" /> Gareth Overton, Author at Edinburgh Innovations Page 2 of 13
Student Enterprise Hub an instant hit

Student Enterprise Hub an instant hit

Edinburgh Innovations’ new Student Enterprise Hub has proven a hit with entrepreneurial students and recent graduates.

The Hub, by the entrance to Appleton Tower on Chapel Street, is a space for students to meet and work on their enterprises, as well as a venue for EI to deliver events and services, such as one-to-one business adviser meetings.

Having opened in time for Welcome Week, the Hub has already hosted startup and social enterprise workshops and a “Welcome to Your Student Enterprise Service” event. 

‘Exactly what I need’

MSc Translation Studies student Victoria Velasco arrived in Edinburgh in September and hopes to launch her own translation service at the end of her studies. She attended the Welcome event and found an energetic community of like-minded students.

“I know nothing about business yet, but I’m interested in setting up. What I’ve heard today about workshops and talking to people one-to-one is exactly what I need.


“I think coming here is going to be really useful.


– Translation Studies masters student Victoria Velasco.

‘Incredible space’

Collin Powers is a fourth-year undergraduate studying Business with Enterprise and Innovation and an existing EI client as founder of Ellyra, a startup developing a virtual reality tennis training product.

students inside the Student Enterprise Hub

Already a successful student entrepreneur who recently completed EI’s Startup Summer Accelerator programme, he has been a regular at the Student Enterprise Hub since it opened at the beginning of semester.

“The space itself is incredible – it’s a really interesting combination. I can really focus and get a lot of work done, but I can also just chat to someone across the table. There’s a really great welcoming environment.


“Once I’m finished with my latest software build, I can just ask someone right there to test it and give me their thoughts. It’s been really helpful.”


– Collin Powers, undergraduate student and founder of Ellyra.

Making connections

An important function of the Hub is to serve as a space for students to meet independently, discuss their business ideas, get feedback and even find co-founders. 

Bobby Pembleton, from EI’s Enterprise Services team, says a need met by the Hub is simply physical space “for people to get together and make these connections”.

“On day one we wondered how we would persuade people to come in. On Day two we had so many we were wondering if we might have to triage who comes in here.


“There has been immediate take-up of the space.”


– Bobby Pembleton, Enterprise Officer.

The Student Enterprise Hub will host a busy calendar of workshops throughout semester, including three meetings in October of the newly formed EdinburghPALS, the latest of the University’s Peer Assisted Learning Schemes.

Related links

EI services for students

Student Enterprise Hub

Startups impress investors at Demo Day

Startups impress investors at Demo Day

A dozen student startups that completed Edinburgh Innovations’ 12-week summer accelerator programme have impressed investors at the 2019 Startup Summer Demo Day. 

The businesses and social enterprises pitching to an audience of investors and business leaders ranged from a gluten-free granola manufacturer to a web platform that recruits football talent from Africa for the international market.

Accelerator support

The Demo Day was the culmination of Edinburgh Innovations’ Startup Summer Accelerator, where 12 teams of current students and recent graduates were supported to develop their business ideas.

They received funding and benefited from workshops, business advice, peer-learning and connections to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Startup Summer is sponsored by Santander Universities, angel investor syndicate Equity Gap, and the University’s Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability.

At a networking session following the pitches, startup founders connected with potential investors, with fruitful discussions reported on both sides. 

“It was a great way to see interesting pitches from a variety of new companies really quickly.


“The event also gave us an opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with those companies that were most relevant to us, and we’re already planning several follow-up meetings.”


– Mark Hogarth, Partner, Techstart Ventures.

New direction

Among the presenters was Karis Gill, co-founder of Social Stories Club, a social enterprise that delivers socially conscious gift boxes complete with the products’ unique stories of social change.

Advice she and her fellow co-founder Aayush Goyal received at the Startup Summer Accelerator radically changed their product and target market.

“When we came into the Startup Accelerator, our target market was consumers, but we couldn’t ignore the amount of business sales we were getting and we were advised to explore this corporate market. We discovered they wanted more high-end hampers, more high end products, and that’s exactly what we’ve created over the course of the Accelerator.


“We’re really excited about the future, because we realise how much more impact we can have. We can work with so many more products, and we can help corporates with their culture of sustainability. It’s as though the parts have slotted into place.”


– Karis Gill, Co-Founder, Social Stories Club.

Impressive progress

The development of the ventures over the 12-week programme was clear to Fraser Lusty, Investment Director at Equity Gap, who saw the full process from assessing applicants to the programme right through to Demo Day. 

“From seeing them at the start, in some cases still quite embryonic, without exception the quality of the pitches on the day and the progress that’s been made in understanding what the proposition is and how they’re going to take that to market is very impressive.


– Fraser Lusty, Investment Director, Equity Gap.

