The Pitch@Palace 9.0 Boot Camp took place on 13 March 2018 at The University of Manchester with the theme Data, Intelligence and The Future of Security. The initiative was founded by HRH The Duke of York in 2014 to support entrepreneurs through opportunities for mentorship, investment and connections to accelerate growth.
Prof. Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University opened proceedings, focusing on entrepreneurship and the link between the Pitch@Palace thematic areas and research at the University. HRH The Duke of York followed by discussing how entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the UK and global economies.
Prof. Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University, concentrated on the dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem across the University and the region as a whole, emphasising the importance of innovation and start-ups. He explained how the University supports students to develop business ideas through the Manchester Enterprise Centre (MEC) and the University’s spinouts and licensing opportunities are assisted through UMIP, a division of UMI3 Ltd, the University’s agent for Intellectual Property commercialisation. Prof. Georghiou commented: “The University is strongly committed to business engagement and entrepreneurship. These activities enhance our research and student experience and provide an important channel for us to benefit the economy and society. We were delighted to host HRH the Duke of York and Pitch@Palace and to help to progress so many exciting business prospects. We are well on our way to our target of generating £1 billion from our commercialisation activities.”
The main focus of the day involved 42 entrepreneurs pitching to an audience of over 200 business leaders, founders, entrepreneurs and researchers. The pitching sessions were divided into 7 categories; Blockchain; Cyber Security; Artificial Intelligence; Internet of Things; Machine Learning; Knowledge Management and Defence.
Throughout the day the audience were encouraged to vote for up to 3 businesses. The judging panel took this vote into consideration and selected 12 entrepreneurs to pitch for 3 minutes at the final event at St James’s Palace in April and the remaining 30 entrepreneurs to pitch for 30 seconds.
The event also featured keynote speakers; Dr Peter Waggett (Emerging Technology Director, IBM) and Dr Adrian Woolard (Head of North Lab, BBC R&D); a Q&A session with Pitch@Palace Alumni and an Entrepreneurial Panel discussion with Marcus Hadfield (CSO, Apadmi Ltd), Jennie Johnson MBE (CEO, Kids Allowed Ltd) and Prof. Vikas Shah MBE (President, TiE UK North).
Prof. Vikas Shah MBE commented: “Pitch@Palace was a fantastic addition to The University of Manchester calendar, we had some of the brightest startups in the United Kingdom on campus, with investors, guests and- of course- HRH The Duke of York. Alongside the obvious inspiration this provides for the startups, hosting events like this is a great statement of intent from The University of Manchester that it believes wholeheartedly in the most cutting edge facets of entrepreneurship, and that it’s a place to come to experience innovation and development. The Pitch@Palace brand is internationally recognised too, and I think that adds a lot of kudos and positive brand association.”
A number of local food and drink entrepreneurs were invited to showcase their businesses including Sweet Mandarin Ltd and Shindigger Craft Beer Ltd.
The University support units of MEC and Business Engagement Support Team (BEST) together with its agent for IP Commercialisation UMIP (a division of UMI3 Ltd) were instrumental in organising the Boot Camp on behalf of the University which was honoured to host such a high-profile event and is proud to now be part of the Pitch@Palace community.
Lynn Sheppard, Director, Manchester Enterprise Centre commented; “We were very pleased to have the opportunity to host the Pitch@Palace Boot Camp here at the University of Manchester – entrepreneurship and innovation are important to the University and we continue to encourage and support the development of new businesses based on our research and on the opportunities recognised by our students and graduates.”
Dr Laura Etchells, Enterprise and Business Development Manager, UMIP commented: “I was absolutely delighted to be part of the collective operational team bringing Pitch@Palace Boot Camp 9.0 to the University. The event provided a perfect platform to showcase the innovative technologies in this space from some outstanding businesses and I look forward to hearing about their progress.”