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UMIP Innovation Optimiser Celebrates Success at the IO Showcase 2018

Over 100 entrepreneurs, colleagues from The University of Manchester and wider support partners gathered at the Showcase to hear how the UMIP Innovation Optimiser (IO) has supported and nurtured new businesses coming out of the University.

2018 sees another eight IO supported University of Manchester Start-Ups begin their journey including- Dataviewer Ltd, Sleeping Lions Adventures Ltd, The Pentone Family Ltd, Neurolytics Ltd, IMPACT CIC, Macawly Ltd, Third Floor Systems Ltd and PABBS Ltd. This brings the total to have graduated through the UMIP Innovation Optimiser programme to over 20 within three years.

Innovation Optimiser Showcase 2018

IO Director, Tony Walker revealed that over £265,000 worth of support and awards have been provided by the IO in less than three years while 164 entrepreneurs from across The University of Manchester campus have engaged in the programme.

Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at The University of Manchester, emphasised the importance of supporting staff, academics and research students who may have an idea for a commercial start-up or social enterprise.

Speaking after IO Showcase –Tony said: “IO was launched just over two-and-a-half years ago and is proving to be a huge success boosting the Manchester start-up scene”

“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.”

He added: “The IO Showcase 2018 very much highlighted some of the fantastic businesses and innovations being developed by staff, academics and research students at The University of Manchester.

“It’s now about IO going from strength to strength and building on the partnerships we have created including with Business Growth Hub, dwf, Manchester Enterprise Centre, TiE Global and many more, and continuing to engage with active entrepreneurs across the campus who we may be able to support through our Ignition, Roadmap, Momentum and Spotlight programmes.”

Dr Laura Etchells, UMIP Enterprise Development Manager said: “We were delighted to showcase a range of new and established entrepreneurs today including ESOL Stepping Stones, Bundlee Ltd and UrbanChain Ltd, all eager to inspire and motivate tomorrow’s innovators.”

IO, 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 to complement its renowned Intellectual Property (IP) commercialisation activity.

Since its inception IO has held 62 events and engaged with more than 1,300 people in outreach activities across the University campus.

Ellie Buckley, UMIP Enterprise Development Executive and event organiser said: “Our second Showcase was attended by more than 100 people and the feedback has been incredible.

“This event is a fantastic opportunity for our entrepreneurs to share their stories, connect across campus and network with the wider enterprise community in Greater Manchester. We’re looking forward to the next 12 months at IO.”

The IO Showcase 2018 was held on Thursday 26th July at The University of Manchester Innovation Centre on Grafton Street.


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

Ignition Funding Opportunity 2018 Now Open

We are pleased to announce the relaunch of the UMIP Ignition Awards aiming to inspire and further build on the spirit of enterprise and innovation across the campus. By supporting new opportunities, we aim to bring into reality the ideas of academics, support staff and research students and help to maximise their potential for ‘real world’ use or societal benefit.

  • Are you currently working or studying at The University of Manchester or a recent graduate (within 2 years)?
  • Is your idea likely to be an entrepreneurial or innovative solution to a commercial, societal, or environmental problem?
  • Do you feel inspired and motivated to control your own destiny and want to feed your curiosity about entrepreneurship and start-ups?


Funding of up to £2,000 is available, for individuals to test or grow their entrepreneurial ideas. This can include finding out if an idea is viable, learning more about what is needed to develop the concept and trying the project on a small scale, right through to more robust road testing of the idea.

Feedback and one to one provision will be provided to support your applications.


This funding opportunity provided by UMIP is open to all staff, research students (inc. DBA, MBA) and recent graduates (graduated within the last 2 years) at The University of Manchester.

Closing Date:

The first call closes on Friday 1st June.

To apply, please download an Application Form and return to ignitionawards@umip.com



Funding Call for PhD students!

The UMIP Enterprise Associates present the PhD Ignition Awards for research students at The University of Manchester

Enterprise Associates (left to right): Alice, Alessia, Luke

The UMIP Enterprise Associates are “The student face of UMIP for enterprise activity” and we work closely with UMIP to stimulate entrepreneurship at the research student level within The University of Manchester. We’re excited to announce the launch of a new, dedicated funding call for PhD students at The University of Manchester, to try out their entrepreneurial ideas as part of the Innovation Optimiser Ignition Awards.


Up to £2,000 available!

