Are you a Strathclyde student with a bright idea for a new energy technology, service or business model? Are you a budding entrepreneur who wants to set up their own energy business? If so you should apply to the Scottish Power-Iberdrola Entrepreneurial Challenge.
In partnership with Scottish Power-Iberdrola, the University of Strathclyde Business School has launched the challenge to help budding entrepreneurs develop the necessary knowledge and skills to establish their own successful energy business. It offers a suite of seed funding, expert coaching and valuable industry connections to translate their initial ideas into successful innovations. The challenge is open to all Strathclyde students from across departments and faculties.
The challenge is supported by Scottish Power-Iberdrola and aims to "foster entrepreneurship and innovation through challenges while developing special collaborations amongst internationally leading entrepreneurial universities, business schools and other groups of interest".
What the Challenge provides:
- Seed funding up to £4,300 per project
- Winners take part in a trip to Madrid to take part in Iberdrola’s "Innovation Week" where their projects will be showcased, pitching their business idea to Iberdrola executives and interact with the wider network of entrepreneurs including other winners from parallel Iberdrola Challenge Programmes from across the world.
- Tailored business development training across 3 development workshops focused on energy business ideation, development and commercialisation
- Expert advice and mentoring from leading entrepreneurs, industry directors and investors
- Access to an international network of innovators via Strathclyde, the Entrepreneurial Network and Iberdrola, as well as international students from across the global Iberdrola Challenge Programme .
The Challenge is aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs with excellent and original ideas for new energy technologies, services or business models, who want to turn these into a successful commercial ventures. It is open to all Strathclyde University students including undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level students. The approximate size of the cohort is around 15 project teams, with no more than 5 students in each team.
The challenge involves the progressive identification, selection and development of novel and promising energy business ideas. These include, but are not limited to new technologies, services, products, processes and business models. Complementary technology and management innovations will also be considered, including but not limited to digital technologies and data analytics. Ideas must be for the purposes of creating or being integrated within commercially viable businesses.
All proposals should be relevant to ScottishPower-Iberdrola's core innovation and technology areas.
The proposal (2 pages max, standard margins, 12 Times New Roman font) should contain the following sections:
- Clear description of the targeted problem and proposed solution
- Clear business case to evidence potential commercial value of proposed solution
- Market analysis, including market drivers/barriers, estimates of market size, competitors etc.
- Project plan and development milestones, i.e. what steps will you take and why?
- Budget plan, i.e. what do you plan to spend the money on and why?
- Description of the team members, their skills and track record (maximum team size: 5 members)
We envisage the sandpit process to involve three stages (ideation, development and commercialisation), each lasting two months, and leading to increasingly well-defined projects. The detailed process proposed is as follows:
Call for ideas
Participants will submit their initial vision and a judging panel comprised of staff, entrepreneurs and Scottish Power-Iberdrola managers will evaluate proposals based on a predefined set of criteria (e.g. originality and feasibility of proposal, market potential, team’s ability and expertise profile).
Selected participants are encouraged to apply for seed funding up to £300 to develop their initial vision into a coherent and validated proposition. Each entrepreneur/team will benefit from the guidance of a dedicated coach. Participants will also be offered an ideation workshop to help them through their task. At the end of this phase, propositions will be assessed by the judging panel. The most promising proposals will be invited to apply for seed funding up to £1000 and proceed to the second round.
Remaining participants proceed to developing the concept identified in the first round. Also at this stage teams will receive guidance from a dedicated coach and will participate in a concept development workshop. At the end of this phase projects are submitted again through the judging panel. The most promising are encouraged to apply for seed funding up to £3000 and proceed to the third and final round.
Participants are guided through a dedicated commercialisation workshop. They will continue to work with a dedicated coach through the process of preparing their project for market launch. At the end of this phase, projects will be once again evaluated by the panel and the winning team will be given the opportunity to take part in Iberdrola's "Innovation Week" in Madrid. This will involve the opportunity to pitch their own idea to Iberdrola executives and their partners, as well as a chance to network with other participants/winners from other Iberdrola sandpit programmes.
Participants are expected to:
- Attend the 3 training workshops
- Participate in the mentoring sessions
- Submit a report at the end of each stage for scrutiny by the judging panel
- Participate in all scheduled events, poster sessions and presentations.
- Submit a proposal for funding at each stage within the allocated budget limit. The expectation is for teams to spend their seed money wisely on items that are critical for developing or validating the proposed business idea.
If you want to apply for the challenge firstly you should sign up to our mailing list by emailing Heather Brown to receive alerts and learn more about upcoming drop-in sessions to help you develop your proposal. Secondly, you should begin preparing your proposal for submission on 11.59pm on Aprill 2nd, 2017.
If you have any questions at all about the process or want to check your idea is appropriate for the challenge please contact Heather Brown for further information.