybody, from first year English students to professors of medicine. What unites entrants is that they've never started their own business before but are keen to give it a go. You don't have to have a business idea of your own in order to join - most of the entries will be team-based, and there will be a chance to form teams once the competition is underway."

Your business planning certainly doesn't have to stop once the programme is over, said Mr Barnes, who has seen entries from previous challenges developed into successful businesses. "The 2003 winner was a biotechnology proposition called NeuroDelta, led by UCL's Dr Nathaniel Milton (Department of Clinical Neurosciences), who wanted to create a business dealing in diagnostics and therapeutics for Alzheimer's. Since his win, Dr Milton has obtained a research development grant from the DTI, so NeuroDelta is now a real business with funding behind it." 

The scheme is led by UCL Business with support from UCL's President and Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant, London Business School Faculty, the Centre for Scientific Enterprise Limited, venture capital groups, legal firms and technology companies.

The first seminar of the series is 16 November 2004, but entry to the programme is possible after this date as well. Anyone interested in taking part should register at the London Entrepreneurs' Challenge website.