Entrepreneurs play a hugely important role in stimulating economies and are key drivers of growth all over the world. Today global development is entering a phase where entrepreneurship will increasingly play an even more important role. We seek to empower the next generations of exceptional entrepreneurs and help them create market-leading businesses of the future to drive economic prosperity and transform societies.
Our mission is to identify and nurture the best talent and shape them into the most prominent innovators, leaders and changemakers of the future – we hope to develop an active community of remarkable people. We seek to invest in brilliant people who, with support, can start and build successful businesses, drive change and make a significant impact. We work hard to provide you with the best platform from which to maximise and unleash your potential. Our fellowships aim to prepare you for the journey ahead with the powerful mix of skills, guidance and perspectives you need to prosper. Together, we provide an environment equipped with all the necessary tools to flourish: like-minded and talented people; experienced mentors; invaluable guidance and advice from experts; a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere with fascinating events; access to workspace, labs and technological, legal, financial, HR, marketing, analytics support teams; theoretical knowledge and practical skills; and access to capital and a wider network of contacts required at each step of the way. In short, we provide the fertile soil, light and water for you to grow and flourish as a budding entrepreneur. The fellowships have been developed to be the launchpad to propel you forward – it is what we and many others would have so dearly wanted when first starting out!
There are many myths about entrepreneurship, particularly with regards to the idea that it is something that only ‘special’ people are born with and cannot be taught. We believe that entrepreneurial behaviours and mindsets can be learned by anyone. Traits such as creativity, a positive attitude to risk taking and ambitious long term visions, to name just a few of these, are not just for the very few. At the same time entrepreneurship has also been glamourised to an extreme (almost a ‘buzzword) in some cases. More and more people are speaking about it and the prospect of being your own boss, making your path in life by building your own business and shunning more ‘traditional’ careers has become increasingly fashionable. We believe that it is a good thing that there has been a culture change where taking the plunge and creating your own business has become more appealing and is being considered a realistic possibility for many people who might not have felt that way before. Even ‘intrapreneurship’ in large companies has become a hot theme – the entrepreneurial mindset is wanted everywhere. However, some people want to follow the path of creating a business for perhaps the wrong reasons, such as purely getting rich – a major issue is the idea that this path will likely lead to that. In fact, most startups fail and the journey is fraught with challenges. There is the ‘wantrepreneur’ problem where everyone wants to be an entrepreneur and likes talking about the romanticised ideas of what is entailed but the reality can be quite different. To quote the Economist, “It is fashionable to romanticise entrepreneurs. Business professors celebrate the geniuses who break the rules and change the world. Politicians praise them as wealth creators. Glossy magazines drool over Richard Branson’s villa on Lake Como. But the reality can be as romantic as chewing glass: first-time founders have the job security of zero-hour contract workers, the money worries of chronic gamblers and the social life of hermits.” That does not sound so great but this should not put you off at all. ‘Talking-the-talk’ about setting up a business and being an entrepreneur is not enough and we seek to help people actually ‘walk-the-walk’ by providing them with the resources and support to succeed.
So if you’re looking to act on your ambitions and create your own ventures, we can help you move from thought to action as you gain the skill set, guidance and confidence needed. We want to help inspire and empower you so that you make the most of opportunities.
We are actively seeking people from a diverse range of skill sets, backgrounds and experiences to turn into successful founders.
There are three main areas of focus for the fellowships:
- Young graduates and school leavers
- Scientists, engineers and academics with a technical background
- People working in the corporate world
First and foremost, we invest in people. Our fellowships are designed to back you fully based on your potential, which we seek to help you maximise. You can have fixed ideas and co-founders or you can have neither – these are not required to apply. We help you find suitable co-founder(s) and help you to develop the best idea for you to work on based upon your strengths, goals and experiences. We are looking for people who are passionate and want to become job creators rather than job seekers. The criteria for entry is on merit, based upon what you have achieved so far and the talent, energy, ambition, initiative, steadfastness, impact and potential that you have demonstrated.
