The Entrepreneur's Handbook is a practical guide for entrepreneurial academics to spin out engineering and technology ideas into business.
The handbook was researched and written by the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub and condenses nine years of experience mentoring and training academics to found bold and disruptive spinouts.
A ‘spinout’ is like a startup, except that it is set up to exploit an idea developed in a university or research institute. When academics want to commercialise research ideas, their institute has rights to that intellectual property, which shapes each step of this entrepreneurship process.
Each year around 160 spinouts launch in the UK, and trends show annual increases in spinout equity investment, reaching £2.54 billion in 2021.
Since its inception in 2011 the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowships programme has supported academics to found over 100 spinouts from universities across the country.
While most UK universities publish their own spinout guides, this handbook offers independent, actionable advice drawn from the Hub’s position as a thought leader in the sector, and informed by the Hub’s unrivalled network of mentors, which include the UK’s leading engineering and technology entrepreneurs.
Investments in spinout companies are at record levels. Academic entrepreneurs add immense value to UK engineering, enterprise and local economies, and we need to invest in them as well. We are doing this by helping them to understand what is involved. We hope that this new resource demystifies the spinout process, helps founders to navigate the challenges of starting a new business, encourages the creation of more spinout companies, and will make them even more successful.
Dr David Cleevely, CBE FREng, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Committee
It’s great to see the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub expanding its resources and support for academic entrepreneurs wishing to commercialise their ideas. After receiving amazing support from the Enterprise Hub to develop my own business, which provided me with mentoring and other opportunities that I needed to start my venture, I know that the Entrepreneur’s Handbook will prove an invaluable reference for those looking to spinout.
Florence Gschwend, Enterprise Hub Member and co-founder and CEO of spinout company, Lixea
The Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the process of spinning out a company, cutting through the myths and jargon with facts and figures in plain English.
Spinning out is complex, time-consuming process, and this handbook prepares aspiring academic entrepreneurs for the journey by explaining the process, the main players, and the pain points, from forming a business idea to securing investment, including:
- Guidance on the length of the spinout process
- Approaching and negotiating with universities and investors
- Market research, business plans and financial assessments
- Growing the company
Beyond this, the handbook offers insight into the motives and behaviours of everyone involved, sharing opinions from Enterprise Hub Members, academic entrepreneurs, Technology Transfer Officers and investors. Understanding others’ interests is a complex aspect of spinouts, which is why this handbook encourages you to think about what is driving the other players in the game.
Spotlight on Spinouts
This report commissioned by the Enterprise Hub and Beauhurst in April 2022 analyses the spinout landscape in the UK to build on the Enterprise Hub's mission to support entrepreneurs and innovation.
The EDI Toolkit
The Academy is developing an ambitious EDI Toolkit to support startups and scaleups to embed more diverse and inclusive cultures, and leverage the many benefits of embedding EDI in everyday operations.