May 7, 2024, by aezdb

Empowering Enterprising Technicians – Your Entrepreneurs Scheme 

By Dr Hannah Noke, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Haydn Green Institute, Nottingham University Business School 

As a technician: 

  • Do you develop business cases? 
  • Do you transfer your skills and knowledge to others? 
  • Do you use any systems or kit that could be adapted to improve your work, a process or the way you assist others? 

If so, then Your Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES)  is something for you. YES is an opportunity that helps bring out your creative ideas while teaching you skills across the areas of business, finance and product development. In recent years, we have been delighted to welcome cohorts of technicians from across the country to participate. One of last year’s participants, Dr Dorota Studniarczyk (technician at University College London) details her experience of the scheme: 

“Participating in YES23 opened immense possibilities, allowing you to gain not only commercial awareness and new business skills but also connecting you to leading experts in the fields of intellectual property, business and finance. YES equips all participants with tools allowing them to turn their ideas into an actual real-life ‘thing’ that could benefit the world around us.”

Dorota, Ian, and the rest of the team. L-R: Dr Javier De Andrés Álvarez (UCL), Dr James Hooper (University of Leeds), Dr Dorota Studniarczyk (UCL), Dr Ian Coombs (UCL), Mrs Nnenna Ugwuocha (University of Dundee)

The work of UK ITSS and MI TALENT highlights the important role of technicians in knowledge exchange – from delivering open days, working with industry to solve their technical problems to contributing to the university’s commercialisation process. A recent paper in the Journal of Technology Transfer develops a future research agenda for the role of technicians in knowledge exchange across all the different activities. 

YES24 is once again supporting technicians to develop their skills and business cases for lab equipment or new positions. It also provides understanding of the commercialisation process and creates opportunities to broaden your networks. Dr Ian Coombs, also a technician from University College London, spoke about his experience: 

“TALENT’s funding for technical staff gave me the chance to participate in YES23 to explore and better understand the world of entrepreneurs. The scheme has helped to demystify some of the ways in which laboratory research can be commercialized and has given me motivation and belief to pursue ideas both within the university setting and outside. Working with a team and building a hypothetical business was enormous fun. The lectures, workshops and mentoring sessions also provided me with valuable knowledge and transferable skills. I even enjoyed the networking during our day at GSK (not something I imagined myself ever saying!)”  

We are inviting all enterprising technicians to come and join us to find out more about YES24 at this year’s MI TALENT’s SpringFest, Tracey Hassall-Jones (YES Manager) and I will be delivering a YES Awareness Session on Wednesday 15 May at 12pm. Join us to learn more about what YES24 is all about, what’s involved and find out if it is for you and even help you to find other interested technicians to form a group. You can register for the session here. 

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