£50,000 Inventor Prize

Got an idea for a product that could improve people’s lives?

Calling all inventors, entrepreneurs, shed-tinkerers, DIYers or life-hackers – if you have an idea for a product which could help improve people’s lives, the Inventor Prize could be for you!

Nesta are launching the prize in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The prize aims to inspire and harness the potential of the UK’s home-grown inventors and stimulate user-led innovation. The prize will support individuals and small organisations to take their innovative products from idea to market.

The deadline for applications is the 22nd of October 2017.  In November, a panel of judges will select 10 finalists to receive £5,000 as well as bespoke mentoring to develop their product. Then the overall winner will be announced in September next year, winning £50,000 to make their dream a reality.

To find out more and enter the competition visit the Inventor Prize website.

Electric cars will be soon charging while driving!

Wired-up roads are the future, mostly due to Tesla Motors, who triggered the interest in electric cars that this generation feels.

Nikola Tesla, a genius will be not only please but also excited as his enthusiasm towards electrical vehicles has triggerred the interest of many. The wireless transmission of power is the future and is now turning into a reality. From a electric cars mat when you were a child to wiring the most popular roads in Britain, electric cars are certainly on the uprise.

These electric cars are in more demand than ever due to their low local emissions, but they are also known for their expensive prices and not having a long enough driving range. So imagine if you could charge them without a plug in cable, or even while moving.

Technology is advancing at a faster rate than ever with electric tooth brushes and smart phones being charged by being placed on top of a pad. Thanks to this technology, some electric cars are able to be charged by parking on top of charging pads, so that advancement of wire-up roads are closer than ever before! Recent studies show these roads with wireless charging coils are not expensive as you think and that the biggest part of the cost is the construction work itself.

Read our official report here.

Startup Summit

Win a place on a Leadership Programme in Silicon Valley

Startup Summit is an exciting event ‘bringing the global eco-system to Scotland’s historic capital.’

The event is a one day exploration of all things startup – looking at the changing landscape of business, surviving in the startup world and growing into a thriving business. Founders and Executives of some of the world’s most successful companies will attend the event, speaking and sharing advice for your startup.

Each year, a number of emerging technology entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges for a chance to earn a place on a five day leadership programme in Silicon Valley. To be in with a chance to pitch you can apply now, here.

For more information about the event on the 1st of November in Edinburgh visit the Startup Summit website. There are also opportunities to volunteer at the event.

Festival of Female Entrepreneurs 2017

Full programme announced

Enterprise Nation’s Festival of Female Entrepreneurs is back for its sixth year!

This unique event aims to bring together some the UK’s most influential female entrepreneurs, business leaders and brightest start-ups, to provide you with detailed and practical insights to help grow your business.

Sessions on the day include advice on taking your brand global, sourcing celebrity brand ambassadors and the importance of loyalty to business success. Speakers include:

  • Edwina Dunn, co-founder of many loyalty card programmes including the Tesco Clubcard.
  • Rob Law, founder and inventor of the ride-on children’s suitcase brand Trunki.
  • Mel Bound, founder of This Mum Runs and Enterprise Nations’s 2016 Female Start-up of the Year.

+ Many others, take a look at the event page to see the full programme, find out more about the event and purchase your ticket.

When? Friday 20th October, 2017
Where? Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa

Northern Stars Competition 2017

Are you one of the North’s most promising early stage tech companies?

Applications for the North’s biggest startup competition are now open!

Over the past two years the Northern Stars competition has helped 20 winning startups to grow their businesses on both a national and international level. Now it’s your chance!

What’s the prize?

Up for grabs is an impressive prize package including:

  • Trip to TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin
  • Entry into the Northern Tech Awards
  • Investor networking events
  • Ministerial roundtable with the UK government
  • Media and pitch training.

In addition to the 10 winners, all 10 runners up will also received support from Tech North.

Who can apply?

  • Early-stage tech startups
  • Must have a product on the market that has gained traction
  • Have raised no more than £2 million in equity-based investment.

A series of regional heats will be held in the coming months, with the grand final taking place in November. Visit the Tech North website to find out more and apply!

