Royal Academy to launch business mentor scheme

Aspiring entrepreneurs could get help from top engineers under new plans to launch a business development centre at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The Academy has secured the help of 70 of its Fellows drawn from distinguished UK engineers to provide business mentoring to individuals hoping to start technology firms.

The Enterprise Hub scheme, due to launch in April, will build on the services offered as part of the Academy’s Engineering Enterprise Fellowships for academics looking to start a business, and eventually open a base at the Academy headquarters in London, offering support for a wider range of individuals and startup firms.

‘Once the Enterprise Hub is fully up and running it’s going to provide support to these sorts of people throughout the enterprise lifecycle,’ the Academy’s chief executive, Philip Greenish, told The Engineer.

‘It’s also going to be bringing together those people who fund technology startups at varying stages with the people who they need to meet.’

The 70 mentors who have offered to donate one day a month to the Hub include chief executive of Amadeus Capital Partners Anne Glover, chair of the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Council Ian Shott, and pro-vice chancellor of Birmingham University Prof Richard Williams.

‘There’s been a growing sense from many of the Academy’s more entrepreneurial fellows that we needed to find a better way of focusing the support that we provide to entrepreneurs,’ said Greenish.

‘When you look at the phenomenal range of people we have available to us to support entrepreneurs on an individual and company basis, these are the country’s very best technology entrepreneurs. So by creating a hub we’re going to be drawing on their skills, knowledge and experience.’

The Hub will form a key part of the Academy’s new Engineering for Growth campaign, launched today as a way of focusing the organisation’s activities in promoting engineering and entrepreneurship under the theme of the contribution engineering makes to the UK economy.