October marked the Manchester local finals of the IMAGINE IF! Accelerator competition. On 12th October, the top five teams from the North-West region joined us in the battle to win the chance to pitch in the global competition in Oxford, on the 4-5th December to win a non-dilutive cash prize of $10,000 USD and services (laboratory space in any of the locations of BioCity and consultancy services). Alongside this, three experienced speakers shared their professional expertise and exclusive tips on how to start and accelerate your own business. Furthermore, we were also proud to welcome our sponsors: ReMap Consulting and BiOspace.
Daniel Moreno Martinez (Global Head of Marketing and Communications at Innovation Forum) opened the event explaining more about the continuous work of the Innovation Forum of bridging the gap between science and business, as well as presenting past IMAGINE IF! Events. Dr. Paul Kemp, Director and CEO at HairClone has made a prominent point about conflicting influences on commercial innovation such as industrialisation, changing global population demographics and the financial pressures of a potentially unsustainable health care demand. Dr. Andy Clarke, Lecturer in Science Enterprise at University of Salford discussed an important point, that most graduates do not engage in start-up activities and therefore it is essential to empower them and give them the confidence to get involved in business. Last but not least, Dr. Nan Zhao, Director at Sinan Compass opened up about the struggles, as well as the reward of moving from the lab to real business. One of her take home messages was the necessity to understand the market and clients, as well as face every challenge that may come one’s way.
Then we witnessed five impressive live business pitches from our teams from Edinburgh and Manchester: PhD Fitness Solution, Neural Diversity Network Ltd, Milkkit, NeuroDynamics and Illuminate. Based on the business plan, video, short pitch, as well as answers to further questions, three experienced judges (Laura Etchells, Enterprise and Business Development Manager at UMIP, Ian Cox, Founding Director of IDACO Consulting Ltd & CEO of Zebra Therapeutics Ltd, as well as our speaker, Paul Kemp) selected the Innovation Forum Manchester winner: NeuroDynamics! We wish the team good luck in the finals at the Innovation Forum Leaders Conference #IFLC2017, in Oxford. We also wish all the other teams involved the best in their future careers!
The evening was closed by a networking event, where our participants had the chance to talk to our speakers, mentors and judges. We are proud that our constant communication and network can help the community to work towards fulfilling their dreams.
We thank our very kind sponsors and we are looking forward to organising as successful events in the future. We would like to thank our event speakers for such engaging presentations, IMAGINE IF! mentors, who supported the teams, judges and of course, all the guests who attended the evening! We are looking forward to seeing you at our future events!
Our next event, “IMAGINE IF! 2018: Business Essentials” will be on the 1st February 2018, Manchester Metropolitan University. We are also starting a new series of events – “Pitch in a pub!” on 7th December, 7 PM, Turing Tap, Oxford Rd, Manchester. Do not miss these!