Let me tell you a Story about one of the brightest best practices of the synergy between the University, Start-ups, and Business. A quite untapped area in Ukraine, but we're working on it!
My Alma Mater, University of Manchester, historically has a reputation as a place from where innovation goes directly to a business. The first computer program in 1948, a new way of working with Graphene (btw, university professors got the Nobel Prize for this invention) - the University has something to offer to the business world.
Many universities can boast of academic innovations that have contributed to global scientific knowledge, what make Manchester University special is that it takes an active approach in commercialising these opportunities.
University developed a business incubation program where the staff acts as project funnel encouraging students with bright business ideas to join the Incubator.
The structure of the incubator itself is design to leverage considerable footprint that the University has itself (the largest student campus in Europe) and its extensive links in the business community.
At the initial stage the patent experts and inhouse business analysts assess the viability of the idea. Once the project is through these initial gates it then decided if University can make a use of these start-ups internally or should and external third part come in.
University has two structures that support these processes.
UMIP (University of Manchester Intellectual Property) – supporting ideas internally with IP issues, academic support, contacts eventually licensing them out.
UMIC (University of Manchester Incubator Company) – acts as more classical VC fund with a £32 m to support new companies.
This kind of approach - merging academia, startups and business might be the way forward for all large universities. Business incubation, aside from potential investment returns, critically offers feedback from the real business world and the opportunities for students to merge their academic knowledge with the real world. Real-life, after all, is the best education.
David Gilgur, founder of Vimes Group