Prior to the Olympics and Paralympics Games this summer, a number of new initiatives have launched in London to aid the development of the capital's start-up community.
A non-for-profit organisation called Entrepreneur First launched to the public this week with the aim of encouraging more university graduates to become entrepreneurs. It is backed by investors including the City of London Corporation, Microsoft, Silicon Valley Bank, and McKinsey & Company, all of which have put more than £50,000 each into the programme.
Meanwhile two major industry events will be taking place later this month, the InnoTech Summit and an event organised by the City of London Corporation's Angels in the City initiative, to bring together start-ups, venture capitalist and angel investors to discuss ideas and opportunities.
The Entrepreneur First organisation said on Thursday that it was ready to kick off its programme of support for start-ups, after selecting 34 aspiring entrepreneurs from over 400 applications. Many of the successful applicants come straight out of university after completing computer science degrees.
The selected applicants, who were interviewed by a number of entrepreneurs and investors, will be attending a number of events in the coming months, including a reception at 10 Downing Street on 5 April, as they prepare to launch their start-ups.
Towards the end of August, the group will participate in a two-week long bootcamp in Cambridge, where they will form companies made up of fellow participants and begin the process of turning their ideas into businesses.
V3 spoke to a number of the successful applicants, many of them focussed on developing software for the retail industry.
James Hennessy, a computer scientist graduate, said he was developing software that gives recommendations to shoppers trying to find the right products and that would also offer retailers bigger returns on investment.
Rob Whitehead plans to launch a product for high street store windows that will make use of 3D technology to entice shoppers into the store.
Zahid Mitha, meanwhile, is working on an e-Bay competitor that will standardise pricing of goods.
Microsoft senior corporate affairs manager, Stephen Uden, welcomed the increasing numbers of programmes, like Entrepreneur First, which offer graduates a chance to pitch ideas to investors.
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