Impact report

2020-21

The headlines

Amount of grant funding provided in prizes

£194,174

Number of students and alumni engaged

2,573

Number of startups created

51

Director’s Welcome

Our year

Well, what a year… again!

Whilst the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been visible all around us this last year, one of the things that has truly inspired me has been the resilience, the creativity, the good humour, energy and passion of Imperial’s diverse community of innovators and entrepreneurs. From first year undergraduates, to Masters students, PhDs, postdocs and faculty, all have continued to break new ground and deliver on Imperial’s guiding mission: to translate world-class science into the real world applications for the benefit of all.

Against an uncertain backdrop, the Imperial Enterprise Lab has continued to go from strength to strength in 2020-21. Originally envisioned as a home for student entrepreneurs in 2016, the Enterprise Lab has expanded its support offering in the last 12-months to provide entrepreneurial training to Imperial postdocs (via the Techcelerate programme and newly established Venture Science Series) as well as building out our Experts-in-Residence and IVMS services to support the wider Imperial eco-system from MedTech SuperConnector to the Advanced Hackspace and beyond.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then the constraints imposed by the pandemic have continued to spur the creation of innovative new working practices and programmes – from online coaching and programme delivery

of our flagship WE Innovate and Venture Catalyst Challenge programmes to the launch of Global Challenge Lab 21, our first ever global programme in partnership with 10 international university partners enabling global teams of students  to work together virtually and generate new ideas for achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We have lots more exciting initiatives planned for the coming year and, regardless of whatever it might throw at us, the Enterprise Lab will remain home for Imperial’s optimists, idealists, activists, artists, rabblerousers, makers, builders, game changers, and dreamers.

Regardless of who you are, where you’re from or what you study, if you have an idea and you want to make a difference you know where to go (here’s the address just in case 😉 imperialenterpriselab.com

Ben Mumby-Croft
Director of Imperial Enterprise Lab

Operating Principles

Our Principles

Self-directed

We believe that all students should have the opportunity to pursue self directed entrepreneurial learning in parallel to their academic studies during their time at university.

Idea-based

We believe that all students should have the opportunity to pursue self directed entrepreneurial learning in parallel to their academic studies during their time at university.

Hypothesis-driven

As a STEM institution, we believe that entrepreneurial learning should be based on the scientific method; with clearly stated hypotheses validated through experimental testing wherever possible.

Skills-first

As counter intuitive as it might sound, the mission of the Lab isn’t to create startups. Our mission is to teach students the entrepreneurial skills and mindset they need to explore and validate new ideas for themselves.

Experiential

We believe the entrepreneurial method is best learned when students get outside the classroom and engage in real-world project work, with early and continued exposure to customer feedback.

Expert-assisted

To enable the above, we believe in providing personalised 1:1 coaching and mentoring support. This helps students to make sense of their experiences and properly embed lessons from real-world project work.

Founder-friendly

When it comes to student ideas and startups we don’t charge or seek equity for support; nothing, zilch, nada. All of our programmes and support services are completely FREE to access and provided with no expectation of return.

Key stats

Our Impact 20-21

Number of students and alumni engaged

2,573

Number of Experts-in-Residence (XiR)

50

Number of mentors in Imperial Venture Mentoring Service (IVMS)

75

Total number of coaching and mentoring sessions delivered

2,920

Total number of coaching and mentoring days delivered

280

Equivalent value of coaching and mentoring provided

£168,229

Amount of grant funding provided in prizes

£194,174

Number of startups incorporated

51

Startup 3-year survival rate
(Global average is 10%)

Funding raised across entire startup community

£90.3m

Click here to find out more about how the above numbers were calculated 

Case studies

Our success stories

Improving lives

Charco Neurotech is restoring the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s disease, as well as those with other long-term conditions, through simple and effective non-invasive medical innovation. The startup’s first product, CUE1, is a wearable device for people with Parkinson’s that uses pulsed cueing and focused vibrotactile stimulation to reduce symptoms of slowness and stiffness. The team were supported by the Imperial Venture Mentoring Service (IVMS) in setting the business up, developing financial projections, navigating legal requirements and preparing for clinical trial.

Creating a sustainable future

This year, the Multus team, made up of four Imperial students, raised £1.6M. Multus Media have developed an animal-free replacement for blood serum that can be used to feed the cells affordably and profitably. This will accelerate the forefront of an industry that will mitigate the devastating impacts of livestock agriculture.

During their time at Imperial, they participated in a range of our programmes and support services including our Venture Catalyst Challenge, Advanced Hackspace, and Imperial Venture Mentoring Service and we are so proud of all their success.

Finding solutions to
waste problems

Previously known as Polipop, WE Innovate 2016 winners, Planera, have developed the first certified flushable and biodegradable sanitary pads that disperse quickly in water. This year they brought their product to market and from September 2021, customers have been able to order a sustainable alternative for menstrual hygine.

Endorsements

Testimonials

“Our most significant success was winning 1st prize and £15,000 in the Imperial Enterprise Lab’s WE Innovate competition. WE spend six months developing our product-market fit, supported by experts from the Enterprise Lab. Now the team can confidently demo the platform to civic organisations like Lewisham Council”

Georgie Denis
Co-Founder of Psi by SURU Together

“We’ve had some great advisers from the Imperial Enterprise Lab…. Spending time in the E-lab and having a coworking space that empowers entrepreneurs is incredibly beneficial…We believe that diversity of thought is incredibly important and leads to better decision making – and that’s exactly what our advisers at Imperial Enterprise Lab provided”

David Watkins and Jamie Milroy
DASH Rides

“The time with mentors and the workspace via the Enterprise Lab really helped us get on our feet. Building a business for the first time is no easy feat, but to do so fresh out of University is even harder. The resources the E-Lab offered were invaluable for us as we got started.”

Nadal, Will and Isa
ApTap

“WE Innovate taught me many valuable firsts. My first minimal viable product, my first business plan and dealing with the first of many failures. The incredible network of WE Innovate helped me launch my start-up and get it to where we are today, and the network continues to support and cheer us on.”

Dr Olivia Ahn
PLANERA

Contact us

Get involved

Partners and sponsors

We are very grateful for the support and contributions from the following companies and institutions.

What's on

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

Connect

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!

Explore

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

Validate

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

Imperial’s flagship entrepreneurship programme for students and postdocs with an annual prize fund of £90K.

The UK’s leading university programme championing women-led startup teams with an annual £30K prize fund.

A unique programme designed to speed the commercial development of early-stage medical technologies

All available programmes

Grow

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

About

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

Contact

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

Find us

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