Success at Biotechnology YES competition

On 11 December, five Researchers from the University of Leicester won the UK final of Biotechnology YES (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme). This is an innovative competition designed to encourage an entrepreneurial culture in the UK bioscience postgraduate and postdoctoral base for the benefit of the UK economy. It requires participant teams of researchers to develop a business idea from inception through all the stages of business development, to the point where the team are making a pitch for funding. Parallels many professional contexts including research.

The team, all from the Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, consisted of Megan De Ste Croix and Laura Delfino, both Early Career Researchers alongside PhD Researchers Kalina Boytcheva, Joe Watkins and Charlotte Davison. Their pitching of their company, Phytocolours, won over the judges as they painted a commanding picture of how they planned to succeed in revolutionising the world of dyeing material.

In addition to the team winning the overall prize, Laura Delfino won the prize for Best Presenter for her energetic and engaging situating of the opportunity the team set out to address.

The final was hosted by the Royal Society in London. The competition was of the highest standard against teams from Queens Mary University of London, who had two finalists, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham, a team consisting of researchers from both the University of Durham and University of Liverpool, Newcastle University, University of Sheffield and University of Reading.

The team were mentored by Martin Coffey from the Doctoral College, with entrepreneurial coaching from Dr Chris Finnis, Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Leicester, and Dr Alex Goddard from the Doctoral College.

The delighted team members said "We are thrilled by the whole experience and the support provided throughout the entire process has been incredible. Aside from winning the competition, YES has been extremely rewarding in a multitude of different ways - this experience has certainly enriched our set of skills and we are sure it will help us in our future career paths."