Venturefest North West

‘Bringing together the region’s innovators, entrepreneurs and investors’

Venturefest North West brings together the region’s innovators, entrepreneurs and investors. It’s an ideal opportunity to connect with people from around the region, find growth opportunities and be inspired. The event is a mix of speakers, workshops, exhibitors and networking opportunities.

When? 13th September 2018

Where? Manchester Central

You can find our more and sign up to attend the event on the Venturefest North West website.

Innovation Showcase Competition

At the centre of the event is the Innovation Showcase Competition. The competition is the perfect opportunity for North West businesses to promote their latest products, services and innovations to an audience of potential customers, partners and funders. There are four categories – Product Innovation, Service Innovation, Digital Innovation, and Innovative Established Business. Shortlisted businesses will present at the event. Winners will receive business support packages worth thousands of pounds.

To find out more and enter the competition, please visit the Venturefest North West website. Entries close: 16th July.

You’re invited to the Velo Holidays Launch!

Be part of the launch of Dan Ghita’s business.

From student to business owner – Dan Ghita and the story of finding your calling through people.

Dan Ghita is a Lancaster University first degree graduate with an interesting story behind becoming a business owner. Having moved to the UK 4 years ago, he has gone from working for IBM as a salesman to crossing Europe on his bike, and most recently starting a cycling tour business. Join him to celebrate the launch of Velo Holidays and to hear how people drove him to become an entrepreneur.

Date: Monday 16th of July

Time: 3-5pm

Location: Lancaster University Campus, Charles Carter Building, Room A15 – LA1 4YR

Parking: Visitor Parking G – by the Management School

Food: Traditional Romanian Cuisine and drinks included.

Special on the day discount for all participants to any cycling tours provided by Velo Holidays! 

If you would like to attend the launch please register here.

Pitch@Palace 10.0

Applications open

Founded by the Duke of York in 2014, Pitch@Palace aims to support and connect entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses with potential supporters including CEOs, influencers, panels, mentors and business partners. There will be three regional events across the country and winners from each will be invited to a bootcamp, with the final taking place in November.

To find out more and apply, please visit the Pitch@Palace website.

If you are interested in applying, please also let us know so that we can help to support your application.

Apply for the eBay Doers Scheme

Brilliant business idea which could work on eBay?

The Guardian Labs and eBay are looking for 15 individuals or teams of two with an exciting new idea or one which is already in development to join their new eBay Doers scheme.

The chosen entrepreneurs will receive 10 weeks of mentorship from a leading industry expert and £500 PayPal credit to help build their business, a photoshoot for their product and additional support and promotion on eBay worth over £200.

To find out more and apply, please visit The Guardian’s website.

Applications close: 17th July 

Varsity Pitch 2018

Win £10,000 for your business

Varsity Pitch 2018  hosted by NACUE and Tata is on the hunt for the best student and graduate business ideas across the UK. The competition involves three stages including a public vote, bootcamp and grand final. Up for grabs is a £10,000 equity free cash prize, a chance to practice your pitching and opportunity for networking.

The competition is open to any current students at a UK university or college or anyone who has graduated after 2013. There are a number of different categories which can be entered – to find our more and apply visit the NACUE website.

New Enterprise Clinics!

Coffee and a chat with an experienced entrepreneur

This week sees the first of our new weekly Enterprise ‘Clinics’ with entrepreneur Richard Baguley (LinkedIn).

Richard is Managing Director of GDR Public Relations and has 25 years’ experience in the PR & Communications industry for major blue chip brands. Richard is also a part-time tutor within the Lancaster University Management School.

This drop-in session will be a chance for you to come along and pick Richard’s brains – whatever stage you may be at please come along to have a chat with Richard about your idea, seek advice or discuss your progress.

We are looking to host this clinic with Richard on a weekly basis, rotating around campus locations. This week it will be hosted in Bowland Bar on Friday (4th May), 2-4pm. Let us know if you’re coming via email or Target Connect! Future dates will be added to our calendar as and when they are confirmed.

Coffees are on Richard!

Funding Update: Charles Rogers

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Last year, final year BA Hons Management & Entrepreneurship student, Charles Rogers, received funding from the Lancaster University Enterprise Fund in order to develop his startup, Cloudline. Cloudline is an app based platform which enables users to queue for nightclubs, without actually standing in line.  Here he shares an update on Cloudline and what’s changed for him in recent months.

Since the funding a lot has happened for Cloudline. We have been rolling out to The Deltic Group’s clubs. We’ve encountered a few issues along the way but we’ve been able to get around these one way or another. Working with The Deltic Group has attracted the attention of other companies such as Merlin Entertainment who we’re currently in talks with, as well as several airports in Europe. We’ve taken onboard a new team member, Florian Wiedmann, former employee of EY. As of March we have been raising a seed funding round for £250,000, of which we have completed 50% of the round. The money will go towards employing two more programmers, a programmatic marketer and moving the project down to London.

