Ahead of the start of Leicestershire Innovation Festival, the county’s three universities are calling on innovators in the region to turn their ideas and intellectual property into real-world solutions.

They are inviting businesses, academic partners, students, and university entrepreneurs in Leicester and Leicestershire to participate in a novel accelerator, VentureVersity, where they stand to benefit from fast-tracked pathways for the development of university generated intellectual property and ideas.

VentureVersity, led by the University of Leicester in partnership with Loughborough University, De Montfort University and Leicester Startups, is offering support for to up to ten selected ideas. It will provide allocated resources, including seed capital, to catalyse the development process, encompassing activities such as market research, business planning, technology and market development.

Those interested can find out more and register their interest on the Ventureversity website.

The project is supported by £330K of funding from Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund as part of a broader objective to commercialise university research to create new products, services and business from university ideas.

VentureVersity Leicestershire will create accelerated pathways for university intellectual property (IP) and ideas. The University of Leicester, Loughborough University and De Montfort University will share IP and ideas with a community of businesses, graduates and students, adopting an open innovation approach to sharing, testing, and developing business concepts.

The target is to deliver novel products, services and businesses and energise the innovation culture of the city and county. The project will build connections with businesses and create opportunities for students to deploy and develop skills, build experience and catalyse enterprise.

William Wells, Deputy Director of the Research & Enterprise Division at the University of Leicester, said:

“The approach we will be adopting is genuinely novel and innovative in itself. It is possible because of the very close working relationships between the county’s university partners and effective co-design with the start-up community and local enterprise partnership. 

“Following the loss of European Regional Development funding, this investment is a real boost to the local economy and will stimulate exciting new ways of working that Leicestershire needs.”

Ben Ravilious of Leicester Startups CIC said: “It takes a community to start and nurture a business -VentureVersity Leicestershire aims to break down traditional barriers in commercialisation of University IP, providing a new pathway to foster collaboration and accelerates the impact of ideas on the local economy. We expect to see a number of new businesses emerge from this programme.”

Anjuu Trevedi, Head of Knowledge Exchange and Innovation at De Montfort University said:

“VentureVersity provides a unique opportunity for the Leicestershire business and innovation community to come together to commercialise research driven university IP and know-how from the local universities. To access funding and accelerator support to fast track the development of great ideas. We want to encourage a diverse range of stakeholders such as local businesses, academic partners, students, and university entrepreneurs to collaborate and benefit via the VentureVersity project.”

Nick Gostick of Loughborough University said:

“Organisations and researchers participating in VentureVersity Leicestershire have the opportunity to contribute to regional growth, cultivate entrepreneurial success, and reshape the landscape of university IP commercialisation. The project represents a unique opportunity to make a transformative impact on the local innovation ecosystem.”

The delivery and success of the model will be reviewed and documented in order to deliver a scalable model capable of deployment across the UK.

De Montfort University, Loughborough University and the University of Leicester are part of the Universities Partnership civic agreement. The agreement is a commitment between the three universities and the city and counties of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to work together for the benefit of local people and the prosperity of our places.