London, UK An initiative by the University of Edinburgh and Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian wants to break down barriers between academia and commerce in a bid to make more business start-ups prosper.
The Edinburgh Pre-Incubation Scheme (EPIS) based on a successful Dutch initiative is the first in Scotland to offer people with innovative business ideas access to the kind of facilities and expertise which a leading university can provide.
Although Scottish universities have built up an impressive track record of 'spinning out' companies over the past 30 years, EPIS is attempting to do something different by attracting individuals with the potential to start up their own companies.
It aims to do this by encouraging graduates, from both inside and outside the University of Edinburgh, to test and develop their technological business ideas on campus with the help of experts.
The initiative offers access to existing university facilities for an initial period of 12 months. EPIS will project manage their transition to trading by earmarking a suitable academic partner and business mentor.
The model, based on a start-up programme at the University of Twente in the Netherlands which has succeeded in growing 250 companies in the past 20 years. The objective of EPIS is initially to develop four (rising to eight) companies each year.