Are you a budding entrepreneur with an innovative business idea for a new technology, service or business model relating to the energy sector? Are you a current Strathclyde student or recent graduate?
In partnership with Scottish Power & Iberdrola, the University of Strathclyde Business School and Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network, the University has launched a challenge to help foster entrepreneurship and innovation in the energy sector. It offers seed funding, expert training and one-to-one mentoring from industry experts to help turn your business dream into a reality.
The Challenge is part of the much wider international Iberdrola Universities Programme, covering five universities from the UK, US, Mexico, and Spain, which aims to develop special collaborations amongst internationally leading entrepreneurial universities, business schools and other groups of interest.
- Teams can win up to £13k of seed funding, with prizes awarded to both competition winners and runners up.
- Tailored training across a series of workshops focused on energy business development and commercialisation.
- Expert advice and mentoring from leading entrepreneurs, industry directors and investors, as well as expert insight into the viability of business proposals from senior Scottish Power-Iberdrola personnel.
- Access to an international network of innovators via Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network and Iberdrola, as well as international students from across the global Iberdrola Challenge Programme.
- Winners receive an all-expenses paid trip to Madrid to take part in Iberdrola's "Innovation Week" in 2018. Projects will be showcased, pitching their business idea to Iberdrola executives and interact with an international network of entrepreneurs including other winners from parallel Iberdrola Challenge Programmes from across the world.
The Challenge is aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs looking to turn innovative and viable business ideas into commercial ventures. Ideas must be for a new technology, service or business model linking to the energy sector (further details under “what ideas are accepted” section). The Challenge is open to all University of Strathclyde students (undergraduate, MSc, PhD etc.) and alumni who graduated up to one year ago (i.e. since January 2017).
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.
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.
- Register and attend the ScottishPower & Ibedrola Challenge drop-in session on 3-4pm Monday 27th November in Cathedral Wing 506b in the Business School. Here you will hear more about the programme and potential proposal themes. There will also be an opportunity for Q&A. Please contact Heather Brown to register.
- You should then begin to prepare to submit your proposals to the competition, with the submission deadline set of 11.59pm Sunday 4th February.
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? You are expected to submit proposal for funding 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.
- Description of the team members, their skills and track record (maximum team size: 5 members)
There are three stages to the ScottishPower & Ibedrola Challenge: ideation, development and commercialisation. The overall programme will begin in February 2018 and conclude in September 2018 when the winners will be selected. The detailed process is as follows:
Call for proposals
Participants will submit their proposals by 11.59pm Sunday 4th February 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).
Development training through Enterprise Pathway
Successful teams will be invited to join part of the University of Strathclyde’s flagship entrepreneurial skills development programme; Enterprise Pathway. As part of the ScottishPower & Iberdrola Challenge, teams will be able to access Enterprise Academy and Enterprise Challenge training – stages 2 and 3 of the Enterprise Pathway programme. Details of these stages below:
- Enterprise Academy: The 2 day Enterprise Academy weekend, (stage 2 of Enterprise Pathway), will be held on the 17-18th February 2018, on University of Strathclyde campus. Teams will receive expert advice on how to develop their business model, undertake market research, identify target customers, pitch for investment and establish their business enterprise. They will also be partnered with expert mentors to offer them advice on how to develop and refine their business proposals.
- Enterprise Challenge: All teams attending the Enterprise Academy will progress onto Enterprise Challenge (stage 3 of the Enterprise Pathway programme). As part of Enterprise Challenge, all Iberdrola teams will attend a “Pitch for your Pint” event on Monday 26th February 2018. Here, teams will have the opportunity to learn from entrepreneurs who have effectively used video pitches to convey their business ideas. Following this, on Monday 5th of March 2018, teams will submit a 60 second video pitch, outlining their business, which will be reviewed by an expert panel. Teams will then be short-listed and the finalists progressing to the next round.
Those shortlisted will be guided through a dedicated commercialisation workshop, covering issues such as intellectual property, entrepreneurial finance, legal issues and technology roadmapping. Teams will continue to work with a dedicated mentor through the process of preparing their project for market launch.
At the end of this phase, the finalists will present their final business pitches to an expert panel in early September 2018. Seed funding will be awarded to both the winners and runners up, whilst 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 ideas to Iberdrola executives and their partners, as well as a chance to network with other participants/winners from other Iberdrola sandpit programmes.
During the course of the programme the participants are expected to:
- Attend a series of training workshops & mentoring sessions (details and dates noted above)
- Submit their proposal as outlined above by the stated deadline, submit a business model canvas (training provided) and submit a 60 second video pitch (training provided): all of which will be scrutinised by a judging panel.
Register and attend the ScottishPower & Ibedrola Challenge drop-in session on 3-4pm Monday 27th November in Cathedral Wing 506b in the Business School. Here you will hear more about the programme and potential proposal themes. There will also be an opportunity for Q&A. Please contact Heather Brown to register.
You should then begin to prepare to submit your proposals to the competition, with the submission deadline set of 11.59pm Sunday 4th February.