Chance to exhibit at eCommerce Show North

‘Celebration of the North’s strength in eCommerce’

Delivered by Prolific North, the eCommerce Show North is the largest gathering of eCommerce companies, vendors and suppliers held outside London, reflecting the huge commercial marketplace that is the North.

Tech North have announced that they will be heading to the show and hosting a collection of stands to form the ‘Tech North boulevard.’ For your chance to exhibit as part of ‘the boulevard’ all you have to do is fill in a simple online form on Tech North’s website.

To apply, your business must be no more than five years old and have fewer than 25 full-time employees.

The deadline for applications is the 14th of July, for more details visit the Tech North website. 

The eCommerce show North will be held from the 11th-12th of October at EventCity in Manchester, for more details on the event, visit their website.

Have you attended an Ideas or Startup Lab?

Fill in our feedback survey for a chance to win a £15 Amazon Voucher!

With the final Lab sessions for the academic year behind us we are now keen to gather feedback on your experiences of the Ideas and StartupLabs which have run this academic year. A simple, short survey has been composed to help us do this. The survey should take a maximum of 10 minutes to complete! We would really appreciate your help with this as any feedback will be vital to helping us to shape our future offering.

Click here to access the survey

If you complete the survey and are happy to provide your name and email address, you will be entered into a prize draw to win a £15 Amazon Voucher. Terms and Conditions of the prize draw are outlined below:

Terms and Conditions for Feedback Survey Prize Draw

The Prize and Draw

  1. The prize will be a £15 Amazon Voucher in the form of a gift card purchased from Amazon.co.uk. This gift card is bound by its own Terms & Conditions which you can access here. We will not give a cash equivalent.
  2. Entries will close at midnight on the 14/08/17 and a winner will be drawn on the 15/08/17. The closing date is however subject to change. Notification through our website and social media will be provided if the date is changed. (27/07/17 – The date for completion has been extended from 27/07/17 to the 14/08/17, T&Cs have been updated with the new date)
  3. All entries will be entered into a spreadsheet and allocated a number. A random number generator will be used to select the winner.
  4. Our decision will be final. The winner will be notified by email as early as possible following the draw on the 15/08/17.
  5. If the winner does not respond within 7 days of the notification email, a new winner will be drawn and the same steps will be followed until the prize is claimed.
  6. The Enterprise Team reserve the right to stipulate further limitations in the selection of this gift card in order to facilitate a decision.

Eligibility

For entry into the draw you must:

  1. Have completed the survey to a substantial level which will be of help to The Enterprise Team. The standard of entries will be determined by members of the The Enterprise Team.
  2. Have completed the survey by midnight on the 14/08/17
  3. Have attended a IdeasLab or StartupLab at Lancaster University over the 2016-17 academic year, The Enterprise Team will verify each entry against records.
  4. Participants are limited to one entry per person.
  5. Must provide your name and email address, meaning that the completion of this survey will not be anonymous.

 

Santander Entrepreneurship Awards Semi-Finals

Santander Awards Semi-Final Update

This week, Lancaster University’s Santander semi-finalists traveled to Northumbria University to pitch their ideas in the North & Ireland Semi-Final.

Charles Rogers pitched his virtual queuing app first in the pre-revenue category followed by Ze and Adam of Kaizen Academy in the post-revenue category. Both delivered excellent, well prepared five minute pitches which were followed by a grilling from the panel.

 

The results were announced on the day, unfortunately amidst very tough competition neither made it through to the final. However, as winner’s of the People’s Choice Vote, Kaizen Academy have been selected to attend the forthcoming accelerator week and have also be awarded £500 of funding. Both Charles and Kaizen were a credit to Lancaster –  we would like to thank them for all of the hard-work they put into the competition. I think would agree that it was a great day and a lot can be taken away from the experience.

 

GUEST BLOG: How to price your art

Inés Gregori Labarta is a PhD  student in the Department of English & Creative Language, and an avid doodler and illustrator. Here, she shares what she has learned from working with us at our weekly StartupLab and why she finally feels empowered to put a price on her art.

