Postdoc Business Plan Competition

The 2019 Postdoc Business Competition, co-sponsored by international law firm Taylor Vinters, and Hardcastle Burton Chartered Accountants, is now officially open for entry.

Each year, Cambridge Enterprise and the Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge host a business plan competition for postdocs of the University of Cambridge. Whether it’s a social enterprise or ground-breaking new invention, whatever your academic expertise, we want to hear from you.

Prizes to be awarded this year include:

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

To enter, postdocs must submit a business plan outlining their idea (even if it is not related to their research at the University). Full details of what the plan must include can be found within the competition handbook.

This competition is a truly great experience, the mentoring and coaching really helped improve my business plan and overall pitching skills.

Tongtong Zhu, Poro Technologies founder and 2018 winner

Competition timeline

Please click the graphic below for a detailed breakdown of the competition process, including dates and deadlines.

Competition sponsors

Taylor Vinters
Taylor Vinters is an international law firm supporting the businesses which drive the innovation economy, and the entrepreneurs and private wealth that underpin them.
Hardcastle Burton
Hardcastle Burton provide specialist advice to technology based companies from start ups to established firms looking for business support throughout Cambridgeshire and the surrounding area.

Drop-in surgeries

To help with applications, Cambridge Enterprise shall be hosting weekly informal surgeries at the Hauser Forum (West Cambridge), The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPdA) on Mill Lane and the School of Clinical Medicine (click here for a full timetable). During the competition, if you would like to talk through your business idea, you can drop by any of these locations to discuss your queries with our colleagues. To schedule an informal chat at a different time, simply send us an email.

Professional business coaching workshops

All postdocs are initially invited to attend our professional business plan writing workshop with Adelina Chalmers, a.k.a “The Geek Whisperer”, and later, if shortlisted as a finalist, will also receive expert one-to-one pitch training. Postdocs will also have the opportunity to attend a free introduction to business modelling session on the 6th June with Ludo Chapman of The Innovation Practice, looking at how to effectively make use of the business model canvas when applying to the competition.

High quality mentor matching

After the first selection round, each semi-finalist is matched with a mentor: a seasoned academic entrepreneur from Cambridge Enterprise’s network. The mentors help to improve the business plans.

Grand Finale pitching event

Finalists will eventually pitch their business plans to a panel of judges at the Grand Finale event, this year taking place at Downing College. The winners will be announced on the same evening.

Important documents

*Please note: 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. For an informal chat about your entry, please contact Senior Investment Associate, James Thomas.