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Innovation Begins At 40 For Commercialisation At The University of Edinburgh
by Editor, Web Wise Business (20 November 2009)
40 Years of Edinburgh Research & Innovation


The big “four oh” is always a “big” birthday and it deserves to be celebrated – so well done to the commercialisation arm of The University of Edinburgh in making it to the landmark birthday, Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) are 40. The birthday was celebrated at a reception attended by HRH The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Chancellor to the University featuring many of the businesses that have been “spun out” from the University over the years. The team at Objective Associates and at Web Wise Business would like to add their voices to the happy birthday message.

Alex Ogilvie, Director with Objective Associates, has long been a supporter of the commercialisation efforts at Edinburgh and in particular of EPIS one of ERI’s incubators. As a voluntary business mentor, with the business incubator since day one, Alex is an enthusiastic supporter of EPIS believing it to be “a powerfully cost effective way to support and nurture innovative businesses”. Alex is also involved with The Knowledge Exchange and Transfer office of The College of Humanities and Social Science within the University assisting academic staff with commercialisation strategies including the provision of spin out advice. Alex is not the only one who has been helping EPIS, the team at Web Wise Business have also been doing “their bit” by supporting the incubator’s website and providing support for the mentors and companies who use it.

But the stars of EPIS are undoubtedly the start ups that it produces such as Pufferfish, whose lighting systems have powered Coldplay and The Eurovision Song Contest, and Ecometrica, carbon performance specialists. The success of EPIS is undoubtedly down to it’s highly innovative model – accommodation within a supportive School at The University, a host academic to assist, access to University equipment, a business mentor to provide pragmatic advice and a £10,000 loan to help get the business going. As Alex explains, “Many of the companies at the 40th birthday reception simply would not have enjoyed the success they have had had it not been for the EPIS team and the support it can bring to bear. Where else can a new start get support like this?”

The result of EPIS has been a steady stream of innovative and growth hungry businesses since 2004, all contributing significantly to the Scottish economy. Supported by Scottish Enterprise the scheme is unique in the UK and proves that with relatively modest funding that entrepreneurs incubated within a supportive and multi faceted academic environment can do exceptionally well. EPIS is a real Scottish success, and one that demonstrates that state support can make a real difference to the entrepreneurial ambitions of Scotland.

With EPIS funding coming up for renewal in 2010 everyone at Web Wise Business is clear that it deserves to be celebrating its 40th birthday one day as well.

   

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