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MSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship student takes part in SynbiCITE programme

MSc Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship student, Joaquin, took part in the SynbiCITE 4-day ‘More Business Acumen’ course “Building a Synthetic Biology-rich Biotech Business from Scratch” hosted by the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology.

What is SynbiCITE?

SynbiCITE is the UK's national Innovation and Knowledge Centre for the adoption and use of synthetic biology by industry, who gave us the opportunity to participate in the SynbiCITE 4-Day “More Business Acumen” program. This program aims to develop future entrepreneur biotechnology leaders who want to gain a thorough understanding and start a synthetic biology-rich business in the biotechnology sector.

What did you learn?

In this intensive 4-day programme we mainly focused on how to create a biotechnology-related start-up from scratch, so it perfectly complimented the Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship course “High Tech Entrepreneurship”. We learnt what are the main challenges of the biotechnology industry and how to identify business opportunities in this market; understanding how to protect intellectual property in the process, looking how much money to raise and when to do it, learning about funding opportunities, how to go about getting the company funded and how to pitch to potential investors. We had a lot of mentoring and coaching in the process and I learnt the importance of building a powerful network.

Did it connect with certain parts or course units of IME?

As I said before, it was the perfect opportunity to put into practice what we learnt on the High Tech Entrepreneurship course, but it had some elements of Innovation Management as well, such as how to deal with Intellectual Property. It was the same idea of building your own business but focused on the biotechnology industry and working with people who are specialized in the field but didn’t have an entrepreneurship-related background, so it was perfect for us to participate and exchange each one’s experience.

Has it made you think differently about an aspect of your programme or business?

This experience made me realize that the entrepreneurship approach we learnt on the IME master is practically applicable to any industry if you want to build your own start-up. Although there are many things we didn’t know at first about biotechnology, with the help of our classmates we were capable of building an interesting business idea and pitch it to potential investors, so the experience was extremely valuable for improving my personal skills. I think it would be very interesting for future IME students to learn more about the biotechnology industry because there are plenty of opportunities yet to be exploited.

Any tips for starting a company/business? What was your main take-away from the course?

For me, the most important things to have in mind when starting a business are having an excellent team and a scalable business idea. Both elements must be aligned and are key to the future success of the company. My main take-away from the course is that a strong team is built by people who can work together with the same goal and vision in mind; if the team is not aligned it is almost certain that the idea won’t succeed. And for making things happen in the future you must start building your network today, and never stop working on it.