What exactly is Incubation centre? Today’s university students want more than academic degrees. They aim to launch businesses, develop new products and start social movements. Incubation centre is an idea sharing platform and networking space inside university apart from classrooms, library and Students’ Union. This centre focus on connecting students from all departments / courses under one roof. It is equipped with all requirements to support student led start-ups or existing businesses. Connecting local businesses and providing working desks, the centre will not only nurture students to start their dream ventures but also create equal opportunities for internships and placements after graduation.
(Image source: Habita co-working space Istanbul)
Importance of Incubation centre in University:
Providing full-fledged accessible incubation centre to budding or aspiring entrepreneurs will grow the seeds of entrepreneurship, sense of community and employability. Student during the university time come across new and creative ideas, if this ideas are given a road map it can lead to commercially success entity. Ideas may be related to technology, environmental, arts, sciences or services. This centre will not only give a brand value to the university but also leaves a positive foot prints on the economy of the country.
We as students consider setting up an Incubation centre will not only provide us the opportunity to grow as entrepreneurs and make us more employable but also it will empower the university through-out the world on being welcoming to innovation, invention and ideas. Having business societies, big pitch and many other entrepreneurial activities in campus itself depicts the zeal of innovation among the ARU students.
(Image source: ARU website)
ARU Incubation centre will have the following departments/sections:
Work station/co-working space: This is the working space provided to the selected start-up ventures. It includes the infrastructure which is required for the entity to grow and work.
Stationary and kitchen: This area attach to the work station includes the stationary requirements like printers / papers / etc. and kitchen area might include a coffee machine, micro wave and with other basic requirements
Technology support: depending on the nature of business, start-ups may require tech support which includes web development / app development / cloud services or any IT related requirements. Hence, this space will be the hub of all tech related requirements at one place.
Legal Dept.: This roof will be for legal proceedings of the business. This includes services like registering a company (based on companies act) and handling queries or workshops or presentation on tackling legalities of the entity. This roof will also be responsible for developing ethics in business.
Investment panel: Once the Incubation centre is set to launch. We will bring other external bodies to support the new ventures. It includes angle investors, VCs, Investment firms etc.
Expert panel: This place is the involvement and interaction of students with the experts (might be university faculty or external body to certain level) but preferable inside university experts.
Events and activities: this area will cover the workshops, seminars, webinars, presentations or talks. Any activities related to the centre which involves gathering.
Local Business hub. : This can be also named as Business hub. The objective of this space is to connect our partner companies or associate companies at this place. This may give them the sense of existence and importance and also the point connection to all the stakeholders.
Admin: This area is the official admin point where university will handle it functioning related to incubation centre. No other than authorised staff is given access to use this space.
Library: A mini library filled with business related articles, newspapers, magazines and digital access to business field (recorded talks, documentaries, access to paid soft wares etc.)
Conference room: this is a space for small gathering to have meetings
Networking area: This is the centric space for networking and socialising.
Alumni Support: connecting ARU alumni will give a platform for exchange if ideas, support and networking for the existing students and equally create opportunity for alumni to connect and be associated with university.
How incubation centre will benefit students?
Start up support:
It can be seen from the above that the whole incubation centre is planned in a way to support students start their own ventures. Work stations / networking space and inter departmental support can boost the start-ups to grow a successful business entity. Tie-ups with gigantic firms and the local business will also play a prominent role in supporting the start-ups.
Collaboration with other course students:
If like-minded students given a platform irrespective of their course of study to exchange knowledge under one roof, this will give birth to innovative ideas. This is something which lacks in our university and incubation centre will be one stop solution.
The most appreciated and beneficial in incubation centre is networking space. We have Local businesses, Students across dept., associated gigantic firms, University staff and Students’ Union. If all these stakeholders get opportunity to interact with and network, it shall also create the platforms for placements and internships.
Local companies connect:
We aim to connect with the local companies in and around Cambridge and also in Chelmsford. These can be any firm operating at commercial level irrespective of the sector of operation. It will give students a platform to interact with them and closely work in their projects. Indeed, it shall also be an opportunity for students to closely watch the working structure in real time.
Conducting seminars and webinars with company experts to understand the real life challenges on various topics from science, arts, medical to business will create a huge of source of knowledge to students. It can play a major role in shaping students career.
As it’s mentioned in the previous points about connecting external entities, it’s quite evident the way it will support students in grabbing opportunity of internships via networking or connecting with the companies.
It is required that students after graduation even stay connected with the ARU family. Inviting alumni and connecting them through incubation centre will boost students’ engagement and support. This section in incubation centre will nurture existing students to develop and build connections.
Access to online certification courses:
There will be support to students to learn the new courses online and obtain certificates additionally. Internal certification courses which will be conducted by tie-up firms will give students hands on practice on business. This will boost CVs and can be the authentic source of knowledge.
Newsletter, Magazine access and E books:
A particular designated space for in incubation centre to provide access to E-books and copies of latest magazines and university newsletters
Work stations or co- working space:
This hold a prominent role in the centre, the work station are provided to students who are keenly interested in working on their start-ups or researches. Work station includes support like access to computers, wi-fi, designated desk and other office requirements.
Access to technology:
The centre will focus to providing support to tech start-ups in services like clouding, hosting, domain and other basic requirement for an IT firm. This also include website and app development support.
A bit more research into incubation centre in UK universities
SETsquared is a unique enterprise partnership and a dynamic collaboration between the five leading research-led UK universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. Ranked as the Global No. 1 Business Incubator, we provide a wide range of highly acclaimed support programmes to help turn ideas into thriving businesses.
Key point: SETsquared
Since launching in 2002, they have supported over 4,000 entrepreneurs helping them raise £1.8bn investment.
Independent research carried out by Warwick Economics has estimated the economic impact of SETsquared supported companies to £8.6bn, with the creation of 20,000 jobs, by 2030 this is set to grow to £26.9bn.
2.Oxford Start-up Incubators (innovation.ox.ac.uk/startupincubator/)
The incubator has been in operation since 2011 and has:
•Taken in over 80 start-up ventures ranging from the medical domain to social media data analysis
•Supported and worked with them on product development and initial commercial traction
•Supported incubator ventures in attracting over $70 million from a range of public and private sources.
Business giants supporting start-ups through associations with Incubators
Google for start-ups (startup.google.com/intl/en_uk/)
Google for Entrepreneurs operates six Campus spaces and partners with dozens of hubs to bring people together, connect them with others and help launch great start-ups
Tools google provide for budding ventures: please follow this link startup.google.com/intl/en_uk/tools/