Innovation and entrepreneurship at the Business School

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Entrepreneurship is an avid interest of mine, so I thought I would share some of the opportunities available at Imperial that I've taken advantage of and are unique to Imperial.

Imperial Enterprise Lab

The Imperial Enterprise Lab is a hub for all things entrepreneurship at Imperial. It plays host to dozens of startups in varying stages of planning, trialling and funding. The Enterprise Lab is unique in that much of its services are offered to anyone, for free.

It doesn't take equity like many university incubators, and any student can come down to the lab to work, receive advice, or network with other founders (plus they have a mini-fridge with beer brewed by past founders!). There's a big emphasis on community and a "hack" mentality, rather than it being an exclusive club only for the most obviously commercially viable ideas.

HackSpace

Imperial also has its own "HackSpace" in which you'll find prototyping, modelling and fabrication spaces with much of the most advanced equipment and software that you can find. There are regular workshops and opportunities to bounce ideas off resident experts.

There's an incredible diversity in the ideas being worked on, but if you are particularly interested in the medical or software spheres, there will be no shortage of co-founders to work with!

Pitch & Mix

There's a multitude of events run for entrepreneurs, many of them by the Enterprise Lab. One of the stand-outs is the monthly Pitch & Mix event, where founders get a couple of minutes to stand up in front of a crowd of 100+ students and lay out their business, take questions, and look for co-founders or required expertise.

Afterwards everyone piles into a room for pizza, drinks and earnest discussion about the ideas presented! In tandem, there are various pitching competitions offering cash prizes to proposals judged best by guests from top venture capital firms and investment banks. Anyone can present, and many of the businesses that are successful actually came out of team projects required for modules.

Teaching entrepreneurship

Linking to the previous point, there's a noticeable emphasis on entrepreneurship even within the core teaching. I can only speak to the MSc Management programme which I am studying, but we had the opportunity to work for five weeks on a fully fledged business pitch as part of our Marketing Decisions module, and create both live and video presentations.

As part of Strategic Management, we presented on market entry and disruptive innovations, with many students continuing to work on ideas outside of the coursework. On top of all of that, there are specific electives offered for many courses as part of the Innovation specialism of the MSc Management electives.

The MBA students take this up a notch, with multiple businesses being set up within the first half of term, and MBA Connect plus the Entrepreneurial Journey offering specific opportunities to trial out ideas.

If you are really set on starting something of your own, there's even a whole programme called MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management taught by successful professors, entrepreneurs and experts in the field.

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Eoin O'Kane

About Eoin O'Kane

MSc Management
Eoin O'Kane is studying our MSc Management programme.