Recent research by the Financial Times concluded that Reading had now risen to be the third most entrepreneurial city in the UK (after London and Cambridge) and tenth most entrepreneurial city in Europe. The investment by the University of Reading in entrepreneurship, in particular through HCfE, has made a truly significant contribution to that achievement and impact on the Thames Valley economy.
Since its establishment, HCfE has extended the University of Reading's worldwide reputation of strong research links with business. By developing longstanding collaborative links with large and medium sized firms (especially through the University of Reading's award-winning Knowledge Transfer Centre), HCfE has forged close connections with the local Thames Valley SME business community.
Significantly, HCfE has actively contributed towards putting research within a business context. The prestigious Young Entrepreneurs Scheme was won in both 2017 (for the Healthcare category) and 2018 (for the Environment category) by University of Reading early career researchers mentored by HCfE.
HCfE has collaborated with many key local partners, such as the Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub, Thames Valley Local Economic Partnership, Chambers of Commerce and Institute of Directors, among others. Jurek Sikorski, the Executive Director of HCfE, is a member of the ScaleUp Berkshire advisory board and HCfE has a long term collaborative agreement with ConnectTVT, who deliver a range of opportunities for student engagement such as the Festival of Digital Disruption, 50 Game Changers and Connect Talks.
Outside of research, HCfE supports businesses in numerous other ways, including seed funding through the Henley Business Angels and leading several networking and SME events that aim to share best strategies for business growth, sales and marketing, financing, recruitment and development of staff. Most notable was the Brittelstand Symposium, led in tandem with Business United, which invited leading business owners to attend speaker panels and debates with high-profile speakers on the issues that are challenging mid-sized businesses and the opportunities for them to explore.
The University of Reading's longstanding commitment to the local economy is backed by HCfE initiatives, becoming the key partner in the recent creation of the Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub. Building on the large existing provision for SMEs on-campus in our Science and Technology and Enterprise Centres, the opening of the new Thames Valley Science Park in 2016 shows that the University of Reading is one of the UK's leading proponents of university-affiliated science parks. Many of these SMEs in turn benefit from their collaboration with our researchers by providing contract research income and research grants, alongside offering placement and consultancy opportunities for our students and recruitment opportunities for graduates.
To see some of the collaboration opportunities HCfE provides local businesses outside of research, take a look at our Entrepreneurship for Local Businesses and Alumni page.
To express an interest in collaborating with HCfE's research, please contact the Executive Director, Jurek Sikorski.