Sir Robin Saxby

Budding tech entrepreneurs to be mentored by heroes

Up-and-coming technology entrepreneurs could win the chance to be mentored by their technology heroes in a new competition.

Launchpad, a new Royal Academy of Engineering award aimed at 16 to 25-year-olds, is designed to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs by encouraging young people to think commercially early on in their engineering careers.

The winner will receive the JC Gammon Award and become a member of the Academy’s Enterprise Hub, a network of its Fellows that includes some of the UK’s leading technology entrepreneurs who have pledged their time to mentor the country’s most promising start-ups and SMEs.

They will also receive £15,000 to help catalyse their start-up and within the first year of launching their business the Academy will also invite the winner to pitch to a number of leading UK investors and investor groups.

“Age is irrelevant to coming up with good business ideas, and it’s vital that we help young, talented engineers to develop their entrepreneurial skills in order to take their great ideas to market,” said leading angel investor David Gammon, the primary benefactor of the award.

“We want to encourage all of the participants, not just the overall winner, to think big and realise their entrepreneurial potential.”

More than 100 volunteer mentors – including well-known names such as co-founder of Autonomy Dr Mike Lynch and founding chief executive of ARM Sir Robin Saxby – have pledged their time to the Hub creating a network of high value business connections.

“The Launchpad competition has been established to encourage this country’s talented young engineers to think beyond product development and consider how their innovations might be developed into a fully-fledged, vibrant business. This is incredibly important to the continued growth of the UK engineering sector,” said Arnoud Jullens, head of Enterprise at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The competition opens today and any start-up company or individual with intent to form a company, with technology business ideas based on original intellectual property or the innovative application of technology is encouraged to apply.

Applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 25 and eligible disciplines can range from classical engineering such as mechanical, chemical, civil and biological, to mathematics, robotic, design, information technologies, and everything in between.

The deadline for entries is Monday 30 June 2014, and the winner will be chosen by a panel of engineering entrepreneurs.

Further information on the Launchpad competition is available here.

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