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Become a supervisor for EnterpriseTECH

Supervising a team of budding entrepreneurs is a tremendous opportunity to enthuse a new group of Cambridge students. The aim is for teams to carry out a commercial feasibility study on a piece of new science or technology and the role of the supervisor is to guide them through that process.

The contribution our supervisors make in progressing their team through the project milestones is valuable on many levels – not least the impression the cohort receives of the possibilities and opportunities that lie at this fertile interface of scientific technology and entrepreneurship. As a result, our supervisors (or business mentors) get to expand their teaching repertoire particularly around early-phase innovation development for commercialisation purposes.

While not required to contribute to the assessment process, each supervisor provides three supervisions to their team of four to six students (out-of-hours), each one lasting around 75-90 minutes. They also keep an attendance register and write a short report on the contribution each student has made to the supervisions. For these valuable supervision services, a flat rate fee is paid of £500 which is based on the normal teaching rates for supervisions across the University and representing around 10 hours' work.

It is normally expected that our supervisors are educated to masters or PhD level and have either extensive business experience in a wide range of areas (biotech, startups, healthcare, pharma and more) or have a business degree such as an MBA.

The teams are not preparing a business plan but they do write a 3,000-word report on their findings as well give a presentation.


We have key themes underlie that underlie the supervisions to ensure timely progression of the project:

Supervision 1: Opportunity Evaluation

What is the business opportunity? What is the problem that the business idea is going to address and for whom? Who are the customers? What do they really need? Do we know this or we are making assumptions? What other problems does this customer base face that could be addressed? What needs to happen for this customer group to have their need met? What is the market need that this product meets? What industries that are facing the issues that this product may address? Are there potential customers in other industries that may have the same problem? What solutions are currently available to industry for this problem? Do these solutions address the problem fully or are they partial solutions? Can your product provide a full solution? If not what does it take to make it a full solution? What is the size of this market? Who are your competitors?

Supervision 2: Developing the Business Proposition

What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the application? Carry out SWOT analysis for the following elements of a business:


  • Competition
    What are competitor technologies that do the same thing or substitute technologies or solution.
  • Customers
    What are the customers doing now to address this problem? How likely are they to change to another solution? What other factors will impact on their decision to adopt your product?
  • Suppliers
    How does the supply chain look? What elements in the supply chain may create a bottleneck for ability to deliver the product on time and scale?
  • Replication
    How easy it is for someone else to copy you? IP protection, know how, complexity of integration, cost of setting up, etc.

What else is in your favour or is a threat? What is the optimal business model? Go through elements of business model design. Can you disrupt anything on those models? Who are the potential partners that can help take the application to market?

Supervision 3: Refining Research & Analysis, Preparing to Present/Pitch

What is the missing information? Can it be identified? If not, what would be the impact on the report and analysis? What is the picture for commercialising this technology in short, mid and long term? Is the customer value proposition clear and does it fit the business model? If not what is missing? What are the most important issues the inventor should be aware of? What best practices are there for making effective presentations? What kind of questions should the team be prepared for?


Please fill out our online form if you'd like to get involved in supervising our EnterpriseTECH students.

Apply to become a supervisor