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Henley Enterprise Lab

The Henley Enterprise Lab (HELAB) was spun out from the Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship and established as an independent centre on 1 October 2023. The purpose of HELAB is to provide support to current students and recent graduates of Henley Business School and the University of Reading who wish to establish their own businesses or scale their existing businesses.

HELAB has been set up to:

a) deliver a range of sponsored extracurricular initiatives that support the entrepreneurial journey of students and recent graduates;

b) collaborate with stakeholders, both within the university and externally, with regional, national and international entrepreneurial ecosystems;

c) work with the University of Reading and Henley Business School Careers teams to help students access work and opportunities to advance their entrepreneurial journey.

Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship is now focused exclusively on research and teaching. All co-curricular activities and initiatives are delivered and led by HELAB.

Student initiatives

Among the support provided by HELAB to students and recent graduates is a range of co-curricular entrepreneurship initiatives, including:

Business Idea and Start-Up Clinic - helps students and alumni who have a business idea or a start-up business progress to the next level by offering tailored, one-to-one advice and step by step goals from a business expert.

Henley Greenshoots Seed Finance Award Scheme - nurtures and supports start-ups by awarding cash prizes to start-ups that show the potential to grow and become sustainable businesses.

Entrepreneurship Hub - provides current University of Reading or Henley Business School students with a workspace to develop their business ideas.

IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition - a competition which seeks to find the University of Reading or Henley Business School student with the best idea for a business, awarding cash prizes to the winners.

Summer Start-Up Boot Camp - a hands-on, week-long workshop event for current University of Reading and Henley Business School students, alumni and local residents, held every year to give participants the confidence and skills to start a business and make money doing what they love.

Entrepreneur Mentor Programme - supports University of Reading or Henley Business School student entrepreneurs by connecting them with a network of alumni that have gone onto become successful business leaders, offering their advice and support.

Talks on Enterprise Development - a series of talks featuring business founders sharing how they have grown their enterprise and offering answers to questions such as ‘what was your best/worst business decision?’ and ‘what your best advice for someone who is starting their own business?'

HELAB News - a regular newsletter, reporting news from HELAB initiatives to offer students and recent graduates an insight into the support they are provided.

HELAB is leveraging its existing engagements with businesses and business organisations across the region and the UK.

Additionally, HELAB supports a number of Henley Business School and University of Reading entrepreneurship activities that include:

Your Entrepreneurs Scheme Competition - an innovative global competition developed to raise awareness among Masters and PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, research fellows and technicians how ideas can be commercialised. University of Reading and Henley Business School teams are co-ordinated by the Knowledge Transfer Centre and mentored by HELAB.

Entrepreneurship Vibes - a week of entrepreneurship and idea generation events led as part of Business in Practice: Markets, Marketing and Management (MM1F20), a first year module for Henley Business School undergraduate students.

Entrepreneurship Society - encourages student innovation and entrepreneurship through a range of events and initiatives, led by a committee of students through the Reading Students' Union.

Social Enterprise Hub (SEH) Programme- an initiative which introduces lower sixth form students to the idea of social enterprise in a practical and applied way, with the goal of delivering a sustainable solution for local communities. HELAB supports the SEH Programme through mentoring and judging the final.

Just Imagine If... (JIIF) - an international competition for social enterprise and innovation, with a £100,000 prize in kind for university research and business support. HELAB supports the programme by helping promote it and judging the final.

Commercialisation of research and spin outs from the University of Reading

Among the internal collaborations are partnerships with Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship, the student-led Entrepreneurship Society, the Entrepreneurship Pre-Experience and Post-Experience Programme Directors, the Henley Business School Alumni and Careers teams, the World of Work Institute, Henley Business Angels and the Knowledge Transfer Centre.

HELAB also works with multiple external organisations to deliver its purpose. Among these are the Thames Valley based micro, small, medium and large businesses, regional and national networks supporting entrepreneurs such as ConnectTVT and Enterprise Nation, funding sources like Innovate UK and business networks like the Berkshire Growth Hub.

Working with the Henley Business School Careers team, HELAB is establishing a portfolio of high growth, innovation driven small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide access to projects, placements and permanent employment opportunities for students nationally and internationally.

HELAB also provides support to Henley Business Angels (HBA), a network of experienced business leaders, successful entrepreneurs and investors. The network’s aim is to facilitate opportunities for members to invest in and mentor (S)EIS registered early-stage businesses launched by entrepreneurs who graduated from or are connected with Henley Business School and the University of Reading.

Jurek Sikorski is the Director of Henley Enterprise Lab and the founder of HBA and the range of initiatives that provide support for students and recent graduates. HELAB is based at Henley Business School, Whiteknights campus.

Students and recent graduates seeking support in their entrepreneurial journey, such as guidance on implementing their business idea, scaling their businesses or financing, should contact Jurek at

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