Is your spin-off the business?

March 25, 2005

Could your spin-off be the next UK pharmaceutical giant? Have you developed a clever widget that will bring in licensing income for years to come?

If so, you could be in the running for The Times Higher's Business Initiative of the Year award.

In 2003, universities generated £31.3 million from licences and last year ten spin-off companies floated on the stock market. The award seeks to recognise and reward entrepreneurial nous, whether it be demonstrated in spin-off companies, spin-in companies or licences launched between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2005.

Although the financial benefits of any project will be taken into consideration, the judges will be particularly interested in initiatives that demand determination, imagination and flexibility. This award is open to individuals, departments or institutions.

One of the judges, Gillian Macfadzean, director of technology and research services at Heriot-Watt University and chairwoman of the Association for University Research and Industry Links, said: "What we are looking for are exciting businesses that will take a leap in the dark but be wearing infrared goggles.

"By which I mean they will be bold and creative with their potential market but will also have a clear base in understanding their market."

The other judges are Sir Christopher Evans, chairman of investment company Merlin Biosciences, and Arthur Francis (Bradford University), chair of the Association of Business Schools.

The award is sponsored by In Focus, a company that specialises in projection technology.

Con Mallon, regional director, said: "We started out from a small company that spotted a technology and built a company on the back of it. So we're very firmly aligned with the spirit of entrepreneurship."

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