Entrepreneur scheme expanding
A scheme that provides budding entrepreneurs with a real-life experience of turning ideas into business opportunities is expanding to other universities.
Cambridge University’s i-Teams was set up in Cambridge in 2006 by Amy Mokady, a local entrepreneur and business angel, and is a collaboration between the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) and the Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club.
Now the project has just completed its first ever inter-university course. The latest taster course was a joint presentation between the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University and marked the first time i-Teams was delivered at another institution.As well as students from the University of Cambridge the course also attracted participants from Anglia Ruskin University and the University of East Anglia. They joined forces to help analyse the commercial potential of emerging, breakthrough technologies.Amy Mokady, i-Teams director, said that the collaboration was a breakthrough. She said: “It is very rare for students from different universities to work together on the same projects in this way, so for us to attract students from two other universities demonstrates how i-Teams is growing.“Earlier this year we had our first non-Cambridge project and now we are beginning to attract business-minded students from beyond our traditional base.“The other exciting development was the number of non-science based students. We had participants with a wide range of backgrounds including film studies, management, computing and publishing. It really emphasised the multi-disciplinary nature of the scheme.“We’ve come a long way in just four years, but it highlights the power of the programme.”The programme, based on the successful programme created in the United States at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, uses multi-disciplinary teams of students to evaluate the best opportunities for breakthrough technologies.Projects tackled included:-• A method to cost-effectively capture and sequester CO2 from fossil fuel power generation, which would lock CO2 away permanently from the atmosphere without risk of dangerous release. • Exploring possible markets for new low-cost computer box design, to ensure the greatest possible success.• A new technique to enable rapid and direct detection of bacteria using an all-electronic device. Amy said: “We think i-Teams offers something unique to hi-tech start-ups and we are hopeful that this initial inter-university effort will just be the start.”For more details on i-Teams, please see www.iteamsonline.org • PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: i-Teams director, Amy Mokady