Start-Up Fair – unlocking and supporting new business ideas at Cranfield

As a result of the COVID-19 and its implications for teaching and learning, we have taken the decision to move our Start-Up Fair (formerly known as Start-Up Weekend) online.

The team are currently working hard to create a programme which is interesting and relevant for those of you looking to take a business idea forward.

We are conscious that one of the greatest aspects of the Start-Up Fair is its interactive nature. Previous participants have celebrated the opportunity to work closely with entrepreneurial mentors and we are committed to retaining this level of interactivity in our online version of the programme.

The programme will now be slightly condensed and will be hosted on Zoom on Thursday 30th April, Friday 1st May and Thursday 7th May. Further details to follow.

About Start-Up Weekends

  • Have you noticed a day-to-day problem that you can solve and turn into a business?
  • Do you have an idea that is based on your research that you think can be turned into a new venture or licensed to industry?
  • Do you want to learn how you can take your ideas and turn them into a business opportunity?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions and you are a Cranfield researcher, member of staff or student this could be a great opportunity for you.

The Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship Start-Up Weekends provide the chance to test your ideas with people from industry, entrepreneurs and investors to see how, if at all, your ideas could become a business. The programme is designed to give you the confidence to take an idea and turn it into a business project or venture. 

The weekends will be run by a combination of academics and practitioners in a very practical way, with short talks on key issues, such as how to determine markets, build teams, understand key numbers and how to manage your intellectual property. You will mainly work in small groups with the assistance and support of highly experienced mentors. These mentors will help you to get underneath your business idea.

At the end of the weekend you will present your polished idea to a panel of entrepreneurs and industry professionals. Following this, you will be provided with feedback on both your idea and presentation. 

Senior mentors who have agreed to speak, mentor and support at previous Start-Up Weekends include:

Jon Thornes – Founder of Cool Milk. Business Angel investor
Phil O’Donovan – Founder of Cambridge Silicon Radio (Bluetooth) and Business Angel
Richard Leaver – Boundary Capital – serial entrepreneur and venture capital
Steve Joliffe – Founder of TopGolf – which has flipped the business model of golf ranges

What is the expected outcome?

If your idea and/or your team look viable we will provide you with further support through mentoring, advice (legal and financial) and other routes to markets etc. 

If you have engaged in the mentoring process within the centre and we think that you have a viable idea, you may be invited to pitch for investment at Investor Day. This is not a guaranteed outcome and will only be offered to those individuals that are committed and show genuine potential. 

What have been the outcomes of past Start-Up Weekends:

We have been running Start-Up Weekends at Cranfield since 2015. As a result of these successful weekends, we have seen many students pitch for investment and launch their businesses. One success story comes from Corrosionradar, who launched in 2017 and have now completed a £1m funding round. 

What will it cost you?

Time and commitment is your only cost. 

Planned weekends for 2020

12-14 March 2020
30 April - 2 May 2020

The weekends start at 4.00pm on the Thursday for the introductions, ice breakers, rules of engagement and informal exploration of ideas until late. The Friday will run from 9.00am until late and Saturday will run from 9.00am until 4.00pm. We ask that you are fully committed throughout the entire programme, those who fully invest their time and effort in the weekend will certainly get the most out of it. 


Register now