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General News
  • Lord Sainsbury Endorses Connect - Lord Sainsbury of Turville’s Report “The Race to the Top” has been approved by Gordon Brown on behalf of the Government.  The UK Government’s response fully accepted the report and agreed to fund the recommendations.  The report reviewed of the UK science and innovation system.  It examines the role of science and innovation in ensuring that the UK remains competitive in our increasingly globalized economy.  Lord Sainsbury has followed the Connect model for some time and delivered the keynote speech in the 2004 Global Connect Conference.  Recommendation 9.5 – Drawing on the success of the Connect scheme in San Diego, RDA’s should support high growth potential entrepreneurs similar to the Connect Service.

  • Connect Yorkshire recently published its 2007 Annual Report.  It has assisted local companies raise over £8 Million in investments in the last 12 months.

  • BT Business became a Prime Partner of Connect Midlands – BT recently signed a Prime Partnership Sponsorship deal with Connect Midlands through to 2009.

See below a just released feature in TIME Magazine by

Bruce Katz called Intelligent Cities

To double exports and create jobs, the U.S. has to invest more in its metro areas. The article features CONNECT as a model and highlights our success in helping our region transform into an innovation economy. Drawing on our region's formula for cluster development, the author makes specific recommendations for the revitalization of the American economy and makes the case that American cities, "are our hubs for trade, commerce and migration. With market-based incentives and the proper business climate, they can be unparalleled engines for the next spurt of American growth and prosperity." "By making smart investments and managing for growth as opposed to maintenance, our major cities and metro areas can lead this transformation. The San Diego region shows how. In 1985 an energetic nonprofit called Connect sprang up to link the scientists and inventors at top research institutions - including the University of California at San Diego, the Salk Institute and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute - with investors, advisers and support services so their new ideas could become new products and companies. The inventive brew that Connect fermented has made San Diego home to a cluster of life-sciences and technology companies such as Qualcomm, Biogen Idec, Life Technologies and Gen-Probe. New York City has had its eye on San Diego's success and announced its own undertaking in February. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders says, 'When we emerged out of the period when the defense industry left San Diego, Connect was there. They helped to create eight clusters of technology that have been employment drivers in San Diego, and we've been able to build on that ever since.' In terms of jobs, the region's technology sector has fared better in this recession than its broader economy."

For the full story please click on the link below: TIME Magazine Intelligent Cities; To double exports and create jobs, the U.S. has to invest more in its metro areas

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2026474_2026675_2026667,00.html

 


Connect London/Aspire Fund Event 9th March 2010

HSBC HOSTS CONNECT EVENT FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS

HSBC hosted an event at their Prestigious Private Banking Centre in St. James Street London. 

The event was held specifically to promote “The Aspire Fund” of capital for entrepreneurs to support Women-led businesses with match funded equity investment.

The event focused on the “Secrets” that help Women-led businesses obtain funding.  These included Bootstrapping, Mentoring, Learning from Failures, Networking and development a business plan suitable for the recipient.

Contributors included HSBC outlining the range of support to Women entrepreneurs:  The Next Woman and their services for fund raising, business support and promotions:  Cary Marsh of Mydeo telling her story of developing “Mydeo” from an outline idea to a business with clients throughout the World, strategic alliance with Microsoft and Best Buy, while conceiving and bringing up 3 children. 

The main presentation was by Melanie Perkins of The Aspire Fund.  There are still funds available, but applications should be made through the selected co-investor.

Connect London are very keen to help Women entrepreneurs to help correct the imbalance of Women-run businesses, compared with the USA.  Christopher Fogg, the Chairman of Connect London advised “If the UK could increase the number of Women-led businesses to the USA level the UK could develop a policy of expansion instead of the current “Let’s shrink our way to greatness”.

Further information:

Connect London Business Club (CLBC) http://www.connectlondon.org/index.html

Bootstrapping Information and Self Assessment http://www.connectlondon.org/resources.html

Aspire Fund http://www.capitalforenterprise.gov.uk

Mydeo – Carry Marsh http://www.mydeo.com - Video Streaming for small businesses and individuals.

The Next Woman http://thenextwomen.com

HSBC http://www.hsbc.co.uk/business


CONNECT GOA STARTS IN INDIA

Connect London has established a sister organization in India - Connect Goa.  There are now 36 Connect initiatives around the World, but the first in India is Connect Goa.

Connect Goa is working closely with the top Universities in Goa including the World famous Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) and Goa Institute of Management, one of the top Business Schools in India.

Connect Goa is delivering Entrepreneur Electives to MBA students and is being supported by local entrepreneurs to pass their experience and advice to new MBA entrepreneurs.

www.connectgoa.com

Contact Beryl Nasse:  berylnasse@yahoo.com


CONNECT LONDON OPENS INNOVATION CENTRE

The business model of Connect London is based on an Incubator Without Walls (IWW), but some clients find use of a physical centre helpful, particularly in the early years.  To meet this need Connect London has opened a physical unit in Kingston where it has particularly close links with Kingston University, Chamber, Council and College.

Accommodation packages can be either on a full time or occasional (virtual) use.  Tenants will be able to join the Connect London Business Club (CLBC) for full support for Mentoring, Funding, Strategy etc. as well as accommodation.

Contact Peter Fogg:  peter.fogg@connectlondon.org


Connect has taken over running the Secretariat of South London Innovation Partnership (SLIP)

SLIP brings together all organizations that are involved with Innovation.  It acts as a conduit to allow information on innovation initiatives to be communicated to other partners and their clients/contacts.  Connect believes that SLIP will become an important component of an Innovation Cluster that will be able to assist existing businesses deal with the problems of the economy and come out stronger and fitter for the upswing.  In addition SLIP members will be able to help new entrepreneurs develop ideas.  SLIP has always acted as an efficient vehicle to be able to collect feedback from the LDA and other public and private sector organizations.


GLOBAL CONNECT 2009 ANNUAL REPORT

CEO’s Opening Report - 5 Innovation Initiatives - A look back over 2009 - Operations Report  Follow the link below.

http://www.connect.org/resources/docs/CONNECT-Annual-Report.pdf


Start-Up Visa Act 2010 introduced; CONNECT leads San Diego initiative to attract immigrant start-ups to locate in San Diego with Global CONNECT and the Global Bridge Program

A new bill called The Start-up Visa Act of 2010 has been introduced by Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and John Kerry (D-MA) that would create a two-year visa for immigrant entrepreneurs who are able to raise a minimum of $250,000, with $100,000 coming from a qualified U.S. angel or venture investor. After two years, if the immigrant entrepreneur is able to create five or more jobs (not including their children or spouse), attract an additional $1M in U.S. investment or produce $1M in revenues, he/she will become a legal resident. In preparation should the bill pass, CONNECT is working with Global CONNECT at UC San Diego to expand our well established Global Bridge Program. Since the program was founded more than five years ago CONNECT and Global CONNECT have worked with multiple entrepreneurs and companies from the U.K., South Korea, Australia, Sweden and Taiwan. The Program makes San Diego the destination for immigrant entrepreneurs outside the United States wishing to access the U.S. market and to set up operations in San Diego by providing direct market and business strategy assessment and assistance. By leveraging the CONNECT Springboard Program to provide focused, one-on-one coaching/mentorship, the program streamlines market entry by facilitating access to R&D collaborators, key supply chain partners, potential customers, talent, direct investment and market liquidity channels. The proposed new legislation is supported by signatures from over 100 U.S. venture capital and angel investors (see details here). Reform of the visa process was called for in a December op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by former CONNECT board member, Paul Kedrosky, now a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation and Brad Feld, managing director at the venture capital firm Foundry Group. The new bill would create a new visa category called EB-6. There currently exists an EB-5 visa category which requires a minimum of $1M in investment and the employment of 10 people (as opposed to the new EB-6 standard which would require $250K in investment and employ five people). Proponents of the bill argue this will drive job creation and increase Americas global competiveness. According to Kedrosky and Feld, While fast-growing companies have long been the main source of new jobs and innovation, this country makes it outrageously difficult for immigrants to launch new companies here. This doesn't make any sense. After all, Google, Pfizer, Intel, Yahoo, DuPont, eBay and Procter & Gamble are all former start-ups founded by immigrantsForeign-born residents made up just 12.5% of the U.S. population in 2008. But nearly 40% of technology company founders and 52% of founders of companies in Silicon Valley Says Senator Kerry, Global competition for talent and investment grows more intense daily and the United States must step up or be left behind. Everywhere Dick Lugar and I travel for the Foreign Relations Committee, we see firsthand the entrepreneurial spirit driving the economies of our competitors. Creating a new magnet for innovations and innovators to come to the United States and create jobs here will offer our economy a double shot in the arm  robust job creation at home and reaffirmation that were the worlds best place to do business. The latest congressional action stands with the Senate judiciary who received the bill on February 24 for review. The full-text of the proposed bill can be found here. CONNECT will track this bill as it makes its way through committee review and keep eNews readership informed of relevant developments.

GLOBAL CONNECT 2008 ANNUAL REPORT

"Today...we have a chance to become the premier region in the country for innovation..." - Duane Roth, CEO, CONNECT

The New York Times: September 2008

This Year:

  • 1,200 volunteers helped more than 1,000 companies
  • 300 events attracted 10,000 registrations
  • Springboard graduates raised nearly $100M
  • 26 programs delivered coaching, financing, education, recognition, networking, cluster acceleration and advocacy
  • Launched CleanTECH San Diego trade organization

Message from the CEO - By Duane Roth, Chief Executive Officer

By any measure, the San Diego innovation economy is today one of the best anywhere.  We are home to the densest clusters, in the world, or wireless and boimedical companies and have significant clusters in software, cleantech, unmanned systems, cyber technologies and action and sports companies.

Twenty years ago, San Diego was in serious trouble due to simultaneous challenges in several key sectors of the local economy.  Major cuts were underway in defense spending as a result of the thawing of the Gold War.  Savings and loans banks, many of which were based in San Diego, were overextended in their loan portfolios and were downsizing.  Light manufacturing companies were consolidating in the face of stiff global competition.

In 1985 University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Chancellor Richard Atkinson and Daniel Pegg, Chairman of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC), invited a few community leaders to discuss how San Diego could prepare to participate in the "knowledge economy."  Included in the meeting were the founder of QUALCOMM, Inc, Irwin Jacobs, David Hale, at that time CEO of Hybritech, Buzz Woolley of Girard Capital, and Bob Weaver of Deloitte.

With the support of these business leaders, Atkinson asked Dr. Mary Walshok, Dean of UCSD Extension, to organize a program to educate the San Diego community on entrepreneurship and starting new technology-based companies.  This initiative led to the establishment of CONNECT as a regional non-profit organization with member support from the research community, the private sector and government.  CONNECT's purpose was to educate the San Diego region on how to commercialize local research-based discoveries.

To lead the implementation of this initiative, the advisory board and founders hired Bill Otterson as the Executive Director.  Through their support and his exceptional leadership, CONNECT grew into one of the most successful organizations of its kind in the world.  Today, the Otterson legacy is the well known San Diego "culture of collaboration" that he initiated as a way to quickly spread expertise in the region.

WHY DID OUR REGION MOVE SO FAR, SO FAST?

It begins with excellent research capacity in the region  Approximately 50 institutions attract in excess of a billion dollars in funding each year.  Due to San Diego's desirable quality of life, the region attracts some of the best and brightest researchers and they in turn attract funding, which leads to more discoveries with commercial potential.  The quality of life also attracts entrepreneurs to the region.  Thanks to our great teaching institutes like UCSD, San Diego State University (SDSU), California State San Marcos, University of San Diego (USD) and our community colleges, we have a talented and well-trained work force.  Finally, these assets attract capital investment.  While many locations throughout the world have similar assets, San Diego's culture of collaboration (sharing, partnering, supporting) has set us apart.

As clusters of innovative companies have emerged in San Diego, industry-specific trade organizations have been launched to offer assistance to the start-up companies as they mature.  Today these include BIOCOM, CommNexus, AeA San Diego Council, the San Diego Software Industry Council and CleanTECH San Diego.  Another future trade association is now incubating at CONNECT called Action and Sports Innovators (ASI).

Our future success in the innovation economy will be derived from the significant asset base that we have leveraged and grown over the past 25 years,including the research institutions, a talented workforce and investment capital, all wrapped inside our collaborative culture.  We will need all of these and more as we prepare for the next 25 years in an increasingly competitive global innovation economy.

I would offer a few key objectives for our regional innovation economy as fundamental to future competitiveness.

  • research institutions are the engines of discovery and we should unite to recruit and retain the most talented researchers anywhere and offer support for increased federal funding of basic research;
  • intellectual property is our primary asset and we should be diligent about protecting our discoveries around the world;
  • the global economy requires ever increasing partnerships to remain competitive and as a region we should reach out nationally and internationally and share our contacts;
  • communication between academic leaders and the private sector will be even more essential to the innovation economy and we should develop ways to continue to improve;
  • risk capital is the fuel of innovation and we must develop new and sustainable models to fund innovation; and
  • recruitment of talented entrepreneurial leaders and creative scientists and engineers is essential and we need to develop tools to ensure we remain competitive.

If one evaluates these goals, it becomes apparent that public policy in Washington and Sacramento holds many of the keys to bur future success.  Federal support of research is the lifeblood of the new idea generation.  Intellectual property laws, trade policy and regulation are set largely by Washington policy makers and these policies will determine much of our global competitiveness.  Workforce and education are both federal and state governed.  As a region, we must become more engaged with our legislators and CONNECT is committed to improving communications with our Washington and Sacramento legislators.

CONNECT operates at the nexus of the regional innovation economy.

We connect research institutions, angel, venture and institutional capital providers, R&D and business development arms of corporations, leading professional services providers and trade organizations together to accelerate the commercialization of innovation.  As the economy experiences a very difficult time, we should remember that there remain many unmet needs and opportunities such as healthcare, communications, environment and security.  Our region is well-positioned to deliver solutions and we should do all we can to make them a reality.

CONNECT's board of directors - leaders in the technology sector - have initiated major strategic initiatives to support:

  • research excellence and commercialization of innovation;
  • the research and technology communities in the recruiting and retention of talent; and
  • more effective matchmaking of early-and growth-stage innovation with grants, seed, angel and early-stage capital sources.

In addition, we have rolled out new cluster initiatives to facilitate the further growth and success of additional areas of strength in San Diego, including clean technology, action and sports innovation, unmanned systems and cyber technology.  Our clean technology initiative led to the formation of the trade organization CleanTECH San Diego this past year.

To track our progress, we have launched the CONNECT Innovation Quarterly Report.  The Report includes CONNECT-track - the first comprehensive look at new business creation in the technology-based innovation sector across California, along with these four additional indicators of economic innovation in San Diego;

  • new patent applications,
  • research grant awards,
  • institutional research employment, and
  • angel and venture capital investment

CONNECT is partnering with the San Diego Institute for Policy Research, UCSD Extension, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savith LLP to gather and present the data and trend analyses.  The results will provide a valuable indicator of the economic strength and impact of the knowledge economy in San Diego for business leaders, policy makers and researchers.

At CONNECT we are grateful for the support of our thousands of volunteers and more than 200 members who give generously of their time and resources to invest in the innovative economy in San Diego.

Sincerely

Duane Roth

Chief Executive Officer

OPERATIONS REPORT by Camille Sobrian, Chief Operating Officer

This year, CONNECT mobilized 1.200 volunteers to collaborate in mentoring, coaching, advising, and evaluating more than 1,000 companies.  We're delighted to report that the combined collaboration of talent, time and resources is producing a wide range of measurable results.

In the past three and a half years, 105 companies have completed our Springboard Program.  Sixty-two percent are still in business and have raised nearly $100 million in capital.

In the last three years, CONNECT has doubled the number of programs we offer to 26.  This past year, more than 10,000 signed up to attend our 300 events.  Attendees consistently rank all our programs at four out of five or higher in quality and satisfaction.

In September 2008, CONNECT received national recognition in The New York Times, "CONNECT was a huge help because scientists need help from people who know something about business....  CONNECT HELPED Biomatrica GET A $1 million investment from an angel investor and then advised the company on securing technical partners in molecular diagnostics."

In late 2007, after UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown commissioned an in-depth review of his country's science and innovation and CONNECT's operations, the UK government dedicated £1 billion over three years to boost business innovation and technology development and plans to model the new system on CONNECT:

US CONNECT is a scheme set up in 1985 by the University of California, San Diego in close collaboration with local business to meet the varying needs of entrepreneurs.  The scheme links high technology entrepreneurs with the resources they need for success.  Within the context of the Business Support Simplification Program, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has asked REgional Development Agencies (RDAs) to examine the US CONNECT scheme in detail.  RDAs are to identify lessons learnt from the scheme and how this learning can be applied effectively in the UK.

- Implementing "The Race to the Top" : Lord Sainsbury's Review of Government's Science and Innovation Policies, 2008

Demand continues around the world for our Springboard "Bridge Program" operated in partnership with UCSD Global CONNECT.  This year, we conducted Springboard panels for six early-stage companies from the UK and Taiwan that had potential and motivation to enter the U.S. market.  Through Springboard, we introduced potential customers, strategic partners, investors and entrepreneurs.  We are scheduled to conduct further programs this year for these two countries along with Norway.

We also continue to receive requests for assistance from other jurisdictions and countries interested in accelerating innovation and commercialization of technology.  There are now 50 CONNECT-style programs around the world and more regions contact us everyday. To meet the need, the Springboard team has documented the entire program in a handbook format and developed an accompanying training program.  Called "Springboard-in-a-box," the program is being marketed worldwide in partnership with Global CONNECT.

This past year, the Springboard team launched a program called "Early Business Assessment" and built university collaborations with UCSD, SDSU, and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology Technology Transfer offices.  Our entrepreneurs-in residence (EIRs) assisted individual researchers in identifying the commercialization potential of their discoveries and, as a result, eight discoveries moved into the Springboard Program.  Professor Roberta Gottlieb and Dr. Mark Sussman of SDSU have completed the Springboard Program and received multi year grants to complete their research.

The 60 experienced business leaders in our EIR program provided hands-on mentoring to the 52 companies that graduated from Springboard this past year.  EIRs David Kramer, Brant Cooper, David Kaplan, Elyse Dasko and Diane Law launched valuable new business development tools to assist innovators who are participating in the program, including valuation of training modules, a marketing template and financial modeling tools.

Operations funding is raised from table and ticket sales at events along with membership dues and sponsorship from more than 200 members, including leading technology corporations, professional services providers, venture capital, research institutions and vendors to the technology industry.

The collaboration of CONNECT members and volunteers is critical to helping strengthen and diversify our local economy to be able to weather these challenging economic times and also build a foundation for future economic prosperity in the region.

Sincerely,

Camille Sobrian

Chief Operating Officer

"CONNECT has set a nationwide standard for programs and resources necessary for entrepreneurs and innovators to take ides from concepts to markets."

Bryan Bjordal, President &CEO,

Assure Controls. Inc.

"The Wireless-Life Sciences Summit was an ideal forum to talk with CEOs of innovative life sciences and wireless companies who have launched, or who are working on, convergence solutions.  It provided us with an opportunity to explore strategic partnerships and it was a very valuable use of my time."

Paul Jacobs, CEO

QUALCOMM, Inc

CONNECT now offers 26 programs totaling more than 300 events per year to support the region's innovation economy:

TECHNOLOGY DISCOVERY - Tech Transfer Roundtable : Frontiers in Science & Technology : The San Diego Research & Innovation Summit

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER - Early Business Assessment

PERSONALIZED ASSISTANCE - Springboard

FINANCING - Springboard Spotlight : Tech Coast Angel*  : Venture Roundtable : Deal Network : CONNECT Roadshow

BUSINESS EDUCATION - Frame Works Workshops : CEO Strategy Forum : MIT Enterprise Forum of San Diego*

POLICY AND ADVOCACY - CONNECT Innovation Quarterly : Intellectual Property : State and Federal R&D Funding : University Funding - Capital Formation : Workforce Development: Regulation & Trade : CONNECT-Assist; Recruiting and Retaining : Research & Management Talent

CLUSTER ACCELERATION - Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance* : Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa* : CleanTECH San Diego* : Action & Sport Innovators : Cyber Technology : Unmanned Systems (UxS)

RECOGNITION AND NETWORKING - Connect with CONNECT : Leadership Dinners : Entrepreneur Hall of Fame : Most Innovative New Product Awards : CONNECT Resource Guide

*affiliated/CONNECT-managed program

 

COMMENTS on the above report from John Griffiths - Director Connect Midlands - January 2009

Abbreviated notes on CONNECT San Diego, its history and its current operating business mode


History


1. San Diego is 342 sq miles,1.3m population with good quality of life. Now have large concentration of
Universities, well-trained workforce and 50 globally competitive research institutes attract $1billion of
research funds pa which attracts best researchers and their funds. Has led to company formation and
spin-out attracting capital providers and entrepreneurs, producing high density of clusters of tech
companies particularly biotech / pharma, wireless and mobile producing exits, wealth and angels.
Research institutes and companies cluster near UCSD.


2. CONNECT UCSD was established in 1985 to educate San Diego on how to commercialise researchbased
discoveries. Although a University initiative, it was lead by Bill Otterson, a powerful networker, who
understood the importance of building relationships and building a culture of collaboration involving
shared agendas, shared investment, shared risk, shared rewards.


3. Key factors for San Diego (and CONNECT) have been good land use, development of global R&D
institutions, concentration by UCSD on PhDs, pro-bono time and commitment by private sector, culture of
collaboration and a sense of place-people wanting to stay, become successful, invest own time and
money, creating a pool and timeline of wealthy entrepreneurs from new to serial. The concentration of
innovation and intellectual property coupled with expertise in exploitation plus money is quite special.


4. Current figures for San Diego: 500 life science companies (98 new in 2007), 50 research institutes, 1,100
communications technology companies (61 new in 2007) including Nokia, 340 computer services
companies (184 new in 2007), 200 clean tech companies (14 new in 2007), 650 action sports companies
(6 new in 2007). In 2007, 367 new companies were launched. Between 2004 and 2007, $3.2bn was
invested in San Diego’s life science industry.


5. CONNECT UCSD span out from UCSD in 2004 is now independent and re-branded CONNECT. Prior to
spin-out, programmes fell to 5, membership to 20 and income to $280K with focus on large corporates
that disengaged the rest of the community. CONNECT UCSD almost folded. A new and well connected
CEO joined, span it out and turned it around. CEO view is that the community must own CONNECT, not
a University, not one large sponsor.


6. CONNECT has helped create 1,500 companies and helped raise $10billion investment.


The CONNECT Model


1. CONNECT has sales of $2.7m pa (~£1.8m), 16 staff, runs 26 programmes, 300 events pa with 10,500
attendees, 1200 volunteers,100 entrepreneurs in residence, 85 domain experts, 200+ members. Growth:


CONNECT San Diego approx figures 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Total income $490K $900K $1.6m $2.3m $2.7m
Cash Position $0 $140K $250K $310K $350K
Programme income $270K $434K $470K $1.03m $1.2m
Membership income $220K $566K $1.13m $1.33m $1.5m
Number of members 20 55 151 191 222
Ave income per member $11K $10.3K $7.5K $7K $6.8K


NB. All figures above are approximate and taken from CONNECT 2008 Annual Report


2. Income: All income is now private sector, made up of approximately half from member’s annual fees and
half from ticket and table sales at events and managing programmes for others. However, CONNECT
acknowledge that income is now under pressure and are predicting a decrease in 2009.


