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

Our Postdoc Business Plan Competition has become a key annual event in the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and has spawned a number of successful spin-out companies. In 2020 the competition was renamed to honour the life and career of the late Chris Abell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Professor of Biological Chemistry. 

Run by Cambridge Enterprise and the Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge, this is the event for University postdocs who are aspiring entrepreneurs. Whether it’s a ground-breaking invention or a social enterprise, whatever your academic expertise, we want to hear from you. To enter, you must submit a business plan outlining your idea. It does not 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.

Watch the launch event here

We launched this year’s competition on Wednesday 28 April, via an interactive online webinar. During the webinar, we took attendees through the competition process, sharing valuable advice and answering key questions from our audience. The session also featured past entrants and winners sharing their experience during the competition.


Watch last year’s Grand Finale

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Prizes to be awarded include:

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

Competition timeline

Weekly surgeries

To help with applications, we host weekly surgeries for the first three months of the competition period.

Register for a surgery session to receive early feedback on your business idea.

Register now

Professional business coaching webinars

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.

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 that takes place in November.

Taylor Vinters logo

Competition sponsor

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

Thank you for all you have done over the last couple of months. This was probably the best competition I have entered because of its unique learning nature.

Gita Khalili Moghaddam, GlycoVue founder and 2020 winner

Want to know more?

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

Contact us