UCL News


2007 London Entrepreneurs' Challenge awards

16 March 2007

UCL hosted the UCL Enterprise Showcase on Monday, marking the culmination of the London Entrepreneurs' Challenge 2007.

E-Challenge On display was a selection of new intellectual property (IP), technologies and companies emerging from UCL, attracting some of the best new business brains and technology innovations from both UCL and the London Business School.

Now in its fifth year, the London Entrepreneurs' Challenge (E-Challenge) is a series of workshops and a business plan competition designed to introduce participants to fundamental business and technology concepts. The aim is to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs at UCL and the London Business School by helping students and staff to think about how their ideas can be applied commercially and demonstrating the basic concepts needed to communicate a new business idea.

The initiative brings together technological and commercial skills from UCL and the London Business School, combining the technical and entrepreneurial talents of both institutions to help forge the next generation of world-class entrepreneurs in London. The Challenge is highly regarded by the enterprise community. Dr Mike Lynch, CEO and Founder of Autonomy, an internet software company, said: "It is really encouraging that universities are launching initiatives such as the E-Challenge that will help build a more entrepreneurial culture in the UK."

With research academics and entrepreneurs on hand to provide practical explanations of the technologies, the event offered an interactive forum for potential investors to get under the skin of new developments and understand the enormous market potential for these innovations.

Keynote speakers included UCL alumni Patrick Sheehan of the Environmental Technologies Fund, and Ben Reynolds, CEO of Fixtures Live Title, a highly successful internet business.

Among the winners in the competition was Audio3, a new company that has created a revolutionary portable audio speaker system, which was awarded the top two prizes. Bradford Backus (UCL Ear Institute) started work on the small but high quality speaker system when he was at MIT in the US. He praised the E-Challenge scheme:

"One of the nice things about this programme is that it provides mentorship by a range of experienced people from the business community. The main benefit is the people you get to meet, who can help you out further down the product development line."

The prize money will enable Mr Backus to file for a range of EU patents associated with the speaker system, to develop the system into a manufacturable product and to build a web storefront.

All winners were awarded their certificates and cash prizes by the President and Provost of UCL, Professor Malcolm Grant. Professor Grant said of the event: "It is always exciting to see the inspired and fresh approach that Challengers take to creating new business ideas. It is very encouraging for me to see that, year on year, the entrepreneurial spark seems to burn ever brighter in our students".

The event was sponsored by Innovation Central and The Centre for Scientific Enterprise, UCL and the London Business School, and organised by the UCL Centre for Enterprise and the Management of Innovation and UCL Business Plc.

To find out more follow the links at the bottom of this report.