Why did you sign up for FAB?
I signed up for the FAB Accelerator when I first started Spyre Labs because I had a very big idea for a business: I wanted to create new career paths for postgraduate students and academic researchers into the business world, but I was not sure how to get started. I am a sole founder and had never run a large-scale business before, so I was looking for a structured plan and guidance on how to turn my idea into a real business. I wanted to test the viability of my idea and learn how to talk about my business idea to others.
What were the main benefits?
FAB provided me with a logical, structured weekly plan that helped me develop a detailed business plan and establish my route to market. The weekly pitch practice and final pitch event transformed me into a public speaker, and I now feel confident pitching about my business in front of new audiences. Above all, I benefited greatly from the network that I was able to establish while on the FAB Programme. The entrepreneurs and mentors participating in the programme were very supportive and offered critical feedback. It was a positive and productive environment to work in, and I still keep in touch with many of the fellow founders and mentors from the programme.
How did your business/ideas develop while you were on the programme?
While participating in the FAB programme, I was encouraged to ‘get out there and talk to people’ and this is what I did! I established a network of 300 academics and business leaders who were interested in supporting Spyre. Talking to them helped me narrow down my original idea and identify a product-market fit for the company within both the academic and business world. And, even more importantly, I signed up my first business clients and had over 60 customers sign up on Spyre’s website.
Where is your business now?
After completing the FAB Accelerator programme, I launched my first Spyre workshop: L.E.E.P. into Business! A workshop on Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Enterprise and Project management for STEM, Social Science and Humanities postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and academics who want to work with businesses in Science, Tech and Sustainable development. The workshop included business skills development and business career training. It also included a 4-week team consulting project and mentorship with an Oxford or Harwell business that culminated in a final project presentation and networking event. The first workshop was a great success with positive feedback from both the academics and businesses who participated. We are now launching a series of workshops to help post docs, postgrads and academics kick start their career in the business world. We also offer workshops and recruitment channels for businesses in Science, Tech and Sustainable Development who want to work with postgraduate-level researchers.