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Do you have an idea worth a £20k investment?

Now in its eighth year, The Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan Competition has become a key annual programme in the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and has spawned a number of successful spin-out companies including Nu Quantum, Porotech, Semarion and Xampla

Run by Cambridge Enterprise and the Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge, the competition features a programme of activities designed to help accelerate the creation of businesses from University research. To enter, a lead postdoc applicant must submit a business plan outlining the idea. Whether it’s a ground-breaking invention or a social enterprise, whatever the academic expertise, we want to hear about it.

*** NEW FOR 2022 ***

For the first time, Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan Competition semi-finalists will be offered an additional programme of activities to support and accelerate their business idea.

Comprising a blend of round table discussions, one-to-one sessions and opportunities to engage with other semi-finalists, topics covered include customer validation, building a team, investment and pitching. Semi-finalists will be invited to participate in this additional programme, taking place one day a week during the summer mentoring period (August).

The deadline for entries to the Chris Abell Business Plan Competition is 17 July 2022.

Training workshops

In May, postdocs and team members were invited to attend our business modelling workshop as a means to untangle their initial business idea and to see if it has real market potential. Later, after some independent investigation, postdocs and team members were then invited to a second workshop in June 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 will also receive expert one-to-one pitch training in October to hone their business pitches.

Prizes to be awarded include:

£20k investment sponsored by Cambridge Enterprise
£10k investment sponsored by Cambridge Innovation Capital
£5k investment sponsored by Oxbridge Angels
1 year membership at ideaSpace for all finalists

2022 Competition timeline

Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan Competition Timeline

Weekly surgeries

To help with applications, we host weekly online drop-in sessions during the first three months of the competition period.

You can also talk to us outside of the competition period, to receive feedback and support on your business idea.

Talk to us online

High quality mentor matching

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.

Grand Finale pitching event

Finalists go on to pitch their business ideas to a panel of expert judges at the Grand Finale event taking place, this year, at Downing College on Thursday 10 November.

CIC logo

2022 Competition sponsors

Cambridge Innovation Capital backs world-leading life sciences and technology companies with an affiliation to Cambridge, Europe’s leading capital for innovation. As a preferred investor for the University of Cambridge, they have unparalleled access to investment opportunities in the ecosystem.

ideaSpace logo

ideaSpace is a community of founders and entrepreneurs across 3 great locations in Cambridge

Oxbridge Angels

Oxbridge Angels are uniting founder-friendly financing with a global network of world-class multi-industry experts to accelerate and fund early-stage companies

Start Codon

Start Codon leverages the unique resources of the Cambridge Cluster to identify, seed-fund and drive the success of truly disruptive healthcare start-ups.

Taylor Vinters logo

Taylor Vinters is an international law firm supporting the businesses which drive the innovation economy, and the entrepreneurs and private wealth that underpin them

Important documents

It was more than just a pitching competition; after each round of mentoring I was able to refine my ideas and presentation into a form that I can now confidentally present to investors and clients.

Nicholas Jose,
Accelerated Materials founder and 2021 winner

Watch last year’s Grand Finale

Want to know more?

For an informal chat about your entry, please get in touch.

Contact us