Disley fans flames of entrepreneurial inspiration
As sponsor of Business Weekly’s Cambridge Torchbearers initiative, Horizon Discovery CEO Darrin Disley is determined to fan the flames of entrepreneurial inspiration.
Remembering his own early struggles to gain a foothold in business, Dr Disley has dedicated himself to help nurture the new generation of startup entrepreneurs. He is supporting them financially and through mentorship and moral support.
Dr Disley has further expanded his activities in this regard through the Christopher R. Lowe Carpe Diem Enterprise Programme and the new Geraldine Rodgers Enterprise Scholarship. He says: “Championing these programmes and scholarships and helping young entrepreneurs generally is a very important cause for me. Coming from an economically disadvantaged background, I learned first-hand the importance of a positive mindset, hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit, and whenever possible I want to support young individuals who embody these qualities.
“Wherever I go in the UK, and in Cambridge in particular, I see an incredible number of smart and driven young people who just need an opportunity, and I am excited to think about the impact that they are already having and will continue to have on the economy and their communities.”
Dr Disley is pictured above with winners of his latest awards. The Christopher R. Lowe Carpe Diem Enterprise Program was established in 2011 with the ambition to educate students regardless of their financial means and to stimulate innovation among them, providing them with the opportunity to develop their own businesses.
The programme is administrated by the department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Cambridge University in conjunction with its nominated partners, the MPhil Bioscience Enterprise programme, Cambridge University Entrepreneurs (CUE) and Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC).
Funding is provided by biotechnology alumnus Dr Disley with matching funds for the CUE component of the programme provided by Horizon Discovery Group. The programme provides funding for:
- One CUE Life Science Start-up of the Year prize
- Two CUE Young Entrepreneur of the Year prizes
- Funding to support an annual CUTEC innovation conference; and
- Christopher R. Lowe tuition bursaries for Master’s in Bioscience Enterprise students
This financial and moral encouragement is paying off in terms of converting bright ideas into businesses. In the period from 2011/12 to 2015/16 the funding of CUE has led to the foundation and funding of numerous companies including:-
- Desktop Genetics – DNA design, QC, inventory management, CRISP gRNA design software (£375k Seed, £1.35m A Round)
- GeoSpock – The big data search engine for the physical world (£750k seed, £5m A Round in progress)
- Relephance – The Society To Discover And Discuss The Best Material For Your Studies (£100k seed)
- TeamLayer – The Integrated Work Interface For Busy People (£250k seed in progress)
- SimPrints – Social enterprise for secure patient record identification (£450k grant funding)
The Geraldine Rodgers Enterprise Scholarship is a ‘needs blind’ memorial scholarship for one student per year to study for the Master’s in Bioscience Enterprise. The scholarship provides funds to cover tuition, living and college fees (linked to Trinity Hall) and is targeted towards students that embody Dr Rodgers’ vision, integrity and a penchant for backing the underdog – including Horizon Discovery. Again, funding is provided in equal parts by Horizon Discovery Group and Dr Disley.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dr Disley (third left) with programme winners Tim Guillams (CEO HealX, Life Science Start Up of Year), Phil Grayeski (Master in Bioscience Enterprise, MBE), Simon Engelke (PhD Graphene Physics), David Holden-White (MBE), Luana Faragasan (CUE President). Phil, Simon and David are CUE Young Entrepreneurs of the Year and David was a Carpe Diem bursary recipient.