CUTEC: Networking to Success

Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC) hosted its Cambridge International Networking Event (CINE) on 6th March 2010, a 1-day workshop and networking event focused on Innovation & Investment for Entrepreneurship.

Cambridge, United Kingdom, March 28, 2010 --( “What’s the difference between invention and innovation?”

“Who’s guaranteed to make money during a gold rush?”

“Where could a Friday night telephone call possibly take you?”

Leading innovators and investors offered surprising answers to these questions when, for a second consecutive year, Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC) hosted its Cambridge International Networking Event (CINE) on 6th March 2010. This whole-day event at the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge brought together more than 150 attendees representing entrepreneurial societies from across the UK, Denmark, Spain, France, and Germany. Packed with innovators and investors, CINE provided a fertile ground for aspiring entrepreneurs to push boundaries and extended the opportunities available in the Cambridge cluster to a wider audience.

Held under the inspiring motto ‘Innovation & Investment for Entrepreneurship’, CINE was opened by Michael ‘Kell’ Ryan, retired founding member of Ryanair. In a story-filled introduction, Kell illustrated the importance of making the right connections with an anecdote about a ‘simple Friday night telephone call’ that literally took him from his comfortable office chair to the cockpit of an F16 fighter jet.

CINE did not just provide a forum for networking, the event aimed to offer solutions to the burning questions in the minds of every aspiring entrepreneur and start-up business – “How can new ideas lead to new business?”, “Where do I find partners to take my ideas to market?” and “What do businesses look like from the investor’s side of the table?”. To answer these questions, the event was divided into three carefully crafted sessions – innovation, start-up showcase, and investment – which became the meeting point for innovators, investors, and early-stage businesses.

The Innovation session kicked off with Mark Nicmanis from The Technology Partnership. Making sure that his audience understood ‘where the money is’, Mark explained the difference between innovation and invention - the first is a route from ideas to cash, whereas the latter is a route from cash to ideas. Drawing on his personal experience, Mark then provided nine tips for entering the lucrative world of innovation, the first of which was to start by ‘throwing away the big company marketing manual’ if your idea is truly disruptive. For the rest of the Innovation session, the attendees embarked on separate journeys with Cambridge Consultants, Sentec, Nokia, Microsoft, Google and Red Gate and helped each of them to further innovate some of their breakthrough products and put forward new ideas to exploit new business opportunities.

The Start-up Showcase session buzzed with energy. Run as a ‘networking lunch,’ the attendees had unlimited opportunities for informal talks. Presenting were 18 companies and entrepreneurs including Cambridge Optical Sensors, CamStent, MagicSolver, Equity Fingerprint, ReVogue and Arcus Global.

The Investment session was opened by Alan Barrell, serial entrepreneur, business angel and CUTEC advisor, who reminded the audience of George Bernard Shaw’s words: You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’ The message carried by these words was reflected by Alan’s list of must-have attributes of an investment opportunity – a ‘disruptive technology’ at a stage ‘beyond proof of concept’ devised by a ‘top team’ led by a ‘quality CEO’ and worthy of a ‘global market’. The ‘Why not?’ and ‘Why should we?’ issues were put to the test when the attendees had the opportunity to look at entrepreneurship, via separate interactive sessions, through the eyes of venture capitalists such as Jeppe Leth Hansen and Harald Overholm. An intriguing question, posed by Simon Haworth of IPSO Ventures, really made attendees think like investors - “Who’s guaranteed to make money during a gold rush?” Whether there’s real gold or not, profits are in it for “the people who made the picks & shovels.”

The torch of entrepreneurship lit by CINE will be carried forward to CUTEC’s upcoming annual Technology Ventures Conference on 10th June 2010. Held under the title ‘Human Performance Running on Technology’, the conference will serve as a platform for displaying how high-tech products continue to stretch the boundaries of human ability.

To learn more about CUTEC and its projects, please visit

Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club
Dr. Flora Li