The four of us: Matt, Claire, Nick and myself, all got to the Holiday Inn in Coventry Sunday afternoon, ready to get started with the Engineering YES competition. We started meeting up with the six other teams here, from other West Midlands universities, Loughborough University, University College London, Lincoln, Leicester, Huddersfield, and Birmingham. We started with a discussion led by former Rolls Royce engineer and consultant, John Boyes, who discussed our ideas about networking. We then had a nice dinner and tried to practice what we had learned with the other teams after dinner.
We got up early the next morning for a proper English breakfast at 8:30 for a 9am start of the day's program. We started by listening to a talk on Setting up a Spin Out from Dr. John R Tyrer, a professor of Optical Instrumentation from Loughbourgh University. He discussed types of spin outs from university research and noted that Entrepreneurship was a skill that could be learned. He noted that "Good entrepreneurs inspire, rather than direct, lead rather than manage."
After Dr. Tyrer, we heard from George Rice from the University of Nottingham, who discussed spin out case studies in Engineering Technology around processing of vermiculite and heart rate monitors for babies. He gave a lot of good insight on critical components needed for a good pitch to get investors in on an idea or concept.
Our third speaker for the morning was Jason Teng, a lawyer from Potter Clarkson LLP, who spoke to us about the various types of intellectual properties, most extensively in Patents. We were also able to have a one-on-one with Jason in the afternoon, who gave us a great deal of insight on the way to approach the IP with our idea.
After the speakers, we were given a team exercise that dealt with a series of cards that gave certain bits of information, and from these cards we were supposed to answer two questions. It was much like a logic puzzle that I used to do as a child. We were the first team out of the seven to solve the puzzle and answer the questions correctly. In fact, only three of the seven teams were able to solve it at all in the time allotted. This helped our team spirit!
After lunch, we met with various mentors in our designated syndicate room. We saw five experts on the topics of business planning, finance, IP, licensing and marketing. The feedback for our idea was mixed- we got a lot of challenges to the concept that we discussed in detail before making our elevator pitch right before dinner.
Matt was designated to give our elevator pitch for our idea, which was a bit shaky from the critism we had received earlier in the afternoon. However, he did marvellously, and I personally think that we are in a good competitive standing with the other teams!
Now, we are working on the details of our idea, getting quantitative figures organized and hashing out the feedback we received today, but we don't plan on working too late into the evening as we have another early morning tomorrow!
|The group gets ready to listen to talks in the morning. From left to right: Claire, Matt and Nick|
|Matt and Nick working away in our room|
|Claire and I discuss various ideas for our presentation|