The winner of the 2002 Joint Research Councils Business Plan Competition is Critical Pharmaceuticals Ltd from the University of Nottingham. Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury awarded the prize of £25, 000 which will be used for further development.
Qi3’s role within the competition was both as mentor and coach; we supported the development of contestants’ business plans with our expertise in the business development and marketing of high tech companies.
From the contestants’ point of view the benefit of entering the competition was the availability of the expertise of many of the UK’s leading high tech commercialisation experts as well as the chance to win the first prize of £25, 000.
Andrew Zadrozny, Starpoint Adaptive Optics Ltd from the University of Durham noted that “The most valuable aspect of the competition was the great coaching and mentoring advice that the entrants received. The breadth of expertise that the mentors provided, and their willingness to provide detailed and candid advice, really helped me to get greater clarity and purpose”.
We are pleased that two of the five finalists from fifty-seven entrants were coached by Qi3. Nathan Hill coached NanoCo Technologies Ltd from the University of Manchester, and Jonathan Gold coached Shibden Technologies from the University of Warwick. To find out more about these companies follow the attached link http://www.pparc.ac.uk/nw/press/bpwinner.asp
The following quotes give some indication into the type of help we provided:
David Glover of Manchester Innovation said “Nathan helped NanoCo to make substantial progress in understanding that we needed to focus on a limited number of global markets and develop a sensible, saleable business model. Since the competition, we have found a full time CEO, been awarded a DTI Smart feasibility study and we are in advanced stages of negotiating our first angel funding round of investment”.
Bob Dobinson of CERN commented on the fact that they found their contacts with Nathan very useful. He said “The value was in having someone look at the situation from a different perspective. We are used to making scientific proposals and writing scientific papers, however we had no knowledge of business. Nathan was able to illuminate the dark corners of this world.”
Dr. Ashraf Labib of UMIST pointed out that “Jonathan’s professional approach and wealth of experience was a great help in structuring a business plan that originally seemed to be unstructured. His constructive criticism and feedback, and his ability to identify critical points were essential.”
Andrew Zadrozny, Starpoint Adaptive Optics Ltd from the University of Durham said “The help that Qi3 provided in pointing me in the direction of realistic markets, and the discussions about the size and rate of growth of the company, were particularly useful.”
To find out more about the services that Qi3 offers please visit the Services section of our website.
From the Research Councils point of view the aim of this competition was to stimulate academics into thinking about commercialising British funded science, and to help entrepreneurial researchers from across the UK science base find successful routes to marketplace for their research.
Bob Dobinson, of CERN concluded his comments by saying “The competition provided an excellent source of preparation for starting up your own company. An excellent and compact course coupled with an extensive network of highly professional support and mentoring clearly showed the participants how to get out of the lab and into the market. Taking part in the competition was a very interesting and enjoyable experience. We came away with the feeling we had learned a lot. It was fun and as a result we are looking seriously at what we can spin off.”
To find out more about the Research Councils visit