Original image by Inés Gregori Labarta

As an artist, I find it difficult to put a price on what I produce. First because it’s something intimate, like a part of my body, or a memory. Also, creating equals good mental health for me and it’s, plainly, my source of energy. Creators out there, you know where I’m coming from, right? If suddenly all the papers and pencils in the world were gone and I couldn’t write or doodle, I’d automatically go insane – and start seeing faces in my wall, like the protagonist of The Yellow Wallpaper. On the other side, I’m a terribly perfectionist artist. I haven’t ironed my clothes for years now but let me tell you I get literally sick every time I see the slightest mistake in my piece. Nothing of what I produce resembles the (perfect) ideals I have in my mind.

Because of all this, every time someone asked me how much I charge for an illustration or story I had no idea what to answer. It could be one thousand pounds – considering that I’m selling something unique and original that, in some cases, has taken years to produce. Or I could also give it for free considering it’s not perfect – what’s perfect in life anyways?

Did you have similar thoughts at some point in your artistic career? Art being priceless, way above money and any other mundane nuisances, or not good enough to deserve some cash. To me the turning point was gaining financial independence by working as a content writer in an office. This came with a realisation; work is great because it can give you freedom (unless you have blue blood running through your veins, of course). But you have to like it, or else it may become torture. I hated my work with a passion – the office environment turned me into a caged ferret and being forced to put quantity before quality when performing any tasks made me feel like a fraud. I put up with it, as I still do with many part time jobs, because, well, I need to, but that made me realise that I wanted to make money with something I enjoyed enough to not mind the downsides – and that has to be art.

I find many artists associate genius with poverty and misery – at the end of the day, Vincent Van Gogh never sold but one painting, and Charles Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe died penniless. This may be rooted in your subconcious too – it was rooted in mine, at least – but as the writer Carolyn Elliot explains in this interview, you can change that. Art and money go hand in hand and hey, that doesn’t make your art dirty or less real.

Just put it this way; when you walk into Sainsburys to buy a loaf of bread, do you expect them to give it to you for free? And when you jump on the bus to go to Uni or work, do you get offended when they ask you to pay for the ticket? Do you scream at the bartender when he’s trying to charge you for a pint on a Saturday night? We live in a capitalist society – and if you don’t like it you can always burn all of your money and go to live Thoreau-like as Christopher from Into the Wild. Time is valuable, and a limited resource, so why wouldn’t it have a price? An alternative would be exchanging your goods for other people’s goods – for instance, you could try to pay for a meal with a doodle on a napkin… but realistically it would take lots of time and discussion. Money is, on the other hand, an easy way for people to show appreciation for what you do.

And this takes me back to pricing. Shall you charge all or nothing for your art? Luckily, pricing can be resolved in a logical and easy matter, so next time someone asks you how much you charge for painting or writing you can give a quick answer full of confidence – instead of blushing thinking “oh-how-can-someone-pay-for-this” and mumbling a random number. (Yes I’ve been there too). This article by Amanda Brooks from the Enterprise Centre taught me in about twenty minutes how much should I charge for my art and – more importantly – why that particular number and not another. If you want to honour your artistic gift and make it a way of living, check it out!


If like Inés, you find it difficult to know how much to charge for your work, or if you’re looking to start making money from your creative talents, get in touch.

Mastering Value Propositions – a webinar with Strategyzer

Following tomorrow’s IdeasLab (21st June 2017) we will be tuning in to Strategyzer’s webinar, Mastering Value Propositons, celebrating the launch of their new online course.

The webinar, which starts at 4pm (BST), aims to teach participants:

  • how the Value Proposition Canvas can help you to create the value your customer wants.
  • key insights, advice and tips on using the Value Proposition Canvas in your strategy and business discussions or experiments.
  • how the Value Proposition Canvas pairs with the Business Model Canvas and its methodology.

If you’d like to know more about the Value Proposition Canvas, and are free between 4pm – 5pm tomorrow, drop us a line to let us know you’re coming, and meet us in Pod 4, Learning Zone.