This year was the first that Equity Gap has sponsored the programme, though the investment group has a longstanding relationship with the University and has invested in several spinout companies.

“We know the quality that’s coming out across the University’s various departments,” said Lusty. “We are keen to invest in and grow young talent from leading Scottish universities.”

The guest speaker at Startup Summer Demo Day was Assean Sheikh, CEO of Flavourly, the Edinburgh-based online drinks delivery company that has grown its customer base in five years to nearly 100,000 and has delivered more than 1.5 million drinks to date.


Startup Summer Accelerator alumni 2019

Startup Founders
ACE Maths
Mathematics tuition centre using Chinese maths teaching techniques
Sze Yan Lee
MA International Relations

Best of Bettina

Gluten-free foods

Bettina Hernberg

MA Business with Enterprise and Innovation

Black Goblin Audio

Audio design and post-production

Ana Betancourt

MSc Sound Design


e-commerce assistant that uses natural language processing

Iain Mackie

MSc Data Science


Virtual reality tennis training

Collin Powers

MA Business with Enterprise and Innovation

Ethical Intelligence Associates

Consultancy to help businesses tackle tech ethics

Anna van Oosterzee

MSc Mind, Language and Embodied Cognition

Olivia Gambelin

MSc Philosophy

Inmotion Group MTL

Mobility think lab

David Jaramillo

MSc Entrepreneurship and Innovation


Custom clothing supplier

Ryan Morrison

BSc Biotechnology

Jenny Stevenson

MA Architecture


Web platform recruiting African footballers

Daniel Denis

MSc Energy Finance

Social Stories Club

Socially conscious gift boxes – and stories

Aayush Goyal

MA International Business

Karis Gill

MA Business and Marketing


Human-like skin for robots

Zaki Hussein

PhD Integrative Sensing and Measurement

Laura Garcia-Caberol

MSc Product Design

Viapontica Analytics

AI engineering and strategy consultancy

Vesko Cholakov

MSc Artificial Intelligence

Related links

EI’s enterprise programmes for students

Santander Universities

Equity Gap

Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability



New consultancy helps businesses tackle tech ethics

New consultancy helps businesses tackle tech ethics

Two participants in Edinburgh Innovations’ Startup Summer Accelerator programme have launched a consultancy to help businesses navigate the growing ethical challenges of using artificial intelligence and other burgeoning technology.

Ethical Intelligence, launched by philosophy postgraduate students Olivia Gamelin and Anna van Oosterzee, has already worked with the Scottish Government, global investment firm Franklin Templeton and the University of Edinburgh.

“We want to turn the grey of tech ethics into black and white for businesses and other organisations.”


– Olivia Gambelin, Co-Founder, Ethical Intelligence.

The two have assembled a team of 15 ethics experts with various specialisms spanning the broad technology field.

They will help clients assess and address the risks surrounding issues such as data privacy and hidden biases when using technology such as artificial intelligence, algorithms and automation.

“We take the internal values of a company, put together specialist research teams and produce outputs such as risk analysis, protocols and project proposals,” says van Oosterzee.

High-profile clients

The pair recently produced a charter on the ethical use of data for a project involving the Scottish Government and the UN children’s charity Unicef concerning childhood obesity.

They have also helped Franklin Templeton on how the investment firm partners with other companies, and are soon to travel to California to help implement their recommendations.

And they have begun a project with the University of Edinburgh on the ethical use of technology to help support students who may be vulnerable to mental health difficulties.

“The data subject, such as the child, student or customer, must be the ultimate beneficiary of our work. We offer a service to our client, but it’s about the human side of the story, about doing tech in the right way.”


– Anna van Oosterzee, Co-Founder, Ethical Intelligence.

Gambelin, from the US, and van Oosterzee, from the Netherlands, met during their one-year masters degrees at the University’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. Gambelin was studying the ethics of AI, and van Oosterzee was studying the philosophy of cognition.

Edinburgh Innovations has helped the pair connect with essential advisers including lawyers and accountants, helped them access funding, and hosted them on the 12-week Summer Startup Accelerator programme. Ethical Intelligence has also been provided office space in the University’s new Bayes Centre on Edinburgh’s Potterrow.

Startup Summer support

Startup Summer is run by Edinburgh Innovations and sponsored by Santander Universities, the University of Edinburgh’s Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability and the angel investor syndicate Equity Gap. Participants receive £3,000 in funding, dedicated workshops and weekly peer learning sessions.

The programme culminates in the Demo Day where the 12 participating teams promote their businesses and ambitions. This year’s Demo Day takes place on 11 September 2019. 

The company has recently appointed three board members: Gary Bernstein, founder of Tech Scotland Advocates; Andrea Bonime-Blanc, founder of GEC Risk Advisory; and Mark Sprevak, Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.

