21st June 2019
The Trinity Bradfield Prize is a key program to support student entrepreneurship at Cambridge University. The winning teams received up to £10,000 in prize money each, and all benefit from three months of support and development in the Bradfield Centre. Primera Impact is an early-stage investment fund that invests in ambitious companies solving major global challenges. Founded by Mike Coto and Ravi Solanki they project managed the program and devised and led the grassroots marketing to entrepreneurs and academics within the university. Primera was also involved in the final judging round table and continued an intensive three-month support programme for the winners.
The follow on support for the winners has been tailored to them. Nothing was predefined, as it was important to learn about the individual aims of each team, and then create support to match those needs. “We didn't want any unnecessary excess baggage,” says Mike, which is why Primera sat down with the winners and discussed their current challenges and where they're headed. The issues that came up were a need for IP and business strategy, connections, and communication skills, especially when talking to a non-tech audience.
“Having a base at Central Working’s Bradfield Centre and providing the sessions here has hopefully supplemented the financial capital with social and intellectual capital as well. The winners are learning new skills and meeting new and relevant people. You need all three to be successful.”
Sessions were put in place around strategy and strategic thinking, “the overall approach is to impart real value in each session and provide frameworks the winners can take away and use as they grow,” said Mike. One of the ways he achieved this was by hosting a masterclass with Jamie Urquhart, a legendary entrepreneur and co-founder of ARM. During the session he builds on his experiences at ARM, digging into licensing and business models, and general strategic startup thinking.
One of these sessions was led by Adelina Chalmers, providing training and guidance when responding to the key question: ‘what do you do?’ Whether that's in a business meeting, networking event, or when trying to sell something. The session began with the winners trying to sell their businesses to each other and giving feedback, then Adelina commented on some of the common pitfalls young startups like them can fall into. She also taught the participants how to make tech startups more digestible, and how to skip over the complex terminology and get to the core value.
Mike’s advice for making a great application for 2019 is conveying excitement around the core of your idea. The judges will be impressed by reading a piece from someone that is clearly passionate, as it will inspire, and provide evidence that the entrepreneur has a clear vision as well as a strong motivation to succeed. Mike also cautions to be realistic and aware of your limitations. “Clearly define the problem, demonstrate market awareness and the size of the opportunity. For the more mature projects show examples of customer engagement, however, we expect most applicants to be early stage.”
Prize money is always valuable, but the idea behind The Trinity Bradfield Prize is to offer the winners something more meaningful than just hard cash, shake hands for a photo and move on. “Having a base at Central Working’s Bradfield Centre and providing the sessions here has hopefully supplemented the financial capital with social and intellectual capital as well. The winners are learning new skills and meeting new and relevant people. You need all three to be successful.”
If you are interested in taking part in this years prize, Mike and Ravi are available to discuss your ideas and answer any questions - get in touch!
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