The funding enabled me to draft a terms & conditions document with Stephen Wright from Morecambe’s Wright & Lord solicitors, enabling us to have a legal contract to sign between each business we implement the app with. It also helped us to learn the process of drafting legal documents with a lawyer, a valuable skill for the future. The validation of Santander standing behind this project has also considerably helped gain interest from potential clients and get meetings.

As a result of the above, we have been able to gain confidence from investors to secure funding and I have been able to meet with highly experienced people in the entertainment and app development industries. These factors have all had knock on effects which in turn have lead to more investor interest and further meetings with industry experts to help us refine our product and to explore different potential avenues which this project can go down. As things currently stand we will be moving to London mid June and couldn’t be more excited for the future of this project.

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The Lancaster University Enterprise Fund is available through our partnership with Santander Universities. If you’re interested in applying for a maximum of £500, find out more here

Enhance your skills through Design Thinking

New term…. New series of Design Sprints!

Do you want to become more employable by demonstrating you have experience applying 21st century skills?

Are you an entrepreneur – or an entrepreneur in the making- who wants to develop a business idea?

Join our Design Thinking Sprints this term and gain experience of applying Design Thinking to a real project.


What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is an approach to innovation that is sought after by employers and invaluable for entrepreneurs. It transforms the way you approach the world when imagining and creating new solutions for the future, based on empathy, collaboration and experimentation. Design Thinking is relevant to all as a life skill and transferable as an approach within many contexts, disciplines and organisations.

Whether you are just looking for a new way to enhance your creativity, innovation, collaboration and communication skills or are interested in becoming a more innovative and systematic entrepreneur, this series of Wednesday afternoon workshops are not to be missed!

You will learn the fundamentals of Design Thinking and gain hands-on experience of applying it to real world problems. Below is an overview of the three sprint sessions including links to sign up through Target Connect. Don’t worry if you are unable to attend all three sessions, each can be attended as a standalone session too. The first session takes place next Wednesday, 25th of April, please sign up through Target Connect.

1: The Process

Session 1. Design Thinking Sprint – The Design Thinking process / Shaping a useful challenge

Wednesday the 25th of April at 14:00 – 17:00

Location: Bowland North SR 07

In the first session we will go through a quick design cycle to get you familiarised with Design Thinking and shape a challenge to focus on in rest of the sessions. Don’t worry if you don’t have an idea or if you are uncertain about joining future sessions. This session can be attended as a stand-alone as well.

Book on Target Connect

2: From Inspiration to Ideation

Design thinking Sprint – From Inspiration to Ideation

Time: Wednesday the 2nd of May at 14:00 – 17:00

Location: Bowland North SR 07

In the second session we will work on design challenges focusing on two aspects of the process:
Inspiration looking at research methods that are used in Design Thinking to unpack a problem space, and
Ideation, looking at techniques that are used to visualize, brainstorm and evaluate ideas in order to reach a viable choice.

Book on Target Connect. 

3: Prototyping

Design thinking Sprint – Prototyping

Time: Wednesday the 9th of May at 14:00 – 17:00

Location: Bowland North SR 27

In the third session we will introduce the benefits of prototyping and focus on common approaches to prototyping in Design Thinking.

Book on Target Connect.

You can read more about the Design Thinking process through our account of a previous workshop, but better still… just come along and try it out!

B2B Customer Segments

Different customer profiles when selling to a company

When people look at business-to-business operations they often map the companies they serve as customer profiles. However as explained within a recent Strategyzer blog post, it is actually the different groups of people within the company that should be mapped. Categories may include for example, decision makers, economic buyers, recommenders, saboteurs and end users, and each will have a different set of jobs, pains and gains.

Read more on the Strategyzer Blog.

Santander Awards Reminder

Just a few quick reminders for anyone looking to enter the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 2018:

  • Deadline: 5pm Friday the 13th April

Please email your Business Model Canvas (completed using the Santander Template) and two minute video pitch (a good way to do this is to upload it as an ‘unlisted’ or password protected video on YouTube and send us the link) to enterpriseteam@lancaster.ac.uk. Please note: If you submit by the 6th of April, we will provide you with feedback before the final deadline!

  • Review marking criteria

How the Buisness Model Canvas and video will be judged is detailed within the Awards Information Pack (page 5).

  • Looking for some help with your video?

ISS have a great online course which goes through the basics of video production and editing. Click here to access it.

Finally – if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact (please note, we will be out of the office 29th Mar – 5th Apr) enterpriseteam@lancaster.ac.uk