A 5-day programme of events

Ignite starts with an orientation session on Sunday afternoon before the main week of activities.

This is your first opportunity to meet and get to know the Entrepreneurship Centre team, your Ignite colleagues, mentors and facilitators.

A networking drinks reception follows the welcome event and programme induction.

Read on to learn what topics are covered on days 1 to 5, your daily schedule and your learning outcomes…

Ignite programme timetable.

I met important contacts both within my own industry and also from other backgrounds. The mentoring sessions provided valuable experiences from people who were prepared to spend time polishing business plans.

Ian Bu, Research Associate, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Day 1: Strategic positioning

The theme of the day is “marketing” and covers marketing strategy, defining target markets, understanding customer needs, building the value proposition, market segmentation, channels to market and branding development. It will also cover how to deliver a winning pitch.

Daily schedule

  • Keynote session: “Making Innovation Happen”
  • Workshop: “Determining and validating the Customer & Markets”
  • Workshop: “Creating and Refining your Value Propositions”
  • Workshop: “Pitching to Investors”
  • Mentor session: “Defining Value Proposition and Markets” (mentor groups)

Learning outcomes

At the end of this day you will be able to:

  • formulate your draft business vision and prepare a vision statement as the first step towards a business plan 
  • fully understand the role of marketing and why customers might buy your product 
  • build an understanding of your customers and how your product or service might meet their needs
  • develop action plans for market research and data to underpin the business plan sales projections
  • start to pull together your own market research to support your business idea
  • gain inspiration and understanding about the joys and challenges of entrepreneurship from the story of a real entrepreneur
  • develop your skills in pitching to various stakeholders
  • start to build a new network to make your business project happen.

Day 2: Business model

The theme of the day is “Business model” and it covers various business models, evolution and innovative dimensions of the business model, strategy, route to market; how to identify where you fit in established industry value chains and where you create new value networks.

Daily schedule

  • Keynote session: “Disruptive Business Models”
  • Workshop: “Routes to Markets”
  • Panel Session: “Entrepreneurial experimentation”
  • Mentor session: “Refining Business Model & Marketing strategy” (in mentor groups)
  • Inspirational guest speaker talk and networking reception evening event

Learning outcomes

At the end of this day you will be able to:

  • gain an understanding of the concept of a business model which underlies the operation and structure of your business
  • gain some tools and techniques to analyse the business model options available
  • formulate your business model – a strategy for the exploitation of your intellectual property
  • find out how to define the future trajectory of your business
  • design a strategy for taking your products to the market
  • identify your customer segments and the most effective sales channels for your idea.

Day 3: Finance

The theme of the day is “Finance” and covers how to assess the viability of your business venture, develop realistic financial projections, clear revenue streams, prepare a financial strategy, and value your business opportunity, as well as how to be aware of legal implications, term sheets and shareholder agreements, how to protect your intellectual property.

Daily schedule

  • Keynote session: “Financing Strategy”
  • Workshop: “Funding milestones and business valuation”
  • Workshop: “How to protect your IP, value your business, and raise investment”
  • Mentor session: “Defining Financial Strategy and Preparing Finance” (mentor groups)
  • Group clinics

Learning outcomes

At the end of this day you will be able to:

  • understand when you need to look for funding and how to prepare for it
  • determine the potential sources of funding for the next stage of development of your business ideas, as well as understand what’s required to attract this kind of investment or funding
  • gain an understanding of methods for business valuation in real word entrepreneurial startups which will enable you to determine which method is right for your business need
  • learn how to assess the viability of your own business proposition and develop initial cash flow projections
  • reflect on the aspects raised during the last 3 days and to anticipate further issues and questions you need to raise in the coming sessions.

Day 4: Building teams, negotiation & pitch practice

The theme of the day is “Building Teams, Negotiation & Pitch Practice”, and covers the challenges involved in finding people with the right set of skills at the right level to help your business develop in the right way at different stages. 

Daily schedule

  • Keynote session: “Building Team Culture and Values”
  • Panel session: “Recruiting and Growing a Team and Building Partnerships”
  • Workshop: “Negotiation Skills”
  • Mentor session: “Prepare and Practice Presentation” (in mentor groups)

Learning outcomes

At the end of this day you will be able to:

  • develop a clear understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses so that you can set out to build a team of people with complementary skills
  • have an understanding of the additional people and skills required to make your idea happen
  • be able to pull ideas together into a business plan and presentation, and have a clearer idea of the next steps
  • be able to learn the do’s and don’ts of business plan pitching and presentation
  • develop and practice presentation skills with your mentor and facilitator in preparation for the visit to a venture capital firm and sales pitch.

Day 5: Clinics and business plan presentations

During the day, delegates gain one-to-one advice on specific issues with lawyers, accountants, marketing and financial experts and other professionals. Each delegate will be able to book 2 or 3 slots of 30 minutes with them.

This is followed by a final presentation of the business plan to a panel of 3 experts. We allocate 30 minutes for each venture (about 15 minutes for presentation and 10-15 minutes of Q&A and feedback).

Daily schedule

  • Morning
    • One-to-one clinics with over 30 industry experts
  • Afternoon
    • Panel presentations, with 8-10 panels running simultaneously, and a total of 24-30 experts involved
    • Ignite closure
    • Celebration dinner