Related links

Ethical Intelligence

Register for Startup Summer Demo Day

EI enterprise services for students

£1m MRC grant to test new treatment for advanced cancer

£1m MRC grant to test new treatment for advanced cancer

Researchers have been awarded funding for a clinical study of a novel approach to treating advanced cancer symptoms that could improve quality of life for patients.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has awarded the Biomedical Catalyst grant to the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) at the University of Edinburgh. This will be supported by a collaboration with XBiotech, a global biosciences company based in Austin, Texas, which is supplying the treatment product.

Edinburgh Innovations supported the University team in development of the project including liaising with XBiotech, project partners and the MRC to fund the study.

£1m award

XBiotech’s treatment – called bermekimab – could help with improving outcomes in cancer, including reducing symptoms such as weight loss and decreased mobility.

Researchers have been awarded almost £1 million from the MRC, part of UK Research and Innovation, to enable the study, which will begin recruiting patients later this year.

Bermekimab works by blocking a molecule of the immune system called IL-1alpha, which causes inflammation and pain. It is already being tested as a treatment for patients with colorectal cancer.The new trial aims to examine if the treatment – a form of immunotherapy – offers any benefit for patients with advanced lung, pancreatic or ovarian cancer.

“Using immunotherapy to target the cause of symptoms in cancer is a new approach. If successful, it has the potential to improve quality of life for people with advanced cancer.”


– Dr Barry Laird, Senior Lecturer in Palliative Medicine at the University’s MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine.

UK wide

Patients will be recruited to five sites across the UK – Edinburgh Cancer Centre, the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London.

As cancer advances, it can hijack the immune system causing life-altering physical symptoms for patients. These include loss of appetite and weight loss, muscle loss and fatigue, which have a significant impact on daily life.

The trial has been developed in conjunction with the UK’s National Cancer Research Institute and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration.

New hope

President and Chief Executive Officer of XBiotech John Simard welcomed the trial and said the company was eager to provide bermekimab to patients with advanced cancer through supporting this trial.

“Bermekimab is able to target a crucial inflammatory process that enables tumours to grow, spread and disrupt normal organ function to cause harm.”


– John Simard, President and Chief Executive Officer of XBiotech.

Dr Steve Wootton, a nutrition expert at the University of Southampton and Deputy Chair of the NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration, said the study would allow them to test theories about how cancer leads to severe malnutrition and weight loss in many people. He added that it could open up new hope for patients with advancing cancer, allowing them to lead more active lives with their families.

Chair of the National Cancer Research Institute’s Supportive Care Clinical Studies Group Professor Sam H Ahmedzai described the study as a “radical new approach”. He said it could improve patients’ daily living.

Related links

University news

MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine


National Cancer Research Institute

The NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration

Enterprise education in a class of its own

Enterprise education in a class of its own

Midlothian school children have spent a day learning entrepreneurial skills with the help of experts from Edinburgh Innovations.

At the Enterprise Education day at Newbattle High School, 24 pupils in S5 and S6 researched real-world commercial and societal needs, generated ideas for businesses and social enterprises and developed them into Dragons’ Den-type business pitches.

“It’s been fantastic, giving the pupils a feel for the flow of idea generation and entrepreneurship, and exploring the idea of what a social enterprise is.”


– Depute Head Teacher Mark Davidson.

From road-building to anti-bullying

Through collaborative workshops, pupils spent the morning researching challenges that could be addressed through a new product or service, arriving at a series of business propositions to develop in groups.

The chosen enterprises included an app to combat bullying, a political news podcast, road construction using recycled plastic, a donations scheme for those affected by war in Yemen, and a cooling facemask to relieve headaches.

“The statistics we discovered when researching our idea have shocked us. The ideas we’ve come up with as a team for the first release of the app have been really good. I’ve never really thought about starting a business, so everything we did today was learning.”


– Jack Grieve, S6 student.

‘Young people’s passions’

The groups worked on pitching their businesses, as though facing potential investors, and the day culminated in each group giving its prepared pitch to the rest of the class.

“It’s heartening to hear young people’s passions,” said Mr Davidson. “Every pitch was looking at delivering some sort of social responsibility, or getting young people engaged in political life, or about the health and wellbeing of young people. It’s really good as adults to be in the room and see that positivity from young people.”

Growing relationship

The day was part of a growing relationship between the University and Newbattle High School.

When the school’s new campus was opened in June 2018, it was designated Scotland’s first Digital Centre of Excellence through a partnership between the University and Midlothian Council. The school will work with universities, colleges and businesses to ensure its children are equipped with leading digital skills for the future workplace.

In September last year, the school hosted a data science workshop to launch the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal’s Data-Driven Innovation programme, which is being led by the University.

And a team from the University’s Moray House School of Education has recently hosted a Continuing Professional Development day for the school’s staff, focusing on its role as a Digital Centre of Excellence.

Related links

Digital Centre (University news)

Newbattle High School