An entrepreneur is someone who starts their own business and is willing to risk financial loss in the pursuit of a great idea. The research environment offers many opportunities for enterprising people. You probably have lots of good ideas and often find innovative ways in which to achieve impact with your outputs.

“Individuals successful in enterprise or entrepreneurship often have heightened levels of self-awareness developed through reflecting upon, and continually learning from, their actions.” The QAA Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education

All these traits can help you start a successful business.

You’ll also need:

  • perseverance
  • communication skills
  • experience in facilitating knowledge exchange

Intrapreneurship requires similar skills, but takes place within an existing organisation. Intrapreneurs transform an idea into something that adds value for their employer.

To get an insight into the ideas that other researchers have developed, take a look at  Vitae’s case studies of 40 doctoral entrepreneurs.

You can also use Vitae’s Enterprise Lens to identify the key knowledge, behaviours, and attributes typically developed through researchers in entrepreneurial activities.

If you’re a researcher at the University of Sussex, you can seek support from the Sussex Innovation Centre to develop your business or product.

the-enterprising-researcherVitae’s Top Tips for Being a Successful Enterprising Researcher

  1. Start with you, your goals and what you want to achieve. Only with this clarity will you be ready to work with others and gain the support and involvement of others.
  2. Use your research capabilities as mapped out in the Enterprise Lens on the Researcher Development Framework to explore and develop your ideas in as much depth and breadth as possible.
  3. Research the people you might want to approach for input, support and development.
  4. Look at academia and beyond for enterprising ideas. What can be brought into this environment that works well elsewhere? What can be taken from academia and applied to other sectors?
  5. Consider the impact of your enterprising activity: who will benefit?
  6. Look for inspiration in a variety of places both in and out of university.
  7. Look for role models. If you can’t find them, identify role model behaviours in other people that might inspire your own enterprise development.
  8. Ask for help. Other people are essential for discussing ideas, introducing you to new ideas or people, or pointing you towards funding.
  9. Be prepared to learn from mistakes – enterprising people fail but they pick themselves back up and try again – that’s what makes them successful.
  10. Keep your energy going with input from different sources – the books and journals you read, the company you keep, in and out of work.
  11. Look for case studies and examples of others doing what you want to do and learn from their successes and their failures.
  12. Enterprise is a stream of behaviours rather than a one-off event. Keep looking ahead to the next challenge.

In this video, Steve Margetts talks about setting up a business after completing his PhD in Computer Science:

Next Steps