A collaborative project between Leicester Startups and the three local universities has “surpassed expectations”, according to senior staff involved in the initiative.

VentureVersity is a Research England funded pilot aimed at turning academic ideas from Leicester, Loughborough and De Montfort Universities into commercial reality via spin-outs and business collaborations.

It began at the start of the year with three mixer sessions, where academics pitched their innovations. A pre-accelerator then followed, after which 11 were selected for a more comprehensive business accelerator programme.

Currently the 11 startups are being taken through this stage of the process by entrepreneur and coach Dennis Oakley to help them further develop their businesses.

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

“The VentureVersity programme has already surpassed our expectations, training 26 dynamic teams and selecting 11 promising projects to advance to the next stage. We are immensely grateful to all participants, whose innovative spirit and dedication have laid a strong foundation for future success.”

Professor Mike Kagioglou, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Business and Innovation at De Montfort University said:

“VentureVersity has provided an opportunity for all three of Leicestershire’s universities to work together to support the commercialisation of research that will benefit the economy and society. DMU’s projects range from an innovative real-time monitoring of water leaks that could save companies millions to improving lithium battery manufacturing and building resilience in young people.

Professor Dan Parsons, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Loughborough University, said:

“Our initiative, VentureVersity provides a unique opportunity to contribute to regional growth and cultivate entrepreneurial success.

“From developing advanced multi-sensing technologies to combat climate change and pollution to creating an innovative portable smartphone app for measuring concussions, these projects are driving innovation that will lead to meaningful advances, enrich people’s lives and create better futures.”

The implementation and achievements of the VentureVersity model will be evaluated and recorded to create a scalable framework that can be deployed nationwide.