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The Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan Competition has become a key annual event in the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem that has spawned a number of succesful spin-out companies.
Hosted by us and the Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge, this is the event for University postdocs who are aspiring entrepreneurs. Whether it’s a ground-breaking new invention or social enterprise, whatever your academic expertise, we want to hear from you. To enter, you must submit a business plan outlining your idea, and it doesn’t have to be related to your research at the University.
Please see the important documents section below for full details of what the plan must include. Projects must be led by a current postdoc of the University or have a majority of team members who are current postdocs of the University.
To help with applications, we host weekly surgeries for the first three months of the competition period.
All postdocs are invited to attend an online session on business modelling as a means to untangle their initial business idea and to see if it has real market potential. Later, after some independent investigation, postdocs are then invited to a second session on how to write up their first stage business plans, including details on what the competition judges will want to see in their application and why. If shortlisted as a finalist, applicants also receive expert one-to-one pitch training to hone their business pitches.
After the first selection round, each semi-finalist is matched with a mentor who is a seasoned academic entrepreneur from our network. The mentors work with the semi-finalists to help them improve their business plans.
Finalists go on to pitch their business ideas to a panel of expert judges at the Grand Finale event that takes place in November.
The market research we had to do for the competition helped us accelerate our start-up tremendously. We were also put in contact with the most amazing mentor. The connections we made with Cambridge Enterprise will take us beyond what we have achieved in the competition alone.
Simon Baker, Versed AI founder and 2019 winner