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Begbroke Science Park welcomed budding entrepreneurs from the high-tech science sector on November 18th 2010, for a day of practical guidance through the challenges and pitfalls of growing their new business. Advice was provided by experts with direct experience gained from making their own successes – and failures.

Bob Reid, Chairman of the Oxfordshire Innovation and Growth team was keen to point out the dangers of science based companies putting all of their eggs (or ideas) in one basket – but also in following too many ideas and losing focus. The most important thing is to meet investor milestones, and keep raising money. Bob noted the three most important things as “Cash, cash and then of course, cash”.

Keeping to the practical theme, Dr Mark Graves gave a detailed demonstration of a patent search engine showing how the data can be used to source clients as well as knowledge. For many the level of competitor analysis available from this tool was a revelation. The importance of protecting you IP was well made by Mark, but reinforced by Dr Jenny McCarter who urged companies to review their patent portfolio regularly and to divest “those patents which no longer serve your business need”. At a cost of £200k over the patent life, don’t keep patents in the cupboard which won’t give a return.

With the company IP carefully protected, the panel moved on to consider how and when to expand your business. Tim Cook of ISIS Innovation the University of Oxford Technology Transfer company, took care to note what he called “the obvious” but which in practice catch many out. In essence, ensure the company is on a sound foundation before pursuing expansion. He also encouraged companies to repeatedly check their strategy, he said “just because you are flying in formation doesn’t mean you are on course, or that the ones at the back can see the mountain!”

The day ended with a networking session where attendees could share their experiences of starting up a business. John Brandon, from E6 Ventures, was impressed “All the speakers were on the mark. I can’t believe the expert advice I was getting was for free”.

Senior Administrator and Business Manager, Dr Caroline Livingstone, acknowledged that Begbroke Science Park is uniquely placed to offer this type of coaching event.

She commented “We can draw together world class speakers and coaches from across the academic and industrial spectrum, to nurture and guide the business leaders of the future .I’m delighted by the positive reception from all who attended, and we will be running these events again in 2011”.

For more information about Begbroke Transfer events please contact the events team on 01865 283700 or


Ben Roeves