Changemakers Roundtable Series

The Start-up Journey

Start-ups are a critical part of economic growth and success. There are the obvious ones who have changed the world: Google (founded 1998, $1.2trillion market cap), Facebook (founded 2004, $740bn), Tesla (founded 2003, market cap $800bn) – but there are many more. In almost any sector there are young companies who are driving change & innovation. Within the UK fewer start-ups have made such global success: yet start-ups have a huge impact on economy: according to Octopus the successful high-growth small businesses (HGSB) make up only 1% of UK businesses, yet drove 22%% of UK GVA increase and 20% of all jobs created.

This discussion will include the context of start-ups (why do VCs invest in high-risk businesses?), the challenges of forming and growing a start-up (raising money, getting an idea, building the team, finding customers, etc.) and then the transition to scale up and growth stage.

This will obviously be of interest for those who might want to do a start-up, but also broader discussion that will be relevant for those interested in public policy, law or finance where start-ups are increasingly relevant.

Note: while the perception of start-ups is around STEM and an image of nerds, this is not the case. Even in technology businesses 65% of founders did not study STEM degrees (Jack Ma was an English teacher) and while many more obviously are “tech enabled” as opposed to “tech” (Uber, AirBnB or The Hut Group on UK for example) some of the most successful new companies are not technology at all (Brewdog or Zara).

Each session will start with the Guest Faculty member talking about the topic for no more than 30 minutes and there will be plenty of time for an interactive open forum around the round table. 
These session are open to all students and staff studying at the University of Cambridge and the Homerton Community (students, staff and alumni). However, the numbers will be capped to a small group to enable a good roundtable discussion. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis!

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