Innovators from across the Imperial College London community have started a five-week business accelerator course at the Imperial White City Incubator.
Teams taking part in the Imperial White City Innovators’ Programme, run in partnership with NatWest, are working on technologies ranging from a novel treatment for recurrent infections, through VR-guided drones designed to work in confined spaces or on dangerous assignments, to sustainable fashion in reprintable t-shirts.
At the opening session, teams pitched their business for five minutes – for many it was the first time they’d stood up in front of an audience of peers to do so.
The programme offers individual mentorship to the teams from a panel of experienced industry professionals, alongside thrice-weekly sessions on topics covering business planning, raising funds, sales and marketing, managing a startup team and growing a startup.
This year’s cohort is notable as 50% of the teams involved have female founders – a first for the White City Innovators’ Programme.
Graham Hewson, Head of Incubation, Imperial Enterprise Division, said:
“Applications were extremely competitive this round and I’m thrilled to see such a high quality cohort for this session of the Innovators’ Programme. We have teams drawn from staff, students and alumni of Imperial, as well as from the local community in Hammersmith and Fulham, which highlights the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem we enjoy at Imperial.”
Niki Göransson is the founder of Studio Lara, a company developing child friendly materials for STEAM education. With experience in design, but no business background she was excited to join the Innovators’ Programme to broaden her skills.
“As a sole-founder I feel that this programme is designed perfectly for me, so I get the basics right. I see the programme and the other teams as my safety-net, where I can learn, ask questions, and get support.”
The Innovators’ Programme will conclude with a pitch event on the 13 June, where the teams will present in front of a panel of judges, including NatWest Chief Operating Officer James Holian, for a chance to win a share of over £10,000 of cash and in-kind support.