One of the most powerful aspects of the fellowships is the community of gifted people with a shared passion and different but complimentary skills. By bringing together these ambitious people and different skill sets all in the same place, we have created a potent mix of the best scientific and technical talent, the most promising marketers and strategists, the best budding business minds etc. Such an environment seeks to be conducive to the creation of well-rounded, smart and dynamic founding teams that are the initial platform for building successful companies from scratch.
Your career, like your education, is a life-long learning process, and experiences gained over the years will help you develop. Our intensive training programme is designed to fast-track your entrepreneurial education and give you the best platform to make a success of founding and building your own business. It is intense, aiming to accelerate you through a steep learning curve as rapidly as possible. Beyond a mere introduction, our programmes are designed to be a one stop shop, with our training sessions and workshops, as well as guest speaker events covering an extensive range of topics to help you as much as possible at each and every stage of your business journey, from ideas to funding to exits and beyond. We strive to demystify the process of building an early stage business and guide you through what is required to turn your idea into a successful business, creating a clear roadmap ahead and plan for what years one and two might look like. We also discuss the development, sales, marketing, legal and financial etc. sides with you.
We seek to instil entrepreneurial behaviours and mindsets (these can be taught) in you, with the aim of developing the insight required to discover and create entrepreneurial opportunities. The intention is to give you the expertise to successfully start and manage your own businesses to take advantage of these opportunities. We believe the best learning is by doing and the programmes aim to act as entrepreneurial apprenticeships. It is only when concepts are actually implemented that you can fully understand them and we provide an environment for you to test ideas, iterate and gain feedback rapidly.
Our programmes are highly customised as each startup and team is unique. In addition to tailored support, advice and funding we have a structured series of events, high profile guest speakers and training sessions and workshops. As well as funding, we provide you with 1:1 mentorship sessions, access to our wider network of mentors, experts and advisors on top of facilitating conversations and enabling you to reach public and private sector partners and our contacts in the investment community and entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Make the most of the chance to benefit from:
Access the leading corporate partners and make the most of the chance to collaborate. The potential benefits for startups working with established corporates cannot be stressed enough and our corporate partners often have their own programmes and opportunities you can also avail.
During the fellowship we create a bespoke learning journey for each fellow and aim to strike the best balance between training and the chance to practice and cultivate the concepts from the training so that you can evolve each step of the way. We want to ensure, from a lifestyle point of view, that there is a healthy work-life balance and also that you have the freedom and self-direction you desire when building your businesses with our support. Coaching is an important part of your personal and professional development and you are able to access experienced executive coaches who can act as trusted guides and confidantes. They are here to support your learning and development throughout the fellowships, especially at the most challenging times.
Each startup journey is unique for founders and you should be under no illusions that the process can be difficult and fraught with challenges on the way with ups and down (not simply linear progression upwards). It can take time and patience, requiring hard work and effective time and risk management, if you want to succeed. You may attempt several ventures before you find the right one for you that becomes a success. Even if during the course of the fellowships or afterwards, you find that it is not working out with your idea and business you will have benefitted immensely. In addition to adding a powerful toolkit to your armoury, we give you the chance to get hands on experience of building an idea into a business and we open doors to expand your network, so you can best identify and capitalise upon the most exciting opportunities whilst moving forward. Other options include working for one of our portfolio companies and gaining further first hand experience of building a successful company, by working closely with the founders themselves, or applying to fast-track opportunities at our partner corporations. So there is nothing to lose, but so much to potentially gain! There are many challenging obstacles that entrepreneurs must face and overcome and they are ever growing and changing. The fellowships prepare you for facing these and help you advance your entrepreneurial ambitions both during your time with us and after.
So if you have entrepreneurial ambitions and are serious about pursuing them and want to get stuck in, roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, our exclusive fellowships are an excellent platform for turning you into a founder.
We don’t operate what we consider to be archaic, cumbersome application processes that you might be used to traditionally. There are no huge forms, online tests after online tests and cringeworthy assessment centre exercises. Instead we would rather just hear the basics and then have an initial exploratory chat over coffee to understand more about you and your background, your experiences and journey so far as well as your goals moving forward. We are flexible and want to attract the most talented people. Get in touch today if you feel you fit the bill and can benefit from the fellowships!