You may have seen it announced in the autumn that the University is now a Partner of the Ingenuity Programme. Hosted along the South Coast by the University of Sussex Innovation Centre, we are joined as partners by Chichester, Southampton and Southampton Solent universities.

What is Ingenuity?

The Ingenuity Programme aims to help create start-ups that deliver sustainable social impact across the UK. Ingenuity currently runs programmes in several regions including the East Midlands, West Midlands, West of England and across the South Coast. Its goal is to provide help and support to the next generation of changemakers (dubbed ‘Future Founders’) in developing their ideas to drive recovery and help rebuild a better society, economy and climate post-Covid.

The regional programme is delivered via an online insight and learning platform and Challenge Summits, culminating in a national business plan competition.

Participants are given the opportunity to work with experts from local businesses, universities and charities in order to better understand 4 key issues currently identified as impacting on society (Climate; Community; Health and Prosperity). Participants work to address these challenges, developing innovative business solutions to tackle them.

The Ingenuity Programme helps these changemakers transform their solutions into sustainable startup ideas and build and develop their business plans before pitching to a panel of industry leaders at regional finals.

If successful at the regional level, participants will get the chance to represent their region and pitch for investment at the National Finals.

Since launching in 2015, Ingenuity has had over 2,000 participants, awarded over £500,000 in investment and reached a global audience.

Ingenuity at the University of Portsmouth

The Ingenuity Programme at Portsmouth has seen positive collaboration between departments, with the Innovation Connect team working closely with the Careers and Employability and Alumni teams in a fantastic recruitment drive for applicants which so far has seen over 50 student applications.

The Student Startup team has been providing ongoing support to students who have joined the Ingenuity programme, with online resources, one to one support, development workshops and events on offer. Student Startup is running an ‘Entrepreneurs’ Lounge’ series of events, inviting entrepreneurial experts to host sessions on key startup topics.

Innovation Connect has created a dedicated space for Ingenuity participants to develop their business models on the second floor of Halpern House. The space is furnished with computer terminals connected to the University network, and provides the ample deskspace needed to work effectively in a Covid-secure way.

Innovation Connect is also running a series of evening talks, with guest speakers invited to present on a variety of topics catered towards student startups. The inaugural talk was given by Dr Chris Worrall, Innovation Director, who presented on lean startup methodology.  

Get involved as a Mentor

Ingenuity are currently looking for staff from organisations across the South Coast to take part in the programme.

Ingenuity needs experienced Mentors to help develop the next generation of social and environmental changemakers.

With a minimum commitment of 4 hours, you can share your skills and expertise as a mentor by:

  • Supporting the development of new ideas and innovations
  • Advising on the creation of business plans
  • Mentoring teams to launch new enterprises
  • Impacting on the community you live in

If you feel that you have significant skills and experience to develop the next generation of business initiatives, then sign up to become a mentor. The deadline for mentor sign-ups is 8 March, and Mentors can sign up here.