24 steps to a successful start up

We recently attended the PraxisUnico conference where Bill Aulet from MIT gave a presentation on “The coming crisis in entrepreneurship education and what to do about it”.

Entrepreneurship is exploding globally and many people believe that this is something that cannot be taught and those that are successful are born with the skills for it. Bill however does not agree this is the case. He believes some of the greatest entrepreneurs – Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates – have one thing in common: they made great products.

He also stated that the single condition needed to be successful is a paying customer. The customer should be involved from the very beginning so you know who they are and what they require. By not carrying out market research and selecting the market segment you will be most successful in you are likely to fail.

For more detail on the 24 steps to a successful start-up you can sign up for the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Toolbox at http://detoolbox.com/ or purchase the book http://disciplinedentrepreneurship.com/

The 24 steps game plan is below



Funding for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Growth research

Grants for innovation, entrepreneurship and growth experiments

Nesta have launched a call for proposals for “experimental research that provides evidence on the best approaches to increase innovation, support high-growth entrepreneurship and accelerate business growth”.  

The scheme is looking to fund a range of approaches through randomized control trials. Example activities provided include models of technology transfer from universities, different approaches to managing and stimulating innovation, networks and collaboration, open innovation, innovative procurement, amongst others.  The call documents highlight economic and social entrepreneurship and return on investment will be supported.

Given our University research and HEIF expertise we expect a lot of interest in this call so please contact externalprojects@staffs.ac.uk if you are interested to ensure we have a coordinated approach. 

The call deadline is 24th February with further details at http://www.nesta.org.uk/about-us/work-us/grants-for-innovation.


RAEng Enterprise Fellowships Call for applications announced

Royal Academy of Engineering logo

The Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship scheme is now open for applications.

Enterprise Fellowships provide funding and support to entrepreneurial engineering researchers, working at a UK University, to enable them to develop the commercial potential of their research. The aim of Enterprise Fellowships is to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to commercialise technology based business ideas from academic institutions into spin out companies. Enterprise Fellowships provide up to £85,000 seed funding and salary support for 12 months. In addition to the funding, training is provided to give each Enterprise Fellow the tools, contacts and confidence to transform their idea into a successful business project or venture. Business mentors (drawn mainly from The Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship) are allocated to each Enterprise Fellow to provide additional support and advice for the duration of the Enterprise Fellowship as well as access to business angels and venture capital networks.

The closing date for applications is Monday 9 September 2013.

For further information on how to apply, please see the website or contact externalprojects@staffs.ac.uk


Work Experience for Young Entrepreneurs sets them apart in Job Market

As youth unemployment rises for another month, young people across Europe are looking for unique training options to make them stand out from the crowd. The European Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Program (EYE) might just provide the way in. As part of EYE Staffordshire University’s spin out company flux has been able to provide young student Manuel Moreno from Andújar, Spain with the opportunity to work with them on a social media project.

flux is an innovative design company that takes emerging talent from Staffordshire University to generate contemporary ceramics. Manuel’s Brussels based role was to promote the FLUX brand internationally.


Manuel said “The most important thing that I’ve learnt is that everything is possible with effort and being persistent. This project was born as a dream and now is becoming a reality little by little.”

The post was part of the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Program (EYE), a business exchange programme, offering new entrepreneurs the possibility to work for up to 6 months with small businesses by covering travel and living expenses. Schemes such as this can be vital to ensure young people have financial support whilst they gain work experience to make themselves marketable to future employees.

Manuel feels placements like this are good to give young people the experiences of living and working abroad at least once in a lifetime. He added “It helps you to grow up not just in a professional way but also in a personal one.”

For Manuel the scheme has already been a success story as his contact has been extended for a further 8 months.


flux director Glynis Whiting feels that these schemes are an excellent way for young people to enter the business world, “there is no doubt that the international experience offered by the host entrepreneur via EYE is invaluable in building confidence and a wide range of contacts which will be of use for the new entrepreneur in getting their business off the ground, or indeed in their wider future career portfolio.”

This was flux’s first taste of the EYE scheme. It has been so successful that flux has applied again. Glynis added “We are especially pleased that our next EYE placement will be a Staffordshire University student graduating this year in photography and entrepreneurship, which I hope will be the first of a programme with new entrepreneurs from Staffordshire.”

Further details on flux www.fluxstokeontrent.com

More information on EYE http://www.erasmus-entrepreneurs.eu/



Engineering for Growth campaign to show the value of engineering to the economy and society

The Royal Academy of Engineering has launched its Engineering for Growth campaign with a collection of activities to stimulate entrepreneurship and a report highlighting the £481bn contribution engineering makes to the UK economy.

Engineering for Growth will be a major theme for the Academy in 2013. It will demonstrate the economic impact and societal benefits delivered by engineering and provide the focus for specific activities designed to drive business innovation.

“Engineering for Growth is aligned with both our advocacy and operational activities,” says Sir John Parker GBE FREng, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

“Engineering already makes up at least 28% of the UK economy and employs over 5.4 million people. It will need to play an even greater role as we rebalance and deliver growth in the economy. We will continue to highlight the huge benefits of investing in innovation and relevant skills as well running our own programmes in support of stimulating economic activity.”

Sir Roger Carr, President of the CBI, says: “The UK economy can only grow if it has the ability to turn innovative ideas into dynamic products and services. Engineering for Growth highlights the vital role engineering will need to play if we are to achieve this and maintain our place as a global economic power.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable says: “Engineering is central to building a stronger economy, which is why skills are such an important part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Engineers contribute widely to many areas of the economy; their understanding of technology and the opportunities it brings is helping drive up competitiveness across many sectors. Engineering for Growth activities will certainly play their part in supporting our ambitions to support talent-growth in the sector.

“We strongly support the Royal Academy of Engineering’s work to help young, highly-skilled engineers to develop entrepreneurial skills to take technologies to market. Small businesses are an important part of an agile economy, and having entrepreneurism as well as technical knowledge of the sector is essential to ensure success.”

The Academy’s Engineering for Growth campaign is available from: www.engineeringforgrowth.org.uk

Later this spring the Academy will launch the Enterprise Hub, a new business resource that will see a large number of Academy Fellows mentoring new engineering and technology start-ups.

As part of the Hub’s activities, the Academy aims to build on its Engineering Enterprise Fellowships programme, which enables entrepreneurial academics to spend a year starting a business.

The Academy also aims to build a new programme that will take ‘the best of the best’ early stage companies and provide them with a long term package of mentoring, training and bespoke support.

The Academy will continue to fund over 130 Researchers and build crucial links between industry and academia – providing the lifeblood for innovation in the UK.

Founded in 1976, the Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. The fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for the activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, it provides independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community. http://www.raeng.org.uk/