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Inaugural UMIP Innovation Optimiser Showcase celebrates innovation and enterprise at The University of Manchester

Networking in the Street

An event to showcase some of the start-ups being supported through UMIP’s (The University of Manchester’s technology transfer office) Innovation Optimiser has been held for the first time in UMIC’s Conference and Events space in the Core Technology facility on Grafton Street.

UMIP’s Enterprise team held the inaugural Showcase to highlight some of the fantastic businesses and innovations being developed by staff, academics and research students at The University of Manchester.

More than 75 entrepreneurs, colleagues from The University of Manchester and wider support partners gathered to learn how enterprises have benefitted from the support provided by the Innovation Optimiser and network over a celebratory Afternoon Tea.

Ten start-ups have successfully graduated through the programme this year – including ViewItUK Ltd, Urban Chain Ltd, Galivantes Ltd, Manchester Star Tuition Ltd, Fold-Out Publishing Ltd, EnviroSAR Ltd, Citizens Juries CIC, Cable Coatings Ltd, Affigo CIC and Artemis Analytical Ltd.

Director of Innovation Optimiser Tony Walker said: “Ten start-up businesses have passed through the Innovation Optimiser programme in 2017, which shows what a success it has already become.

“What’s fantastic is that so many people from many different backgrounds joined together at our inaugural Showcase event.”

Tom McNamara of FreeUp Ltd

He added: “We heard from a great range of entrepreneurs with different business concepts, all of whom are at different stages of their start-up journey, including; Tom McNamara of FreeUp Ltd, Dr Duncan Thomas, who runs Green Island Friends, Meera Dulabh from Neurolytics Ltd, James Adams of Cancer Awareness in Teenagers and Young People Society (CATS), Dr Gail Millin-Chalabi of EnviroSAR Ltd, and Professor Michael Donmall of ViewItUK Ltd. Some are still in the Ignition phase of exploring their ideas, whereas others have progressed through to our Momentum programme and have set up their business.”



“Our entrepreneurs gave both an insight into their companies and how our wide range of support has helped them progress, including some of the challenges they’ve faced. We’re always looking for new ways to support our businesses and introduce them to potential partners.”

The Innovation Optimiser, which provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs wishing to develop start-up businesses, social ventures and research student enterprises, through educational resources and agile mentoring, was developed by UMIP in 2014 to complement its renowned Intellectual Property (IP) commercialisation activity. It provides a vibrant and supportive environment for individuals or teams with an idea, innovation or venture in which they are empowered to develop and build their business.

Professor Luke Georghiou and UMIP’s Dr Laura Etchells

Along with Tony Walker, Professor Luke Georghiou, Vice President of Research & Innovation at The University of Manchester, also spoke at the Showcase, emphasising the importance of supporting staff, academics and research students who may have an idea for a commercial start-up or social enterprise.

Professor Georghiou commented: “There was a buzz inside and outside the room and I greatly enjoyed hearing about the entrepreneurial experiences. It seems they are being well-prepared but as ever there is a need for many of them to connect with the right kind of finance if their businesses are to grow.”




Professor Vikas Shah, TiE UK North

Professor Vikas Shah, a well-known Manchester entrepreneur, President of TiE UK North, Honorary Professor at the Alliance Manchester Business School and partner to UMIP’s Innovation Optimiser, also spoke at the event, highlighting the support that TiE brings to UMIP’s budding entrepreneurs.

Ellie Buckley, UMIP Enterprise Development Executive and event organiser commented: “We’ve received phenomenal feedback from everyone who attended the Showcase. It really gave our entrepreneurs a prime opportunity to celebrate what they’ve achieved and make some great connections. We’re very excited about making the event bigger and better next year.”



To find out more, contact one of the Innovation Optimiser team:

Ellie Buckley, Enterprise Development Executive ellie.buckley@umip.com or 0161 606 7265

Laura Etchells, Enterprise Development Manager laura.etchells@umip.com or 0161 606 7264

Tony Walker, Director of Innovation Optimiser, tony.walker@umip.com or 0161 603 7780