Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The UK tech sector is a vibrant and critical area of the economy. The number of new tech companies launched in the UK last year rose by almost 60% on the previous year, and the sector now contributes around £200bn per annum to the country’s economy.

Entrepreneurs with a science or engineering background have been shown to be the most likely to build their companies on innovative foundations, yielding long-term economic dividends both for the individuals and the wider economy. And entrepreneurial skills can be learned in the same way as other skills or knowledge.

That’s why Computer Science at York has developed a ‘business innovation and entrepreneurship’ module and made it available to all undergraduates, at any stage of their journey. This module offers team working experience of designing and pitching a business in a Dragons’ Den environment. Past winners have included ‘ArtisTree’, a platform for empowering, growing and promoting up-and-coming artistic talent, ‘Nebula’, an online teaching & learning platform with expert connections, and ‘InterRoam’, a mobile portal for communication between travellers around the world.

A sample of recent student feedback from the programme:

  • ‘In a small start-up you are more involved with business decision not just coding, this module helps with that’
  • ‘Helps me to understand the inner workings of any business that I join and will allow me to have more career opportunities’
  • ‘Teaches the knowledge required to set up and manage a business in a way that has the optimum chance of succeeding’
  • ‘I now know in more detail the problems a start up faces and so can plan more to avoid them’
  • ‘In a few years I will probably attempt to start up a company, I may also develop my idea over summer before taking up employment’

‌‌‌‌The programme has been recognised and accredited by the ‘Engineers in Business Fellowship’ (EIBF), a registered charity that promotes the importance and value of business education for engineers in order to improve people’s lives and the performance of the UK and global economies.‌‌‌‌

  1. A prize fund – typically delivered as a £1,500 prize, a £1,000 prize and a £500 prize for the top three teams or individuals. This offers two valuable components:
  2. Mentoring – the top team/individual will be assigned a mentor from the national body of EIBF Fellows, who are experienced business professionals.

The winners of the award will also have the opportunity to compete at national level, against teams from other universities.

The module is promoted to every year-group in the Autumn term when students are invited to enrol for a place during the following Spring. It is taught by a professor with a track record of software entrepreneurship, who brings first-hand experience to expose students to this exciting sector and its opportunities.