Author Archive:Roland Mortimer

ByRoland Mortimer

Nov 2017 – India Technology Summit promotes trade between British-India tech ecosystems at UK Parliament

More than 100 people crowded into Committee Rooms 14 and 11 of Parliament at the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week for this year’s Europe India Centre for Business & Industry‘s India (EICBI) Technology  Summit to listen to panels of speakers from pioneering British and Indian start-ups, major corporates and investors.

Co-organised by Sivaleen Associates and Empact Ventures, this curated event aimed to establish an understanding of the major technological challenges and opportunities in India and the UK, and to connect and enable people, companies and communities to work together. Since it was first held in 2012, the EICBI’s summits have engaged more than 2700 delegates from over 1000 companies.

Kosta Mavroulakis, Founder & CEO at Empact Ventures who is also the UK Vice Chairman of EICBI said the summit came at “a critical time for the UK economy as it faces a crossroads in its relationship with the rest of the world, bringing together leaders of businesses of all sizes to discuss opportunities for collaboration is an important step towards strengthening the longstanding partnership between India and Britain”. Sujit Nair, Chair of the Europe India Centre for Business and Industry went on to add that “the agenda for the summit is structured in way to make these companies aware of these opportunities and to encourage them to invest in India.”

This year’s summit was introduced by Virendra Sharma MP, with other MPs in attendance including Preet Kaur Gill, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Bob Blackman and Ruth Cadbury. “Summits like India Technology Summit at British Parliament help in bringing together various stakeholders who are keen to have a strong relationship between UK and India in one platform and since the summits do attract other members of Parliament and Members of House of Lords, it provides an opportunity for the delegates from specific sectors to discuss their issues with MPs,” Virendra Sharma MP, Chair – Indo British All Party Parliamentary Group. said.

The panels were chaired by the teams behind Empact Ventures and Three Straight Lines from Bournemouth. Panelists included corporate technology leaders from the likes of Hays and Pizza Hut; tech startup founders like Flyero.com, ClickMechanic, Skignz, E-Fundamentals and Hollabox.com; investment platforms such as Seedrs; and leading agencies including LogicShore, Three Straight Lines and Rarely Impossible amongst others.

On the Corporate Innovation Panel, Manoj Agrawal, Director of Digital Services at leading recruiting experts, Hays, explained how the 175-strong team he works with in India use Agile techniques, supported by a core team of 30 in the UK, has delivered technology innovation in the areas of Cloud Computing, Data Science, and Machine Learning. Manoj said: “We have invested in creating a state of the art technology, innovation and digital delivery capability in India. A team of close to 200 Engineers, based in the UK and India, within our Digital and Innovation function works in the most integrated fashion to provide solutions to business problems by harnessing the latest technological trends. Within this Engineering hub based in India, we have successfully scaled Agile product delivery techniques to encompass close to 20 products and projects being delivered at any given point in time. These self-managing teams are organised without any hierarchy whereby every team member plays a specific role in the product development. Our team in India is a core part of our business, The success of this team is a testament to the drive, passion, enthusiasm, and commitment shown by our colleagues in India.”

Another startup that participated in the panels was Flyero.com, founded by Rakesh Bokinala,who believes “the British-India relationship has always been beneficial to each other, but Brexit has the potential to bring collaboration to a whole new level. The skills between these two nations when combined can produce superior results”. The tech startup has built a platform to connect people who frequently fly between the UK and countries like India that can assist other flyers who do not speak the language and require a travel companion to assist them.

Another MP who joined the summit was Bob Blackman MP who believes that “as the UK begins to negotiate its relationship with Europe, there has never been a more pertinent time to rejuvenate our existing partnership with India and to start an exciting new chapter in the history of these two great nations. The India Technology Summit takes an important step towards that goal by bringing together some of the brightest minds in the industry to discuss, debate and examine how these future opportunities can be realised”  

For further information about the Europe India Centre for Business and Industry’s next summits visit www.eicbi.org

Notes to the editor

Press Enquiries

For all all press-related enquiries, please contact Joshua Neicho representing Empact Ventures Ltd (joshua.neicho@googlemail.com) and cc its CEO Kosta Mavroulakis (kosta@empact-ventures.com)

About Europe India Centre for Business & Industry

Europe India Centre for Business and Industry is an independent, nonpartisan organisation which promotes business opportunities across various sectors in Europe and India. Europe India Centre for Business and Industry was formed with the intention of making European companies aware of the business opportunities in India and vice versa. The mission of the organisation is to promote trade and investment between India and Europe, and to provide a platform for companies and businessmen who wish to become part of the India- Europe trade community. With seasoned professionals at helm, the organisation also provides all the ground support required for companies to expand and flourish in Europe and India.

