Imperial named best in Europe for entrepreneurs as startup competition commences


Cai Linton in the Enterprise Lab

Cai Linton, co-founder of former VCC participants Multus Media

The hunt for the most promising student businesses continues as part of Imperial’s Venture Catalyst Challenge (VCC).

25 teams have been shortlisted to take part in this year’s Venture Catalyst Challenge (VCC), Imperial’s flagship entrepreneurial competition for students and alumni which sees them develop an innovative idea for commercialisation.  

Imperial leads the way

This comes as Imperial was named as the best university in Europe, and fifth best overall worldwide, for prospective entrepreneurs, with 17 students or graduates on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. 

London was also named the best city in the world to be a young entrepreneur, ahead of New York City, San Francisco and Moscow, with 115 Forbes 30 Under 30s based there.  

From metamaterials to autonomous sailboats

Among the teams taking part in this year’s competition are Cloke, an acoustic metamaterial for noise cancellation, Amphere, a digital platform to connect artists, venues, promoters and live music attendees, Flexsea, who are developing bioplastic films from seaweed as an alternative to plastic packaging, COMPATH, who are aiming to enhance early detection of kidney rejection post-transplant and Oshen, a fully autonomous ocean-going sailboat. 

Run by Imperial Enterprise LabImperial’s dedicated centre for student entrepreneurship, VCC provides access to seven intensive weeks of masterclasses, coaching, and meetings with experts, all with one aim – to help students and alumni bring their idea to commercial reality while growing their knowledge, skills, and network.   

More information about all teams taking part in this year's competition can be found on the Enterprise Lab website

The VCC competition tracks are: 

  • AI & Robotics – sponsored by Huawei 
  • Creative & Consumer – sponsored by Huawei  
  • Digital & Finance   
  • Energy & Environment  
  • Health & Wellbeing – sponsored by the MedTech SuperConnector (MTSC)

Previous participants of the VCC have gone on to start successful businesses, including 2020 winners Shellworks who are turning waste crustacean shells into biodegradable, compostable products and SaltyCo who won the Creative & Consumer track in 2020 for developing freshwater-free textiles. 

The competition’s final, taking place on Thursday 24 March 2022, will see the winners of each track pitch their ideas to industry-leading judges to be named the overall winner - and win a share of the £90,000 prize fund. 

This year's competition is powered by Huawei. 


Joanna Wilson

Joanna Wilson
Communications Division

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Events, Comms-strategy-Entrepreneurial-ecosystem, Enterprise, Student-entrepreneurship, Comms-strategy-Real-world-benefits
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