Discovery Fund

Want to explore your idea and see if it has real potential? The Discovery Fund could provide just the support you’re looking for. Start small, dream big and learn the practical skills you need to test new business ideas. 

Applications are now closed. 

What is the Discovery Fund?

The Discovery Fund is an experiential learning programme that provides specialist training and micro grants of £250 for students and recent alumni who want to explore and test an earlystage idea. 

In addition to grant funding, we will also help you develop the practical entrepreneurial skills you need to make the most of your money. You’ll have exclusive access to dedicated Discovery Fund learning content and receive expert coaching and facilitated peer-to-peer mentoring from dedicated Enterprise Lab experts. 

There are 20 awards of £250 available and we’re prioritising applications from people/teams that have never engaged with the Enterprise Lab before, so if this is your first time with the Lab this could be the perfect opportunity. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of this programme you’ll have learnt how to:

Explain a new business idea in a clear, compelling and structured form

Identify and prioritise critical assumptions underpinning an idea

Understand how to convert critical assumptions into testable hypotheses 

Design and conduct simple experiments to test your idea 

Critically assess a new business idea and decide if it is worth pursuing further 

Understand how to identify, reach and interview potential customers using “Mom Test” principles

Entry requirements

  1. You can apply as an individual, or in a team of up to five people.
  2. Your team lead must be a  current  registered Imperial College London student studying an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification, postdoc or early career researcher or recent alumni from the last three years. (graduated no earlier than 2018).
  3. You must not have previously received any seed funding.

You can find more information on our entry requirements in our programme terms and conditions.

Key dates

3 March 2022 11pm
Deadline for all Discovery Fund applications 
14 March 2022

2022 Discovery Fund cohort announced

17 March 2022

Welcome and orientation session

The successful teams will attend an online induction session to meet the cohort and programme team, and receive an introduction to the programme.

All teams will then be expected to complete the ‘Assumptions Mapping’ session of the online learning module ‘Testing Business Ideas’.

Week commencing 11 April 2022

Coaching workshop 

All participants will review the ordering of their assumptions in an interactive workshop with one of our experts and agree which online session they are going to do next: ‘Talking to Customers’ or ‘Designing Business Experiments’.

Every team gets £250 from their grant to test its first business idea hypothesis.

Week commencing 23 May 2022

Peer review session

All participants present their discovery findings, what they’ve learned about their idea so far and what they’ll do next.

Week commencing 13 June 2022

Peer review session 2

All participants present their discovery findings, what they’ve learned about their idea so far and what they’ll do next. 

Week commencing 27 June 2022
Results Day

Each team presents what they’ve learned about their idea and its potential after carrying out their first batch of experiments.


Can I submit several projects?

Yes! As long as you’ve done the required research on them all (see our Entry Requirements 👆) you can submit several ideas. However, only one idea will be taken forward to the full programme if you are selected.


You can apply to this programme, as well as WE Innovate at the same time.

How advanced do ideas have to be to apply?

This programme has been specially designed to help first time founders with early stage ideas develop the practical entrepreneurial skills they need to pursue a venture idea and discover if it’s viable. If you’re not sure that your idea is suitable then please contact a member of the team (see below 👇).

Do you take any equity in my team/company?
No. We’re in this to help you, and have designed this programme to give you the skills and support so you can create your own company and carve out your own future.

When can I expect a reply regarding my application?

We aim to let all our all applicants know if they’ve been accepted onto the programme in March 2022

I’ve submitted my application, but haven't received a confirmation email. Should I have?

No. We don’t want to clutter up your inbox, so we don’t send confirmation emails. You’ll have seen a ‘Thank you’ message pop up when you submitted your application and that’s it! Feel free to take a screenshot of this message as confirmation, but no further action is needed. 💁‍♂️

What are the terms and conditions?

You can find the programme terms and conditions here.

Can I speak to someone about my application?

Yes, if you have any questions please get in touch with Samara Crocker:


We applied to the Discovery Fund programme so we could test and validate our concept. The teaching and one-to-one coaching were invaluable and allowed us to refine our value proposition, identify our target audience and use it to test our prototype. Now we have a sound foundation on which to build Kladdi.

Rishab Dugar and Marc Matta, Co-founders of Kladdi

How to apply

Applications are now closed. 


Sponsorship Open


Are you interested in becoming a sponsor for the Discovery Fund programme? We are currently open to new sponsors so if you are interested, or would like more information please reach out to Samara:

What's on

From community events to expert masterclasses… There’s always something going on at the E-Lab


Join our community, meet co-founders and grow your entrepreneurial network!

Our monthly social bringing together students and postdocs from every corner of Imperial College London.

Our multi-purpose space is open to all Imperial students postdoc researchers and alumni 5-days a week.

Use your creativity and critical thinking to solve a challenge set by us. Spaces are limited so sign up ASAP!


Speak to someone about your idea and learn the skills you need to test it in the real world


Fast-track your idea on one of our cohort-based entrepreneurship programmes

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Get expert support and advice to turn your idea into a successful commercial venture


We’re passionate about inspiring the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs


Got a question, need some advice or just need directions to the best basement on campus? Get in touch!

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Imperial College London
Level 0, Sherfield Building
(Access next to Great Hall)
South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