For more information visit http://www.eicbi.org

About Empact Ventures

Empact Ventures are startup facilitators and super connectors that:

  • Design, Deliver & Support Startup Initiatives at a local to international level including investor pitch days, corporate pitch days, tech summits, national campaigns and more
  • Support the Growth of Emerging & Funded Tech Startups by acting as their super-connector to advise, support, connect and plug them into the UK startup ecosystem
  • Scout for Startups & Tech for investors and corporates looking for specific deal flow to invest in and/or partner with / integrate / become a customer of startups and their technologies
  • Support the Expansion of Global Startups & SMEs into the UK, Europe and Globally who are looking to grow their operations, secure new customers and plug-into the startup ecosystem

For more information visit www.empact.ventures

About Sivaleen Associates

Sivaleen  is not just any other Business Consulting enterprise. Our empanelled team of experts at Sivaleen / British South India Council of Commerce has lived and breathed multi-cultural and multi-linguistic work environments globally, has delivered our expertise in various international platforms and comprehend the uniqueness of each business that we come across on a regular basis. It’s the delivery partners and consulting arm of British South India Council of Commerce, a London based international trade body focussed on promoting business between UK and India. We provide strategy & consulting, business representation in UK & India, government representation.

For more information visit: https://www.sivaleen.com/

 

ByRoland Mortimer

August 2017 – Search begins for UK’s top emerging entrepreneurs

The search has begun to uncover the UK’s most up-and-coming entrepreneurial stars, placing the spotlight firmly on the individuals who are making their mark in the business world.

Entrepreneurs from across the UK are set to descend on Newcastle for the BQ Entrepreneur Festival powered by Atom bank at the Boiler Shop on 21 November 2017.

The emerging entrepreneur awards, which are part of the festival, are open to all emerging entrepreneurs who can demonstrate their tenacity, creativity, innovation and determination to scale.

The festival will also include a new Outstanding Entrepreneur Award – designed to recognise established entrepreneurs that have achieved exceptional success or have contributed materially to the success of others over a sustained period.

The overall ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award will be presented by Atom bank, the lead sponsor of the event. Craig Iley, managing director of business banking at Atom, said: “This is about entrepreneurs receiving the support and recognition they deserve for challenging norms, taking risks and ultimately powering our economy as they develop into SMEs. This year’s festival will be truly innovative, reflecting and celebrating entrepreneurial spirit.”

Bryan Hoare, commercial director at BQ, said: “BQ is all about celebrating and inspiring entrepreneurship and we would be delighted to have you join us for the inaugural BQ National Entrepreneur Festival 2017.

“The National Entrepreneur Festival aims to profile and encourage our next generation of entrepreneurs and the search now begins once again to identify some of the UK’s leading emerging talent as part of the BQ Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

“We are seeking nominations across the UK and we’d like to hear from anyone who believes they have the entrepreneurial character to succeed in business. If you believe you have what it takes then BQ would ask you to self-nominate or ask someone to nominate you.

“We look forward to showcasing as many entries as possible at the festival and providing the selected shortlisted finalists with ongoing PR and support as we continue to follow their stories across BQ.”

To nominate, find out more or book your ticket, click here.

ByRoland Mortimer

Blog: Surveying the sector: what are universities doing to support entrepreneurial students?

For any group working towards a shared goal, reliable information – on how effectively members of the group are achieving that goal, and on how they might increase their impact – is key to success, and this is no less true of the enterprise and entrepreneurship education community than it is of any other.

That is why, after a hiatus of nearly four years, the Centre for Entrepreneurs is partnering with the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE) to relaunch the Survey of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education (SEE-HE), last run in 2012. Before the moaning and groaning begins (“yet another survey?”) it is worth providing some context on our decision to reinstate it.

