I've been working with UCL SMILE Programme, Queen Mary, and UKTI Tech City lately (among others) and am happy to report that entrepreneurship is in rather wonderful shape in London.
Although with specialised incubator programmes like Springboard young companies have always been impressive, the calibre of companies has improved exponentially since last year in open enrollment classes.
Here's something, too, coming up for all you younger folk who want to try your hand. I'll be doing the pitch training, and I very much look forward to meeting you.
The 2012 Young Entrepreneurs Festival, organised by The Tech City Investment Organisation, in partnership with the Creative Pioneers Can-Start programme of the IPA and Metro, and supported by ad:tech London, brings together 150 of the brightest aspiring young entrepreneurs to compete for a chance to pitch to angel investors and potentially raise seed funding for their business idea.
For 2 days before the final, the contenders (in 2 age groups, 16-24 and 25+), will have been judged and supported by dozens of mentors, successful entrepreneurs, experienced business people, creatives and technologists, giving their time and expertise completely free of charge in order to help aspiring talent achieve greater potential. On Day 1, the 150 young entrepreneurs are whittled down to the best 50%, who advance through to Day 2. After more intensive support, coaching and scrutiny, at the end of day two, the top 10 will be announced.
Each of the 10 finalists has 3-5 minutes to present to the audience at Ad:Tech on Day 3, which will include a number of specially invited angel investors. There will be a judging panel. After hearing all 10 pitches, the top 3 and overall winner of the contest will be announced, and there will be prizes of generously donated business support.