Investing in enterprise
Tech City leads the way
Few universities are as deeply embedded into business life as City. Our Enterprise Office provides the vital link between our Schools and commercial partners. The Enterprise Office helps us maximise the value of our research through commercialisation, consultancy and collaborative research with industry. It also plays a key role in the provision of Continuing Professional Development and short courses; and enhances the employability of our students and graduates through enterprise education, commercial project work and support for start-ups. As Dr Sue O'Hare, Director of the Enterprise Office explains, 2012 was an exciting year for Enterprise at City, as the team continued to facilitate the creation of economic and social impact.
Taking City into Tech City
A major focus this year has been engagement with the Tech City cluster of digital media companies on City's doorstep in Shoreditch and Clerkenwell. Tech City has been described by the Financial Times as the world's fastest-growing digital business cluster: over the last two years this area of intensive enterprise, now comprising over 3,200 firms, has won international recognition from major investors and the Government as a driver of economic growth for the UK. We anticipate that in the future it will take an ever bigger place on the world stage.
City University London's location, together with its focus on academic excellence for business and the professions, means that we are ideally placed to be the natural education and innovation partner for this vibrant community of entrepreneurs.
The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games put East London firmly in the global spotlight and City maximised this opportunity, joining forces with other sponsors to showcase Tech City's creative and cultural potential. We were the university partner for Hackney House, a unique urban pop-up space which hosted a series of events with a focus on the digital economy, creative industries, tourism, fashion and food. We also contributed to TeenTech City, a programme designed to raise awareness and aspirations among local school students; and we became a partner in the Digital Shoreditch festival and the TechCityInsider.net website, delivering news and analysis to the Tech City audience.
Academic staff from several disciplines, including Information Management, Data Visualisation, Human Computer Interaction Design and Digital Journalism, contributed to Tech City in 2012, by delivering events, workshops and showcases to audiences ranging from venture capitalists to school students and award-winning software coders.
The University portfolio of spin-out companies has grown to eight
Alongside its work with the Tech City community, the Enterprise Office continued to help spin-out companies commercialise research taking place at the University. A new company, ResilSoft Limited, was created to commercialise research from the Centre for Software Reliability in the School of Informatics into a software tool to reduce data errors in transactions. Meanwhile three spin-out companies from the School of Health Sciences and the School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences reached the landmark of their first sales during the year. The story of one of these companies, Heliex Power, can be found in the case study under Investing in our partnerships.
The London City Incubator supports the ideato-market process for some of City's innovative technologies, as well as external technology start-ups, by training postgraduate students in commercialisation and matching them to consultancy projects such as pricing strategies, market segmentation and value proposition validation. It also provides access to mentoring for aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Backscratchers case study (Investing in our partnerships) illustrates how one of City's student startups has benefited from this service. It also highlights the Enterprise Education programme CitySpark, a year-round extracurricular programme for students developing skills and an entrepreneurial mindset.
A £1 million success for our short courses
Evening and weekend short course provision expanded again, driven by an intensive marketing campaign. During the year the programme attracted more than 3,000 students to over 100 courses and, for the first time, generated revenue of over £1 million. A demand for specialist courses, particularly from Tech City, was met with the introduction of sector-related provision such as Advanced Digital Marketing, Digital Film-making and Financial Modelling in Excel.
We are well placed to build on these successes in 2013 and look forward to working with City's newly-recruited academic staff and consolidating our involvement with Tech City.