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Vision To Venture: Creating Your Consultancy Future

Implement Your Own Business Plan

Leap into this intense four-week accelerator, designed to build consultancy skills and competencies within the infrastructure, cities, energy, and net-zero realms. Here, theory meets action. Beyond developing actionable consultancy initiatives directly from your research, you’ll nail your business proposition, develop a solid business case, build proficiency in the art of personal branding, and craft a persuasive pitch – the key ingredients for the blueprint of your consultancy business. With personalised mentorship from industry experts and a supportive online community, you’re not just learning—you’re launching. Get ready to use your new skills to pitch your vision, with a £5,000 prize for the top pitch to bring your consultancy business to life.

Programme Content

This programme aims to empower researchers to transform their research know-how and theoretical insights into viable, market-ready solutions. From an exploration of consultancy and entrepreneurial landscapes to pitching to investors, we will scrutinise the mindsets, concepts and frameworks for determining the market potential of an idea and bringing it to life.

Day 1 and 2

The first workshop lifts the lid on researchers in industry, particularly focusing on consultancy and entrepreneurship in the infrastructure, environment and net-zero landscape. This session will explore industry and business career pathways, market needs and the key concepts, skills, attributes and values for success. Through self assessment, participants will identify their own unique value propositions and dive into the concept of personal branding and its importance for visibility, impact, investment and career advancement.

On the second day, participants will be allocated to mentor groups to work together through a series of interactive workshops to develop their theoretical and practical know-how of idea generation and analysis, with the aim to create clear and effective problem statements, and use design thinking concepts to generate ideas. This will be followed by business case development sessions to guide researchers through detailed market analysis, financial planning, risk assessment, and creating a persuasive narrative. Participants will then meet their mentors online to introduce themselves and their business concepts.

Mentorship and Self-Guided Activity

Following the two intensive in-person training days, participants will work with peers and mentors over the following two weeks to refine their business model and business case and develop a compelling pitch. During this time, you will be encouraged to engage with their peers and mentors (online).

You will submit the business model and business case documentation for formal written feedback and an individual follow-up session with the mentor. Specialist training and self-guided activities will help to develop your pitch, which will be delivered to your mentor and peers in your mentor group. Each group will score and agree on the best pitch to move forward to the investor panel. The investor panel will also choose a ‘wildcard’ finalist based on the submissions.

Pitch Perfect: May The Best Plan Win!

Based on their scores from the mentor group, 5 finalists will move forward and have 5 minutes to pitch their business cases, followed by up to 10 minutes Q&A by the panel. This mirrors real-world investment scenarios and puts all the skills developed into practice. A minimum of three panelists with relevant knowledge and experience will judge the quality of the business case and pitch.

The Reward

A total of up to £5000 is available in funding, which will be awarded to the best business idea and pitch. The funding amount will be available to use for eligible costs.*

*Eligible costs include but are not limited to:

  • Website design
  • Additional training
  • Accountancy costs
  • Fees to attend networking events
  • Client visits
  • Marketing costs
  • Office space
  • Running an event, for example a networking brunch

Testimonial

Hear from Kieran Bjergstrom, winner of the first Vision To Venture programme about how the programme helped him to set up his own business – Quantum Technologies Associates.

Timelines

Sessions and mode of deliveryDate
Application Deadline29 May 2024
Training Session 1 (in person, at Loughborough University)25 June 2024
Training Session 2 (in person, at Loughborough University)26 June 2024
Mentorship (Online)27 June – 1 July 2024
Submit business case documents to mentor2 July 2024
Mentor Feedback3 July – 5 July 2024
Pitch Development Session (Online)8 July 2024
Self-guided learning and pitch development9 July – 12 July 2024
Pitches to mentor (Online)15 July 2024
Investor review panel16 July – 17 July 2024
Announcement for final pitch selections18 July 2024
Investor pitches, wrap up, and reward (Online)23 July 2024

Eligibility Criteria

  • Postdoctoral researchers at a UK university, or from industry are welcome to apply.
  • Applicants must have either a PhD or at least four years’ experience as a postdoctoral researcher in the fields of infrastructure, cities, energy or net zero.
  • Applicants must be employed as a researcher, not an academic.
  • PhD students can apply but will only be eligible to join the event if they have passed their viva fully or with minor correction before the start of the course.

How To Apply

The application form is available via Inkpath, our researcher development platform.

Step 1

If you already have an Inkpath account, please go to the Vision To Venture: Creating Your Consultancy Future activity.

If you do not have an Inkpath account, you need to create one. Click the button below for guidance on how to. Please get in touch, if you have any problems accessing the activity or registering with Inkpath.

Step 2

Book onto the activity ‘Vision To Venture: Creating Your Consultancy Future’ on Inkpath. After booking is completed, you will receive a link to the Microsoft form application.

Step 3

Fill in the Microsoft application form. You will be asked to:

  • describe your primary research area for a non-expert (about 100 words)
  • identify what aspects of this programme are of interest to you (about 100 words)

If you need to access the application form in a different format, please get in touch with the C-DICE team.

Assessment Criteria

Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • An interest in transforming your research know-how and theoretical insights into viable market-ready solutions.
  • The ability to communicate research to a wide audience.
  • Demonstrate how attending the event will enhance your career.
  • Commitment to taking an active role in all of the sessions.

Support for Participants

If you are interested in participating in this event, C-DICE can support you through our travel grant and caring support fund. Find out more below:

Application deadline: 29 May 2024, 12pm.

Delivered in collaboration with Code-Switch Consultants