Do you think you have an idea for an innovative solution to a commercial, societal, or environmental problem? If so, we want to hear from you!

The PhD Ignition Awards provide PhD researchers with funding to road test their innovative ideas. We welcome ideas at any stage of development, so long as you can evidence how your idea solves the problem.

Application deadline: MIDDAY 25th May.

This funding is open to all current PhD students from The University of Manchester.

To apply please fill out a PhD Ignition Fund Application Form 2018.

For more information or to discuss your application, please contact enterpriseassociates@umip.com.




Startup uses Mathematics to Revolutionise the Little Black Dress

Manchester sisters Rachel and Laura Beattie apply Mathematics to create a first of its kind dress, the perfect black dress, for all women


Laura and Rachel Beattie

Growing up, I remember always stealing my sisters clothes…” says Rachel Beattie, Co-Founder of Careaux, “I always found I wanted to change something about each dress, but I couldn’t!

This insight stayed with Rachel who, when she was fourteen, had a dream of a dress that could adapt to each woman’s unique shape and different style preferences. The dream continued to develop into reality when Rachel was studying Maths at the University of Manchester. She delved deeper into the Mathematical principles behind Careauxcombinatorics (abstract algebra) to study the size, fit and style  of dresses, and the size and shape of women; finding patterns to match the two much better than conventional fashion.

Rachel and Laura  wanted to address the longstanding issue that has faced so many women, namely the issue of a dress that they love just not fitting them. For years, women have had to struggle with the one size fits all mentality whilst many of the fundamental aspects of fashion (particularly cut and fit) have remained unchanged for decades. But now Careaux is here to change that with  the Careaux magic – a concept never seen before that creates something unique, innovative and beautiful; giving the little black dress a new DNA.

“I love Rachel and Laura’s passion for Maths and fashion which they’ve used to reinvent the little black dress in such a clever way!  For any woman with a top half bigger or smaller than their bottom, their idea solves the ill-fitting dress problem in a stylish and comfortable way – well done girls!”
– Rachel Riley, TV Presenter and Mathematician.


Pitch@Palace 9.0 – Applications NOW OPEN!

The Pitch@Palace 9.0 applications are now open and we would like to encourage you to apply.

The programme offers mentoring and advice to those developing business ideas around data, intelligence and the future of security.


Whether you simply have an idea on paper or your business is at the point of scaling up Pitch@Palace 9.0 seeks to discover entrepreneurs and companies that have identified opportunities in the following areas:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • IoT
  • Cyber-security
  • Blockchain
  • Defence
  • Cloud
  • 3D Printing

Manchester Enterprise Centre, UMIP and Business Engagement at The University of Manchester are delighted to announce that HRH, The Duke of York, is bringing a key boot camp event in his Pitch@Palace initiative to our campus in 2018.

Enterprise Associates – Call for applications

Are you a PhD student at The University of Manchester?

Do you have:

  • Prior experience in enterprise, business or commercial environments?
  • 4 hours per week to undertake paid project work? (You MUST NOT be a graduate teaching assistant/demonstrator or in the final year of your PhD)
  • The ability to adhere to deadlines and enthusiasm to gain valuable business-related experience to enhance your CV?

UMIP are recruiting a number of high calibre PhD student students to become UMIP Enterprise Associates and work in their spare time alongside UMIP’s Innovation Optimiser team to undertake a range of assignments.

AMBS Ignition Funding Opportunity – NOW OPEN

We are pleased to announce the relaunch of the Ignition Awards that aim to inspire and further build on the spirit of enterprise and innovation within AMBS. Last year saw over 9 awards made and many of these projects are now actively moving forwards, one of which has already formed as a company.

We are now seeking to inspire the next generation of individuals or teams with entrepreneurial ideas:

  • Are you currently working or studying at AMBS or a recent graduate?
  • Is your idea likely to be an entrepreneurial or innovative solution to a business, societal or environmental problem?
  • We are particularly keen this year to receive your ideas in FinTech, LegalTech or Digital and Creative areas…

Start-up health data specialist ViewItUK takes on more staff

From l to r: Mr Tony Walker, Dr Yousef Taktak, Dr Michael Donmall, Dr Andrew Jones

ViewItUK, a health data specialist, is aiming to double its headcount.

The company, which launched as a University of Manchester staff start-up three years ago, helps companies and organisations use and understand their data better, and communicate to a broad audience.