The IMAGINE IF! accelerator brings together science-focussed start-ups with seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts to provide mentorship and to compete for a cash prize. This year’s competition is now open with a submission deadline of November 16th 2018.
We asked some of last year’s judges to comment on the benefits of the competition and to give some insight into what they were looking for.
Dr Fred Kemp, Deputy Head of Licensing & Ventures for Life Sciences at Oxford University Innovation and judge in last year’s Oxford final, said: “it’s a great opportunity to get some exceptional mentoring, the quality of the mentors that [Innovation Forum] get into the program is fantastic”, and added that it was a great chance to practice your pitch. In finalists, he wanted to see a combination of entrepreneurial spirit, enthusiasm, persistence and insight to spot an opportunity.
“I think what we’re looking for is something which is new, something which is truly original but also has a real chance of succeeding, not only because it’s a damn good idea… but because there’s some really smart people behind it who you can see are going to develop into good business people” echoed Keith Errey, CEO of Isansys Lifecare Ltd.
He added that the IMAGINE IF! program “is exactly what you need if you’re starting with something and thinking ‘how the hell am I going to make this happen’”.
Both judges stressed that companies coming out of Oxford stand a great chance of succeeding on a global scale, thanks to the diversity in the ecosystem, the quality of the research, and the excellence of the people.