The birth of a new network – bringing entrepreneurs together across the ò Research Campus

The birth of a new network – bringing entrepreneurs together across the ò Research Campus

The birth of a new network – bringing entrepreneurs together across the ò Research Campus

I joined the ò in September as Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Officer. Moving to the area from London, I was excited and nervous to meet new people with the same interests and passions as me, but with the launch of a new network it wasn’t long before I found my people!

Lift-off for the ò Entrepreneurship and Careers Network

In November, the ò Research Campus and the ò launched their joint initiative – the ò Entrepreneurship and Careers. Designed to spark fruitful relationships, and open doors for collaborations, the network is open to everyone and anyone who wants to learn more about the science-business space.

The network launch event, held in the bar commenced with a warm welcome by Kathryn Chapman, Director of Science and Entrepreneurship from the ò Research Campus, followed by an inspiring talk on entrepreneurship delivered by Jason Mellad, Managing Partner & Co-Founder of Start Codon. Jason said one thing which caught my attention straight away; “Everyone in this room has the potential to be an entrepreneur… remember it is all about having the right mindset and self-belief.”

As someone with years of experience a scientist entrepreneur passionate about translating innovative technologies into better patient outcomes, Jason emphasised that maintaining core qualities is key to success. He also explained that having a positive mindset can go a long way in overcoming the problems often faced by entrepreneurs. For people at the start of their journey, it can be reassuring to know that according to Jason, analysis paralysis, the inability to make a decision due to excessive over-thinking, is more common than you might think – even for leaders we look up to as confident and successful. .

Jason also discussed that entrepreneurship is often not about going through the journey alone but being wise enough to seek support at the right time from the right people. He highlighted that the “right people” might not necessarily be those we work closest with but instead, who specialise in an area outside our own expertise, which could include technology transfer and grants management professionals. It could be through talking to a variety of people that you gain a fuller understanding of procedures and connect with experts in the field. Jason’s message was clear; having a network of people around you, like the ò Entrepreneurship and Careers Network, can be incredibly valuable.

To finish, Jason reflected on the idea of 'intrapreneurship' which goes way beyond starting your own business: it is the ability to harness innovation and finding creative ways of doing tasks to proactively progress in the organisation you work in. Jason explained that in the right circumstances, it could be a better path to success than spinning out a company.

The network’s second event: Christmas networking and bingo

Being told you need a network is very easy, but creating one requires some hard work. That’s why the ò Entrepreneurship and Careers Network quickly followed up their launch with some fun!

The networking and bingo event brought together senior staff and scientists from Campus companies including Five Alarm Bio, Mission Therapeutics, New Path Molecular Research, Bit. Bio and One Nucleus. As well as having nibbles and drinks, attendees shared their top networking tips with everyone, including:

  • Make sure to have your name badge placed somewhere visible so that it is easier for people to remember your name.
  • Have an exit plan to avoid getting stuck with the same person in the room, this is useful when you want to make the most from networking and engage with as many people as possible.
  • Talk to someone you wouldn’t normally engage with or find someone who is quiet in the crowd, you might be surprised what you’d learn from them.
  • Don’t shy away, take courage and talk! Be confident and don’t be afraid to speak up.
  • Don’t feel pressured to network, try to find something personal from your conversation, this could be finding what their favourite biscuit is!

At the end of the afternoon, prizes were given to people who were able to successfully network with the most people and had collected all the sticker dots on their loyalty cards. I took the advice seriously and won myself a box of chocolates!

I’m excited to see where the network will take me in the future, especially in the times where I need a friendly face to hear my ideas and for some inspiration.