Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Whether you are interested in starting your own business, consulting on innovation or leading the innovation agenda in an established organisation, Imperial’s dynamic, enterprising culture provides a unique opportunity to develop the entrepreneurial and future-focused mindset needed to take the next step in your journey towards making your vision of the future a reality.

Maybe you’re starting out with an idea, testing a new product against the market or looking to scale up a successful business. At Imperial College, you will find a range of programmes, resources and events that offer opportunities to develop your ideas, turn your idea into a prototype, test the commercial viability of an idea, pitch to and network with possible collaborators or investors, hear from industry leaders and experts on the future of innovation in STEM and receive coaching and mentoring from experts.

Imperial Enterprise Lab

Imperial Enterprise Lab is a brand new facility for enterprising students, which consists of hangout and work studio spaces, with interactive screens and whiteboard walls, for you to use with your teams to work on projects and startups. The Enterprise Lab team brings together staff and students from all disciplines, with its global community of alumni, friends, partners and businesses, to stimulate and support the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

The Enterprise Lab team works closely with the Business School to run a number of events, programmes and competitions for enterprising students as well as offering support for competitions, through Compete@Imperial bootcamps and workshops. Flagship programmes include the WE Innovate @ Imperial Programme for female entrepreneurs and the Venture Catalyst Challenge, a science and technology pre-accelerator, which allows you to test the commercial viability of your idea, university project or research.

At Imperial Create’s SW7180 events, you can pitch your idea or your skillset and connect with people from the world of Design, Business and Engineering and the Innovation pitch @Enterprise lab series offers the opportunity to pitch innovations and network with potential investors.

The Next Practice series sees expert panellists looking ahead at cutting-edge technologies, the next consumer trends, and business model innovation.  Enterprise Week is a week of events to showcase the outcomes of enterprising student initiatives across the College, including the Venture Capitalist Challenge and the WE Innovate @ Imperial Programme. Enterprise Week 2017 will include an Elevator Pitch event organised by the Entrepreneurship Club.

Imperial Create

Imperial Create is an innovation community and pre-accelerator that helps Imperial College students to learn real innovation skills, connect with cross-department teams, hear from founders and experts, test ideas and build amazing projects. It provides the framework to take a business plan forward to a commercial venture as a viable career path.

As well as running weekly Idea Surgeries, Imperial Create is also the home of the Venture Catalyst Challenge and SW7 180. The annual Venture Catalyst Challenge puts participants through an intensive programme to prove their business idea has commercial viability, with a prize of £10,000 for the project that impresses the panel of experts at Enterprise Week.

SW7 180 is a rapid-fire, micro-pitch event where people from SW7, including Imperial College London students, pitch themselves or their ideas in one minute speeches. Read more about Business School students taking part: Students show their ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ at SW7 180.

WE Innovate @ Imperial Programme

The WE Innovate @ Imperial Programme is a personal and professional development programme aimed at women entrepreneurs. The programme consists of a series of workshops designed to help students develop their enterprising idea and includes high-profile speakers and tailored one-to-one mentoring. Once the programme is complete, all participants can opt to submit their ideas to the WE Innovate @ Imperial Prize.

Enterprise Lab Next Practice Series

The Next Practice series looks ahead at how cutting-edge technologies, burgeoning consumer trends and business model innovation is disrupting the status quo.  Expert panellists, facilitated by a member of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship faculty, will speak on a range of enterprise-related topics, which are co-created with students, industry and academic experts. 2017 event topics include:

  • Successful Entrepreneurs: Grand visionaries or piecemeal tacticians?
  • Disrupting the service economy: The role of service design
  • Start-ups at Scale: The ‘exciting nightmare’ of managing high-growth businesses
  • Data-driven entrepreneurship: Unleashing the disruptive power of advanced analytics
  • The Death of Distance? Leveraging the power of innovation ecosystems
  • Coffee house to cyber markets: Innovation and disintermediation in financial services

I&E START! Challenge

The I&E! START Challenge is a six month project where interdisciplinary teams School work to commercialise innovative business ideas across various industries. This includes teams from the MBA and MSc courses, who, following the completion of their IE&D Projects, and IE&M projects are invited to participate and continue their entrepreneurial journey by entering the I&E START! Challenge. Teams are shortlisted to pitch their business ideas to a panel of venture capitalists and angel investors for a £10,000 prize. Read the experience of 2016 winners HackScience.

Advanced Hackspace

Advanced Hackspace has dedicated facilities to help bring ideas to life through prototyping. The team also run hackathons, competitions, classes and other events throughout the year and runs a forum on which members can share knowledge and work together on projects. Imperial College students can join for free to gain access to the network of facilities and participate in the community events.

ACT Now!

ACT Now! is a flagship development programme for student social entrepreneurs, run by Imperial College Students’ Union. The six step programme guides students from idea creation to a final showcase in the spring term and includes ‘Hack-it, Crack-it’ sessions, which bring together students from all faculties to identify problems and generate entrepreneurial solutions.

Social Enterprise Support Fund

Student social entrepreneurs can apply for seed funding through the Imperial College Unions’ Social Enterprise Support Fund, which has been designed to help new and existing student-led social enterprises based at Imperial College.

The WE Innovate @ Imperial Programme (formerly Althea-Imperial programme) organised by the Enterprise Lab was a great opportunity to meet other like-minded women over a shared interest in entrepreneurship. The calibre of the entrepreneurs involved in the programme was really exciting. The quality of the workshops is strong, in particular the pitch training. Learning how to pitch well and get the message across is a hugely important skill for me as I'm setting up my business.
Stephanie Hodgson
MSc International Health Management