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  1. An enterprising approach
About City

An enterprising approach

A year of innovative ideas and rewarding relationships.

An enterprising approachAs befits an institution defined in part by its close relationship with business and the professions, enterprise plays a crucial role in professions, enterprise plays a crucial role in propelling City towards its Vision for 2016. Dr Sue O'Hare, Director of Enterprise, explains how being attuned to the opportunities presented by a more connected world has enabled City to forge a deeper relationship with the booming Tech City digital hub. 2013 also saw City Enterprise supporting commercialisation initiatives originating within the University and managing the launch of a comprehensive programme of events designed to develop student entrepreneurs.

Closer connections with Tech City

With the Tech City digital media cluster flourishing on its doorstep, in 2013 City ramped up the profile-raising work that began in 2012. We built an online and offline community linking academics, students and alumni into Tech City's inspiring networks of people, ideas and resources. City's approach to engagement is built on the ethos of partnership and aims to underpin the development of the cluster with broad-based support. City's strengths, combined with Tech City's innovative small and medium-sized businesses and multinational companies and investors, create a powerful recipe for growth.

An enterprising approach 2In 2013 City launched The Hangout, a pilot incubation and co-working space for student and academic entrepreneurs near the Old Street roundabout. The Hangout is designed to be a cool place, stocked with free coffee, beanbags and an ideas wall to get the creative juices flowing. Current tenants include Modafirma, a social commerce platform for fashion sellers and buyers, founded by Angela Ene Adamopoulos (a Cass alumna in Business and Finance) and WhisperLondon, a creative platform and magazine, started by business computing systems student Nancy Evbuomwan.

The development of knowledge and skills was also a feature of City's engagement with Tech City in 2013, including the provision of short courses, topical events such as a Digital Marketing Masterclass for entrepreneurs in Global Entrepreneurship Week and specialist Masters programmes. Launched in January 2013, City Unrulyversity, a pioneering partnership between City and the digital creative agency Unruly, saw over 700 entrepreneurs and students take part in free weekly sessions to learn, network and share ideas.

The University also continued as an active partner in local initiatives including the Digital Shoreditch festival and news platforms such as TechCityInsider that provide news, stories and interviews with people prominent in the cluster. The University also continued to engage with the local community, partnering with TeenTech City and Islington College to deliver the TeenTech City event to raise awareness and aspirations of STEM careers among local teenagers.

Extending our influence through consultancy

Consultancy is important in raising the profile of the University, sharing our expertise with the world and achieving our strategic goals. Over the last year, postgraduate students in the field of Computer Science have been involved in consultancy projects with companies including Electrolux, FedEx, Vonage, Ministry of Sound, AbilityNet, Selfridges, Profero and Mavens. Meanwhile, the School of Health Sciences' Professor David Crabb and his team delivered over £100,000 worth of consultancy with Allergan. And the new Research Group for Quality of Care for Older People (QCOP) has already delivered over £150,000 worth of consultancy and leadership programmes. Cass Consulting won projects to the value of £230,000 with organisations including BNYM, Fidelity Investments, UNUM, Institute of Family Business, AON Hewitt, Institute of Management Consultants and SWIFT Institute. The Aon Hewitt research project achieved particularly strong media coverage that resulted in increased enquiries from business for research and consultancy.

Inspiring growth through CPD

In 2012/13 the University's Continuing Professional Development (CPD) income grew to over £6.2 million. Cass Executive delivered CPD contracts worth £2.4 million, while the School of Health Sciences delivered £2 million worth of non-accredited courses in topics such as glaucoma, advanced nursing, food policy, forensic imaging and radiography. Having achieved £260,000 in revenue in 2012/13, The City Law School secured bookings for a further £198,000 worth of bespoke high-level CPD by the end of 2013. This includes winning new business to deliver specialist Courtroom Skills and Report Writing training for the London Fire Brigade, which rolled out in November and continues into 2014.

City's short courses have continued to grow, with student numbers exceeding 4,000 and income increasing to £1.6 million. The most popular courses were Major Event Management, Project Management and Finance for the Non-Financial Manager, closely followed by Starting up in Business and Human Resource Management. Our short course alumni continued to achieve great success. In 2013 Taro Takeuchi, Starting up in Business alumnus, opened his first business, a pet accessories shop in Covent Garden; Gemma Holdway, Screenwriting alumna, landed a dream job as the script coordinator for the US remake of the popular British series Broadchurch; and Melissa Bailey, Writers' Workshop alumna, saw her first book The Medici Mirror published by Random House (Arrow).

The Hangout is an amazing interface between City University London's research and education and the world of entrepreneurship, business and venture capital. It is a catalyst for young people to live their dreams.

Professor Adrian Cheok, Professor of Pervasive Computing

Maximising the impact of research

It was a successful year for City's many commercialisation initiatives. Heliex Power Ltd, a spin-out company with its origins in the School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences, gained global recognition when it was named in the prestigious Global Cleantech 100 listing and won the GP Bullhound Connect 'One to Watch 2013' award. Another spin-out, Thomson Screening Solutions Ltd, won the Business Impact Aspiring category in PraxisUnico's Impact Awards 2013. Thomson Screening's success was matched by the special recognition award won by Start Ed, a legal clinic established by two City Law School academics, Dr David Collins and Dr Eric Klotz, to provide pro bono advice to local businesses and start-ups using students working with law firms. Cass became the first UK business school (and only the third in the world) to commercialise investment strategies, through licensing agreements with two commercial partners, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, via the intermediary Indexx Markets. As a result, investors can buy Cass Business School-branded structured products.

During 2013, Professors Tong Sun, Ken Grattan and John Carlton of the School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences continued their progress towards commercialisation of their 'smart' propeller using novel optical sensor technologies. The experimental data obtained from their research show a close match with those from theoretical modelling using the finite element method, an achievement unmatched by any other conventional techniques. Members of this team are also working on a project aiming to explore the commercial potential of an instrumented pantograph using optical fibre sensor technologies.

Stimulating enterprise education

In 2013 enterprise education at City was energised by the launch of CityStarters.co.uk, a revised programme of weekly activities including the refocused CitySpark competition for students and recent alumni. Cityspark aims to encourage students to identify gaps in the market and build evidence-based start-ups designed to meet genuine demand. Of the 75 entries submitted in the first round, the top 30 were invited to take part in a special event with local entrepreneurs, business experts and alumni who each voted on their favourite ideas. 2013 also saw the inaugural Made@City competition to provide a showcase for final year student project work. Faisal Valli, a Computer Science student, won the most votes for his innovative Rubik's Cube Solver computer program.

City Startupfest at Cass Business School was launched in 2013 and immediately attracted more than 200 students and alumni to a range of business seminars, alumni entrepreneurs panel and start-up marketplace. In November two postgraduate students, Andrew Whelan, MBA Cass Business School and Alejandro Pena, PhD International Politics, won third prize at the global final of the Idea to Product (I2P) competition. They developed a commercialisation plan for Offshore Extreme, a software solution for simulating extreme weather conditions based on the pioneering research of Professor Qingwei Ma and Dr Shiqiang Yan of the School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences.

Dr Sue O'Hare
Director of Enterprise