The Centre for Entrepreneurs is a non-profit think-tank that researches the economic and social impact of entrepreneurship. In the past, we’ve published reports on the entrepreneurial potential of migrants, seaside towns and prisoners (to name a few) and used our findings to push for positive changes to public attitudes and government policy. Our latest project will explore the extent of entrepreneurial activity among university students and graduates, and examine the role of universities in supporting them.

As we began our review of previous research in this area, we were surprised by a distinct lack of up-to-date data on the state of the sector. High quality, comprehensive data allows students and faculty to understand their institution’s impact, and assists government and other funding bodies in allocating scarce resources (of renewed importance post-Brexit). While universities do have to submit annual figures to HEFCE on the number of start-ups they have supported (though there are question marks regarding accuracy), and although plenty of mapping and impact studies exist in relation to individual universities or even groups of universities, there is no all-encompassing survey of institutions on their entrepreneurship education activities that allows for reliable comparison.

Or at least, there hasn’t been one since NCEE last ran the SEE-HE in 2012. In our conversations with enterprise educators, we have found ourselves constantly being referred back to the findings of the 2012 edition when asking for data on the state of the sector.  And although we found the survey extremely interesting, the question that immediately came to mind was:what’s happened since?

To find out, we approached NCEE and asked them if they would consider rerunning the survey with us. They quickly agreed, with the result that – along with official supporters Enterprise Educators UK, the sector’s leading membership body – we announced the relaunch of the survey at last week’s International Enterprise Educators Conference at Liverpool John Moores University.

The SEE-HE is a comprehensive survey that includes questions on both the curricular and extra-curricular components of enterprise and entrepreneurship education. It is split into sections including course provision, extra-curricular activities, student participation, institutional policy, funding and sustainability and asks for a variety of both quantitative and qualitative information. For this year’s edition, responses we receive will feed into a final report that will provide a general overview of what higher education institutions are doing, with data pertaining to individual institutions remaining confidential (though the process of collection will undoubtedly also generate internal benefits for universities).

In order to be as democratic and transparent as possible, CFE and NCEE are crowdsourcing suggested amendments and improvements to this year’s edition of the SEE-HE from the educator community. Although for comparability reasons the survey cannot differ much from previous editions, we realise that there may be the need for minor tweaks and additions, and recognise that those best placed to make suggestions are educators themselves. Once we have received comments and incorporated them into the survey, we will launch the 2016 edition of the SEE-HE later this year.

I will continue to blog on the progress of the survey in the coming weeks and months ­- stay tuned for further details!

First published on the Centre for Entrepreneurs blog on 13/09/2016 here written by Maximilian Yoshioka, Lead Researcher at the Centre for Entrepreneurs. 

To download the 2012 edition of the survey, click here. To suggest changes to the survey, or if you simply want to get in touch with thoughts or questions, you can email me via max@centreforentrepreneurs.org

ByRoland Mortimer

Blog: Getting Funding For Your Start-up (Aug 2016)

StartUp Britain: Getting Funding for Your Start-up (August 2016)

You’ve got an awesome tech start up idea and a buddy who once made a WordPress site for his uncle’s business. Your investor ready right? Well not quite. Although we hear the stories of companies raising millions of pounds without even having made a penny of revenue (cue twitter et al), raising capital can be a highly complex and tricky affair.

We’ve previously closed rounds of investment and to make these rounds a reality we had to have a lot of investor meetings. So what were the key things we learnt when it comes to raising start-up seed funding? Well in short there are a lot of them but for the benefit of being precise and to the point I’ve decided to distill these down to five key points.

1) Either be raising or don’t be: Raising seed investment can take a lot of time. Investor meetings, slide decks, presentations, data requests, term sheets, negotiations and the rest of it. Many people say it’s a full time job in its self. That’s why its important to either be raising or not raising as if you’re trying to grow your business and build your product at the same time as raising you’ll find that you do everything quite poorly. Investors love to see a business that has made progress but if you have had no time to make any progress then you could be leaving your perspective investors not interested.

2) Build a great team: We always hear the old clique of investors invest in people not ideas but it’s a clique for a good reason. Investors want to invest in great people and teams. Ensure your team has complimentary skills, make sure everyone is awesome at what they purport to be, ensure they are hard working and last but not least make sure that they are willing to stay the course. The reason I say this is because start-ups are not easy and there will very likely be some very challenging days along the journey so its important to have a team with staying power who are committed to getting the job done.

3) Make sure it’s a BIG market: Investors invest to make a return. The way they make a return is by investing in a great team who create a great product that improves a big market and can therefore service a lot of customers and grow dramatically. This means the start-up will increase in value and sell for lots of money and everyone (fingers crossed) will walk away with a nice windfall. If your market is hyper niche, low value and low frequency your not going to get any investor excited. As a general rule of thumb, make sure your market is worth at least £1 Billion.

4) Get Traction: (AKA Customers) Its very well and good talking a good game and talking up your great idea but the proof in the pudding comes when people are willing to put their money where their mouth is and buy your new creation. Investors love it when you can get traction as it shows you understand what people want but more importantly it shows you can hustle and build a product that either makes revenue or has the potential to.

5) Creating a competitive dynamic: It can be tricky to get that first investor loving what you’re doing to the point that they give you a term sheet but if they do it does not mean you should instantly stop meeting other investors. By settling for the first offer you receive you don’t have a fair and accurate reflection of what the market is willing bear. Instead you should still have those scheduled investor meetings and see what happens as the likelihood is that your start up now will be more desirable as a competitive dynamic has been created. On the flip side there is also a chance the first investor could pull out of any possible deal which means you should have your back ups lined up.

Raising money for a start up is not easy but if you use these five tips that we learnt during our process you’ll be sure to get an upper hand in getting funding and building a great start-up.

First published on the StartUp Britain blog on 15/08/2016 here written by Andrew Jervis, CEO, ClickMechanic.com, a funded tech startup that Empact Ventures supports.

ByRoland Mortimer

Media coverage: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak rocks business conference

Manchester Evening News: The Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist gave a packed out keynote speech at this year’s Business Rocks event. First published in the Manchester Evening News on 22/04/2016 here by Lucy Roue.

Tech idol Steve Wozniak said he was inspired by Manchester’s history of innovation as he visited the city for the first time yesterday.

The American computer scientist, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976, praised the creativity of the city after delivering a packed out keynote speech at this year’s Business Rocks.

He said: “I’m just inspired to think back to the history of Manchester and to be here, I almost got chills this morning thinking about it and its important role in the revolution of computer technology.

“The people I have met have been outstanding, very educated and liberal in their thinking about the importance of technology and keeping up with it in the news.”

Jeff Hoffman, founder, priceline.com

Wozniak spoke candidly about his early days with Jobs and their quest to change the world through technology.

He said: “No matter what your business is you have to adopt to digital technology or you might not be disruptive.”

During his on-stage interview with Sunday Times journalist Bryan Appleyard, Wozniak spoke of his changing attitudes towards Artificial Intelligence and his delight at being played by Seth Rogen in the latest film.

“The acting in it was superb and Seth has become a family friend.”

He also said the prolific role of technology in everyday life will lead to human beings becoming like ‘the family dogs’ with our every comfort and whim covered at the press of a button.

Although optimistically he hoped future technology would ‘figure out solutions to the human problems we have been unable to solve like the economy, conflict and poverty.’

Business Rocks is a global tech and investment summit, brought to life by music.

The conference, held at Manchester Central over two days, has attracted more than 100 international speakers including global social influencer Brian Fanzo, priceline co-founder Jeff Hoffman and Dr Anita Goel of NANOBIOSYM.

It is the second year of the event which aspires to be as big as South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

In addition to high profile speakers, Business Rocks includes tech demos, interactive debates, a £50,000 Invov8 Pitch Battle prize, a Homeless Hackathon and a live EU Referendum debate where the audience will vote live.

Founder and chairman of specialist private cloud provider ANS Scott Fletcher invested a six figure sum into the vibrant up and coming festival that attracted thousands over the two days.

Jonathon Cadden, founder of Business Rocks, said: “We believe that Manchester will become one of the biggest tech hubs in the world.

“With this in mind, we launched Business Rocks to inspire, engage and network with like-minded people.

“The event has brought together some of the most inspiring and entrepreneurial thought-leaders and start-up CEOs from across the UK and beyond.”