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Imperial College launches Entrepreneurship Centre

Under Embargo for
21:00 GMT Tuesday 30 January 2001

Tonight, Imperial College officially launches the Entrepreneurship Centre, a new base for fostering business innovation among the 10,000 students studying science, engineering, management and medicine there. Its primary aim is to help academically trained scientists and engineers to convert research or theoretical ideas into viable business propositions.

Sir Richard Sykes, speaking at his first public engagement as Rector of the College, says:

"Imperial College has always been in the business of creating and sharing intellectual property. I am delighted that this new Centre will provide practical advice and encouragement to students and staff to further develop their entrepreneurial instincts."

As a testing ground for start-ups, the Centre, led by Professor Sue Birley, Imperial's professor of Entrepreneurship, will give students an opportunity to earn while they learn. The Centre is running an Entrepreneurs Challenge which is made up of a first stage Ideas Challenge followed by a New Business Challenge. There are 20 prizes of UKP1000 for the best New Business ideas and the winners from the more than 200 entries will be announced at the launch. Entry for the New Business Challenge is a full business plan and the prize is UKP25 000. Winners will be announced in the summer.

Sue Birley, who leads the team of eleven Centre staff, comments:

"These are exciting times at Imperial. All students now have the chance to learn about entrepreneurship and to try out their new business ideas. We believe that our Centre will widen the opportunities open to them, whatever they choose to do in the future. Our aim is to enhance the image of Imperial as the university for aspiring entrepreneurs and inventors."

The Entrepreneurship Centre won a UKP2 million government award to develop a unique educational model, which combines coursework with extra-curricular activities, skills training with competitions, and interactive networking opportunities with information sharing resources.

Click here for a full list of winners of the Ideas Challenge

Released on behalf of the Entrepreneurship Centre by Colette Hill Associates.

For further information please contact:

Annalisa Chapman at CHA on 020 7622 8252
Deborah Salmon at the Entrepreneurship Centre on 020 7594 9190

Note to editors:

1. The Entrepreneurs' Challenge has been made possible through the generosity of corporate sponsors.

Contributing organisations include:

  • Department of Trade and Industry
  • E*Trade
  • Moulton Charitable Trust
  • Merlin BioSciences
  • HSBC
  • McKinsey & Company Inc
  • ET Capital
  • Bamboo Investments
  • Dr Brian Masterson
  • The Design Council
  • Dechert
  • Nuventis Partners
  • Aon Risk Services
  • Barclays Capital

2. The Management School was founded in 1987 with a mission to work on the interface between management, technology and entrepreneurship. It is already regarded as the premier school for entrepreneurship in the UK. The School has three areas of concentration, which are: Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Mathematical Finance and, most recently, Health Management. In October 2000 the College received a UKP25 million donation from alumnus Dr Gary Tanaka to provide new accommodation for the Management School. Web site at:

3. Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine is an independent constituent part of the University of London. Founded in 1907, the College teaches a full range of science, engineering, medical and management disciplines at the highest level. The College is the largest applied science and technology university institution in the UK, with one of the largest annual turnovers (UKP330 million in 1998-99) and research incomes (UKP173 million in 1998-99). Web site at: