I-HUB backs entrepreneurs

The pioneering I-HUB facility in Wood Lane, Shepherds Bush, is offering help to west London entrepreneurs.

Fulham businesswoman Jenni Young aims to match start-ups and entrepreneurs with trusted experts to assist new businesses to get on their feet with her free service Kandu.

“I would advise other entrepreneurs to get involved with White City Incubator,” said Jenni. “The Incubator was a great experience. We made some great contacts and the programme really helped us to look at our product and ensure we were on track with a clear vision and roadmap. Go for it.”

The White City Incubator is part of Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s innovative partnership with Imperial College London aiming to make the borough a European beacon for innovation and growth.

The partnership forms part of H&F Council’s new Industrial Strategy.

“Our work with Imperial College London is providing an amazing opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to start their ventures,” said Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration. “We already have a thriving start-up and small business community but we want to make H&F the best place to live, work and socialise in Europe.”

Jenni was involved in the recent White City Innovators’ Programme which is part of the flagship Incubator scheme that supports the development of emerging technology businesses by providing office and laboratory space, incubation support with services managed by Imperial Innovations, access to a range of events, networking and education programmes to support business growth, and a preferred supplier network providing discounted services to Incubator companies.

At the end of the four-week Innovators’ programme, Jenni and fellow Kandu founder Nina Lovelace faced a Dragon’s Den-style final pitch to investors and directors from Imperial Innovations and NatWest Bank.

“Pitching was nerve-wracking. Nina and I are both used to public speaking. But having to pitch your idea clearly in five minutes was a very different discipline. It required lots of rehearsal,” added Jenni.

The eventual winners of the White City Innovators’ Programme were PhD students Will Pelton and Nicolas Kral of Phytoform Labs. They aim to work with horticultural breeders to cut down plant breeding times from decades to years using new gene editing technologies. They received £8,000 and a six-month virtual membership to the Incubator.

MBA students Byron McCaughey and Henry Oakes of Kahoots were runner-ups. Their invention is an artificial intelligence-driven tool that helps homebuyers make complicated financial decisions about whether or not to make the leap.

The next White City Innovators’ Programme will take place in April.

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