3. Membership: grades are supporting, silver (£5K), gold (£10K), platinum £20K), benefactor (typical £35K
but varies). For companies paying $35K+, a bespoke package is put together eg member could be
offered an Entrepreneur in Residence to help with investigating and evaluating R&D opportunities.
In terms of member split: ~42% are professional service providers, 40% industrial, 12% capital providers,
6% research affiliates. There are no consultants as members, don’t like paying. Chief Operating Officer
(COO) believes membership driven by fear of missing an opportunity i.e. cannot afford not to be involved.
John Griffiths, Connect Midlands


4. Entrepreneurs and SMEs helped by programmes do not pay membership fees but may return as
members later when all grown up. However, they do pay attendance fees at workshops and events.


5. Programmes: CONNECT run 26 programmes offering 300 events per year, some are free, some charged
at typically $50 per head. Programmes fall within three main categories, (a) affiliate programmes where
CONNECT are paid to manage programmes and conferences on behalf of others, (b) commercialisation
programmes including access to finance and production of statistics on start-ups and deals, and (c)
community programmes involving educational workshops, seminars, forums, and awards. The Most
Innovative Product Awards is a very interesting concept with 800 attendees.


6. Springboard: the flagship, a free-of-charge developmental programme for entrepreneurs, positioned as
offering a pipeline of innovation opportunities to corporates and VCs. Companies from concept to start-up
to trading can apply. Company is matched with one or more pro-bono mentors (Entrepreneurs in
Residence or EIRs) to help develop a compelling proposition over 3 to 5 months to present to investors.
If appropriate, CONNECT convene expert panel of 12-14 people from VCs, Angels, service providers,
R&D and industry sector. Company makes 15 minute presentation followed by 40 minutes Q&A by panel
followed by 30 minutes feedback, and recommendations from each member followed by a summary.
Presenter is not given chance to respond. EIR and company then develop revised forward plan.


7. CONNECT appears to be run for its members as a “club,” more so than the SMEs it helps ? The
CEO and COO are well connected both in private and public sectors and well known at political level.The
structure of Boards and Committees for each product or event type involves all members in some way,
engaging them, locking them in and the community in various activities that allow them to network.


8. Structure of CONNECT and programme governance:


a. Executive Committee of 19 influential people from all member classes meet every 2 months;


b. Board of Directors of 60 from all member classes meet every 2 months and typically 40 turn up.


c. Steering Committees for all individual events and activities, typically 20 to 40 members. Overall
include all the members and some entrepreneurs in residence and most include a CONNECT
member of staff except for the Most Innovative Product Awards judging panel.


d. Entrepreneurs in residence (EIR):highly-experienced mentors, expertise in raising finance and/or
in growing businesses, give their time free of charge to help primarily with Springboard.
At any one time, 50-100 EIRs are on CONNECT books. Most are referred from VCs or from staff
and contacts, they are interviewed,then paired with an experienced EIR for “training on the job”.
EIRs must be up to date and good networkers. An EIR typically stays for one project or 6 months
During Springboard process, one or more EIRs will spend time over 3 to 5 months with the
company being mentored before making a presentation to an expert panel. After their stint
mentoring a company EIRs are free to join them or invest in them but not before.


John Griffiths, Director, Connect Midlands, January 2009


Connect London were the Gold Sponsors for the recent Imperial Entrepreneurs Ideas Empowered Competition. The finals were held at Imperial on Friday 1st May, 2009.

I am delighted to accounce the winners:

1st Prize - Microantennae Ltd : Lead entrant: Stuart Milne: sbm24@cam.ac.uk

2nd Prize - X-stream Trucking : Lead entrant: Daniel Burrows: danielburrows05@imperial.ac.uk

3rd Prize - Ex-aequo - Restox.TV : Lead entrant: Koen Stevens: info@restox.tv


Springboard to Recovery (S2R)

Connect London has designed a Seminar to help existing companies survive the recession and come out Fitter.  The course is modeled on the design of the Springboard Programme but focused towards making existing companies more effective by introducing Innovation at each part of the business model.  Connect is seeking organizations that are able to fund the delivery of this programme in their own area.  Contact James Gardner - james.gardner@connectlondon.org


DIUS and Gordon Brown Support Connect London

See following letter of support received from DIUS:


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