Mentoring opportunity for ICT entrepreneurs

April 25, 2009

Worshipful Company of Information Technologists

ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) entrepreneurs from start-ups or early stage ventures now have the opportunity to be mentored by experienced senior IT professionals who are members of the Information Technologists’ Company (ITC). The ITC (also known as the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists) is the 100th Livery Company of the City of London, which provides significant charitable and educational programmes useing the expertise, resources and networks of its 650 members.

The mentoring services are FREE and can happen face-to-face, over the telephone or by email. Sessions may be as frequent or as occasional as both parties feel is appropriate, and may last as long as both parties agree.

To find out more or request a mentor go to


The UK’s Hidden Innovators

May 25, 2008

New research conducted by Cass Business School’s Centre for New Technologies, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CENTIVE) sponsored by Microsoft, has revealed that a latent pool of hidden innovators could potentially add a staggering £15 Billion to the UK economy by 2012 if the right conditions were created according to the latest government figures.

The report, Unlocking the potential of UK’s Hidden Innovators, which combined in depth statistical research with qualitative case study analysis, was conducted over a six month period. It examined how we might unlock the barriers and pathways to entrepreneurial innovation in three important groups, recognised for their entrepreneurial potential:

  • “Olderpreneurs” (those aged over 50)
  • Black Minority and Ethnic (BME)
  • People with a disability (including dyslexia)

Older entrepreneurs, ‘olderpreneurs’ could contribute an increased 17% of the potential uplift to the UK economy by 2012 and will be key to capitalising on this innovation opportunity as the size of this group expands over the next four years. With a wealth of experience and insight built up over their careers, this group has the highest rate of business success and longevity, with over 70% of start-ups lasting more than three years, compared with 28% for younger entrepreneurs. Moreover, with those over 55 set to account for a third of the UK population by 2025, older entrepreneurs are well placed to tap into the fast-growing potential marketplace through their shared experiences and understanding, the report reveals.

One of the report’s key findings is that entrepreneurial self-confidence is a critical issue for all the hidden innovator groups and a major barrier in pursuing an entrepreneurial path. However, it also reveals that this self-confidence can be nurtured if there is a culture of entrepreneurship to support it.

Living with the “Living Dead”

January 21, 2008

You could be forgiven for thinking that the title of this article referred to a horror movie, a 70’s rock band or an adolescent teenager recovering from a night on the town. However, in this context the phenomenon of “living dead” investments [1] represents the middle ground of venture capital investing outcomes, lying between “winners” that produce adequate multiples of return on investment and “losers” that result in loss of invested funds. Living dead investments are typically mid- to later-stage ventures that are economically self-sustaining, but fail to achieve levels of sales growth or profitability necessary to produce attractive final rates of return or exit opportunities for their venture capital investors. 

Whilst living dead problems caused by internal management and operational issues can potentially be fixed by VC managers, those caused by too small or too slow markets, industry oversupply, or cut throat competition are largely out of their control or influence. Of the various actions taken by VC managers in dealing with living dead companies, the most common response is to sell or merge the investee firm so they can devote their time to star performers.

[1] Ruhnka, J. Feldman, H. D. and Dean, T.J. (1992). The “Living Dead” Phenomenon in Venture Capital Investments, Journal of Business Venturing, 7,pp 137-155.