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Young woman speaking at the City Launch Lab event.
Campus Life Series: Announcements

City Launch Lab incubates new students startups

City’s incubation and enterprise hub welcomes a new intake of budding student entrepreneurs

by Nicola Ranson (Communications Officer)

The Launch Lab is City’s startup incubation space that supports students and graduates who want to set up their own business. It has recently moved into a new space on campus in the Franklin Building, and following a round of pitching auditions, a fresh intake of student startups have just moved in.

The new roster of student startups were unveiled at a housewarming party on Thursday 9th February.

At the housewarming event, Marianne Lewis, Dean of Cass Business School talked about the role City can play in helping students to set up their own businesses. She said:

At City, we are passionate about nurturing entrepreneurship, and this begins by launching startups on their journey. Bringing our incubation space on campus further links and energises our community of entrepreneurs.

More than just desk space

The Launch Lab is a place for City students and alumni to work on their startups, with free desk space, meeting rooms and wifi. It gives them a chance to network and share ideas with other student entrepreneurs who are all in the same position as them. Having access to meeting rooms also allows them to hold professional meetings with investors or potential future partners.

The Launch Lab is not just about free desk space. Residents can attend monthly pitching events giving them the chance to practice and perfect their presentation skills. They have access to expert coaching, mentoring and training and can attend monthly networking events attended by venture capitalists, investors and other entrepreneurs.

Successful student startups

City has a strong track record of supporting student startups. Last year alone, City’s graduate companies created over 300 jobs and raised £4.5million in investment with annual turnover of nearly £7million.

Last week, City startup Cycl, appeared on BBC’s Dragon’s Den with their WingLights bicycle indicators. They received £45,000 of investment from Dragon Nick Jenkins.

Take a look at some of the other Launch Lab success stories.

The residents

This year there are more than 28 startups working from the Launch Lab. Residents include eco wet wipe brand Ace Twipes, Bear Pictures a boutique film maker, and Bombinate a European Menswear website.

The Launch Lab will welcome new residents every quarter. The next round of applications will open from April 2017.

Reciprico: insurance for good

Darren Munday and Reciprico FounderHenok Yemane both studied for an MBA at Cass Business School and are currently residents of the Launch Lab. They came up with the idea for their startup Reciprico as they wanted to combine something they were good at (insurance) while creating a sustainable income for charities.

Reciproco creates insurance communities that allow people to help the causes that matter to them, whilst insuring the things they value. After insuring your belongings, Reciprico give back at least 50 per cent of their commission to the causes you care about. The name comes from ‘reciprocity’, the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit.

Reciprico founderDarren says they would “absolutely recommend” the Launch Lab to other students because “it has given us both the physical and creative space to build our brand and expand our company.”

Henok added: "Having a location to work from as a startup, means it has been easier to take meetings, create a professional environment for the team to work in, and bounce ideas off of other startups working nearby."

The best thing about the LaunchLab, Darren says is the sense of community:

Many of us are facing similar challenges, but the overwhelming enthusiasm and support makes it all part of the fun.

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