NWEST YES IDENTIFIES WINNING BUSINESS TEAMS FOR LONDON FINAL
The NWEST Regional finals of the BBSRC funded BIOTECH YES event was held this month. The competition, partly also sponsored by BIONOW, UMIP and UMIC as well as MIDAS, seeks to provide University Life Science postgraduates with sector-specific training into business creation. 18 teams of students from many UK–wide Universities converged on Manchester for the regional finals. The teams started with a day exposed to UMIC’s Biotechnology business Incubation activities, based on Grafton Street with presentations relating to Intellectual property management and marketing and commercialisation strategies, as well as indicators on how to raise finance. The students were also introduced to UMIP’s Director of Entrepreneurship, Imran Hakim, who was able to describe to the students his own experiences in pitching for funding.
Fig 1. The winning team from Manchester University
The second and third days were spent at Old Trafford Football Club and firstly, students were able to listen to and meet entrepreneurs with real life experience of how they established their Biotechnology businesses and were able to fund their growth. On the first and second days, the team were also provided with expert mentoring services from the business managers of UMIC and UMIP as well as patent attorneys and finance managers. The final act of this exciting event was for the teams to present to a panel of investors. There were three judging streams, the judges being chaired by Martino Picardo (MD, UMIC), Rich Ferrie (UMIP’s Head of Biomedica) and Mark Rahn (MTI partners, representing the UMIP Premier Fund). On announcing the winners, each Chair was able to praise all their teams for their excellent presentation skills and ability to deliver compelling business propositions. The three streams winners were announced as; Somatech (University of Manchester), a team from Durham University and also one from Liverpool University. All three teams now progress to the National Final presented by the BBSRC in December.
The Manchester team, Somatech (Jennifer Simmons, Eleanor Lowry, Deborah Grainger and Shiweta Tiwara) presented an enabling technology platform for the delivery of a product to skin ; the initial application for this delivery mechanism was in skin tanning in a lotion format.
Fig. 2; The panel of judges
“Delivery of tanning agents through skin via nanoparticles (somapheres) represented a viable and compelling business proposition. The team did a great job of presenting the proposition in a confident and professional manner. The team had to fend off serious competition from other teams and it is a credit to them that they were able to do so. We wish them well in the finals and we sincerely hope that all the teams enjoyed their experiences at the Manchester finals and were able to all derive some personal benefit for their future careers; it is a real pleasure for UMIC to host these finals and we are grateful to all the sponsors, speakers and mentors for their support and active participation in the event. ” said Martino Picardo, Managing Director, UMIC
Fig 3; Announcement of the winners