University of Bristol

Entrepreneurial Education and Start-up at the University of Bristol

Innovation and Enterprise through the Curriculum – Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The multi-award-winning Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship was established in 2016 as part of a flagship initiative in support of University strategy. The Centre hosts a suite of 4-year Integrated Masters degrees in which students study one of 14 traditional academic disciplines alongside human-centred design thinking and venture creation, a taught one-year postgraduate programme, an MPhil, and a PhD programme. The first cohort of UG students graduated in 2020 and have started-up businesses at a rate 10x higher than the national average.  In 2020 and in 2021 Centre’s graduates won the top prizes 10k and 15k respectively in New Enterprise Competition (a 100% record for a the new founded academic Centre!).

Student Enterprise and Start-Up support- Basecamp Enterprise Team 

The Basecamp Enterprise Team are start-up specialists based within the Careers Service. They support students and recent graduates from all disciplines to connect with peers, improve their enterprise skills and build, develop, and grow their start-ups. Every year Basecamp support over 600 future founders through specialist workshops, support programmes, hackathons, 1:1 business coaching, mentoring, networking events, and funding competitions.

The team run the University of Bristol’s flagship, start-up competition, the New Enterprise Competition, which in its 20-year history has awarded over £30,000 per year to University of Bristol start-ups and spin-outs. Providing funding for all stages from ideas, through development to growth of their ventures. Notable alumni of the competition include Ultraleap, Snap Vision, KETs Quantum, LettUsGrow. This year’s winners, Peequal, have gained over 130 article publications and over 62.5 million social media posts since the press release announcing their win.

Two years ago, the team introduced the Growth Support programme, to improve the gender diversity of the competition. The award-winning programme matches applicants with a mentor and provides tailored workshops and exclusive access to SETsquared’s advisers in residence. Since the introduction of the programme over 50% of finalist businesses have women founders or co-founders and the calibre of applications has been at a 10-year high.

The team are well connected to start-up support across Bristol and provide excellent ways for all students and alumni to engage with enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship Start up support – Runway @ the Centre for Innovation and entrepreneurship

Runway focuses on enabling a step change in entrepreneurial success.  Using the student facing environment the Centre provides, more graduates are now being nurtured to start up.  Entrepreneurial ventures are being backed in a way they never have before through the knowledge and resources the Centre can provide. Runway is intended to support early-stage businesses and ventures (pre-seed) through a mix of venue, funded mentorship, prototyping, seed capital and investors.

Scaling up Technology Ventures – SETSqaured Bristol

SETsquared is the global #1 University Business Incubator – a long standing enterprise partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey, which specialises in growing technology start-ups through its world class business support programmes.  SETSqaured Bristol is based at Engine Shed in the heart of the Bristol Enterprise Zone, it has supported over 200 ventures from a wide range of sectors, from telecoms, automotive, biotech and security.

Connected Support

Demonstrating the connected approach at Bristol the 2020 winners of the New Enterprise Competition Kaedim have been supported by all parts of the network, from graduating and gaining support from  the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, through the Basecamp Enterprise Team and eventually now being accepted as a member of SETSqaured Bristol.

Main contact: Neil Coles, Partnerships Manager/International Director, Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship