23 Feb

VentureVersity project gains 14 innovation ideas in first week

WJ 050224-212 Will Wells

The VentureVersity project launched during Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2024 gained 14 ideas in its first week.

The project brings Leicester and Leicestershire’s three universities together to turn research ideas and intellectual property into real-world solutions.

Led by the University of Leicester, in partnership with Loughborough University, De Montfort University, and Leicester Startups CIC, the project is now inviting businesses, academic partners, students, and university entrepreneurs to collaborate.

In doing so, it will develop fast-tracked pathways for the development of university-generated intellectual property and ideas.

VentureVersity is offering support for to up to 10 selected ideas – with grant funding up to £50,000 per project.

Organisers report that it received 14 expressions of interest within one week of going live. It has now arranged three mixer sessions for other people wishing to get involved.

They take place on March 7, 11 and 14 to facilitate connections between the projects and local entrepreneurs and SMEs. You can register now to attend.

VentureVersity Leicestershire will create accelerated pathways for university intellectual property (IP) and ideas. The universities will share IP and ideas with a community of businesses, graduates and students.

The project is designed to adopt an open innovation approach to sharing, testing, and developing business concepts.

Its goal is to deliver novel products, services, and businesses and energise the innovation culture of the city and county. The project will build connections with businesses and create opportunities for students to deploy and develop skills, build experience and catalyse enterprise.

Launching the project at the start of Business Gateway Growth Hub-led  Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2024, William Wells, Deputy Director of the Research and Enterprise Division at the University of Leicester, said:

The approach we will be adopting is genuinely novel and innovative in itself. It is possible because of the very close working relationships between the county’s university partners and effective co-design with the start-up community and local enterprise partnership.

Following the loss of European Regional Development funding, this investment is a real boost to the local economy and will stimulate exciting new ways of working that Leicestershire needs.

Ben Ravilious, founder of Leicester Startups CIC and LLEP Innovation Board member, said:

It takes a community to start and nurture a business.VentureVersity Leicestershire aims to break down traditional barriers in commercialisation of university IP, providing a new pathway to foster collaboration and accelerates the impact of ideas on the local economy.We expect to see a number of new businesses emerge from this programme.

Anjuu Trevedi, Head of Knowledge Exchange and Innovation at De Montfort University said:

VentureVersity provides a unique opportunity for the Leicestershire business and innovation community to come together to commercialise research-driven university IP and know-how from the local universities, and to access funding and accelerator support to fast track the development of great ideas.We want to encourage a diverse range of stakeholders such as local businesses, academic partners, students, and university entrepreneurs to collaborate and benefit via the VentureVersity project.

Nick Gostick, Head of IP Management and Commercialisation at Loughborough University, said:

Organisations and researchers participating in VentureVersity Leicestershire have the opportunity to contribute to regional growth, cultivate entrepreneurial success, and reshape the landscape of university IP commercialisation.The project represents a unique opportunity to make a transformative impact on the local innovation ecosystem.

The delivery and success of the model will be reviewed and documented in order to deliver a scalable model capable of deployment across the UK.De Montfort University, Loughborough University, and the University of Leicester are part of the Universities Partnership civic agreement.

The agreement is a commitment between the three universities and the city and counties of Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland to work together for the benefit of local people and the prosperity of places.

The three universities are also the sponsors of the Growth Hub-led Leicestershire Innovation Awards, which takes place in March.

More about VentureVersity