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Aspiring Deep-Tech Entrepreneurs come to Bristol to learn how to launch their new businesses

16 July 2019

Sixteen researchers from across the UK came to the University of Bristol from the 25th – 28th June 2019, and were thrown into the world of science commercialisation through the Start Something: Launchpad programme.

Launchpad has been developed as a first step on the bridge between academia and industry by QTEC, the Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre and is a 3.5 day taster of QTEC’s full year Enterprise fellowship. QTEC is an EPSRC funded training and skills hub that teach researchers in deep-tech how to build start-ups that are set to underpin the future quantum industry.

During the course of the programme, the aspiring entrepreneurs benefited from a series of taught sessions from local Bristol entrepreneurs and science communicators including, Rick Chapman of EDI partners and Nigel Toon from Graphcore who provided their stories on realising their market for their technologies and Anne-Sofie Lagander and Liz Humphries from local University of Bristol start-up Ultrahaptics who spoke about how to build star teams. The delegates were also given time to get hands-on with their business idea and were paired up with a business mentor who helped to guide them on their journey on developing their business plans and putting into practice all the skills learnt during their taught sessions.

The delegates were taught the key skills for networking and on the 27th June they had the opportunity to put this into practice when the cohort were invited to attend one of QTEC’s Benchtop to Business events. Here they heard from two venture capitalists, David Gee from Boundary Capital and David Fogel from Accelerated Digital Ventures on the ups and downs of raising investment. The speakers were also joined by 2016 QTEC Alumni Neciah Dorh of FluoretiQ and Xiao Ai of QLM for a Q&A panel session to explore raising investment from both the VC and entrepreneur perspective.

After a packed week, all the researchers pulled together everything they’d learned into a single 3 minute pitch about their business. They delivered this to an invited panel which consisted of key members of the science innovation community in Bristol and the South West. After the pitches, delegates were finally allowed to let their hair down over some Pimm’s and canapes on the harbourside giving them their final chance to collect those last business cards that could help launch their company into the stratosphere.

Our aim in Launchpad is to provide a taster for the commercialisation of emerging technologies and inspire researchers to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. This year was a resounding success with the delegates being fast-tracked on the path to starting their deep-tech businesses. The dates for next year’s Launchpad programme are the 15th – 18th June 2020, if interested you can sign up for information here:

Further information


QTEC works to:

-          Train, inspire and empower scientists to build start-ups – fostering powerful links between academia and industry. Leading or working for an early stage start-up is a multidisciplinary upskilling process on steroids - even when start-ups fail, experiencing that environment is like rocket fuel for an exciting future career.

-          Providing mentorship, advice and equity-free funding to steamroll the barriers for driving technologies from the lab into products with the potential to solve global challenges and improve our day to day lives.

-          Provide a focal point for a wide-spread and diverse community of researchers, professionals, innovators, policy makers, entrepreneurs and investors to collaborate in driving emerging technologies into the market.


Applications are now open for the 2019/20 QTEC Fellowship.

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