Venture Weekends - Unlocking and Supporting New Venture Ideas at Cranfield

We have major assets at Cranfield – smart people, great technologies, lots of ideas. Many of these ideas can be used to create value for society and the economy, for example by licencing technologies or by starting ventures. The purpose of the series of Venture Weekends is to provide concentrated time on getting to learn about ideas from right across the campus, build interim teams and thrash out ideas so that we can help you find viable business opportunities.

The weekends are for students on all programmes (taught and research) across the university who are up for a challenge, and who bring skills, motivation and a can-do approach to their teams.

We have two types of Venture Weekends:

  • StartUp Weekends where you can develop your idea in a safe "space"

StartUp Weekends are designed to help you develop an idea for a business and learn about what it takes to make it happen. The inspiration can come from what you have learnt at Cranfield, your research area or your own ideas. It is a wonderful opportunity to explore entrepreneurship as a future career direction. The Weekends provide focussed time on getting to learn about ideas from right across the campus, build interim teams and play around with ideas so we can help you find viable business opportunities. These are high energy weekends where you develop your idea in a “safe space"; learn some new skills and practice how to pitch for support and investment. 

  • Social Venture Challenge is where you compete with other teams to develop a solution to a challenge set by a charity or company.

In today’s complex society there are many environmental and social challenges that need to be solved to create a more sustainable future. Some societal problems can be addressed by providing innovative products and services for underserved stakeholders, and at Cranfield we want to use our major assets – smart people, great technologies, lots of ideas – to kick start social ventures that have real impact.

The Social Venture Challenge is a high energy weekend where you compete with other teams to develop a solution to a challenge set by a leading charity. Along the way you will learn some new skills and practice how to pitch your idea. You will meet fellow students and people from local charities, have an impact in the world, and have fun! You’ll compete for a £5000 cash prize to start a social venture.

What will it cost you

Time and commitment is your only cost. We will ask you to put in £5 cash into a pot at the start to award to the best presentation at the end of the two days.

We ran 1 Social Venture Challenge Weekend in November and we also run 2 StartUp Weekends a year and in February and May.

Past weekends

November 2016

17th - 19th 

Social Venture Challenge

February 2017

23rd - 25th 

Start Up Weekend 1

May 2017 

18th - 20th 

Start Up Weekend 2

Planned weekends

Watch this space for 2018 dates

All weekends start on 4pm Thursday for the introductions, ice breakers, rules of engagement and informal exploration of ideas until late. Fridays start at 9am until late, and Saturdays end at 4pm. For an outline programme please see the Programme tab.

Will my ideas get nicked?

There is never a fool proof way to shield ideas – but we will set out at the very start the process by which you can ensure you only talk enough about your idea to get you the feedback you need without losing it to the crowd. No one will lay claim on your idea because they worked with you during the weekend.

How to sign up

Please use the form to book for your place for either event

What happens if I do not show up?

You have to explain yourself to the Director of the Bettany Centre and to your head of Department.

What is the expected outcome?

By the end of the weekend you will have presented your ideas in teams to a panel that will provide you with feedback on the idea and on your presentation. 
If your idea and your team look viable we will provide you with further support through mentoring, advice (legal and financial) and other routes to markets etc. Venture Challenge winners will receive prize money to turn the winning idea into reality.