The University of Cambridge sits at the heart of one of the most dynamic regions of high technology entrepreneurship in Europe. It is home to over 1,500 high tech firms and over the past 50 years a wide range of business support organisations have developed their skills at supporting Cambridge entrepreneurs.
University sources of funding and support
It is strongly recommended that before doing anything else you look at this page on invention disclosures to help you clarify the intellectual property (IP) position of your idea.
This site also provides links to sources of funding to assess the feasibility of your idea, training courses to help you develop your enterprise skills, offices and labs where you can set up a new business, or who you can talk to for some advice on your idea - click on Who Does What to learn more.
Advice and mentoring
Many departments in the University have an 'Enterprise Champion' - someone who can act as your first point of contact for enterprise related questions. A list of these Champions and their contact details can be found by clicking here.
There is a wide range of training programmes available for students and staff to help them develop specific skills relating to enterprise. Many of the organisations listed here provide enterprise training, but you can also search for courses via the University's skills portal.
Many of the organisations listed here help you access funding to support the development of your idea. Specific University funds include: Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds and Cambridge Innovation Capital.
Graduate Entrepreneur Visas
The University of Cambridge is an endorsing institution under the Home Office’s Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route. This route is for graduates who have a genuine and credible business idea they wish to put into practice in the UK. More information on the scheme is accessible here.
Useful things to read and watch
There is now a fantastic range of enterprise and innovation-related podcasts and videos available on-line including:
- Cambridge Judge Business School Entrepreneur podcast series
- Stanford University's Entrepreneurship Corner
- TED.com talks on entrepreneurship
- Jack Lang - 'The High Tech Entrepreneur's Handbook'
- Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur - 'Business Model Generation'
- John Mullins - 'The New Business Road Test'
- Eric Ries - 'The Lean Startup'
- Geoffrey Moore - 'Crossing the Chasm'
Office and lab space
The University has developed space for entrepreneurs at the ideaSpace at West Cambridge, City Centre and South Cambridge locations. There are also numerous providers of commercial office and lab space for new businesses in and around Cambridge. Examples include St John's Innovation Centre, Cambridge Science Park Innovation Centre, FutureBusiness and Babraham Bioscience Technologies.
External sources of funding and support
Sitting at the heart of one of Europe's leading clusters of technology businesses, there are numerous providers of support, investment and facilities. Rather than attempt to list them all here, we suggest you take a look at the Cambridge Network website.
There are also many national competitions and support programmes for entrepreneurs and innovators. We have listed a few below but would welcome suggestions of others we could add here.