I know… I know… We have been keeping our new venture ‘under the wraps’. We just wanted to make certain that it would be a resounding success! And it was! So, I am ready to announce…

Our first cohort of the Startdoms Informatics Accelerator at the University of Leicester has just completed its degree! All of the startups/ students have been able to find jobs or continue with the business they set up during their third year! All of them are happy with their results but I am the happiest of them all.

So, how did this Accelerator come about? We need to thank primarily the Head of the Informatics Department at the University of Leicester, Prof. Reiko Heckel. Reiko shared his dream with me almost two years ago. He was eager to create a degree that would allow students to acquire additional entrepreneurial skills and get leadership positions in their chosen industry. And the only way to achieve this was to create a third year entrepreneurial project that would help them get all the necessary practical skills.

In the beginning, we tested the module with an MsC student with a business idea. By September 2016 we were ready to expand; so, eleven third year students enrolled in this experimental module. All of them were enthusiastic about starting their own business. And all of them have proven that a business can be developed during a university course.

Startdoms provided the module structure and was responsible for the supervision of the students (on the entrepreneurial side). The department, on the other hand, provided the supervision of the technical side. The collaboration resulted in the creation of 11 different software platforms that are ready to be (or have already been) monetised)!

The students have been assessed on their technical skills, the agile software development, the User Experience, the Customer Development, the monetisation model, the strategic partnerships they set up, and many other aspects of the business. Our focus was on what they DID as well as what they LEARNT.

More than 50% of them achieved a First! And I am happy to say that I have never been prouder!

After our initial success, we are ready to accept our new cohort, starting October 2017. I am waiting to see the new entrepreneurial startup/ students, who wish to make their dreams come true!