MedCity is partnering with the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable and SR One on OneStart, a business accelerator programme and competition aimed at biotech entrepreneurs under the age of 35

Now in its third year, OneStart is the world’s largest business plan competition with two parallel strands in Europe and the USA. The winning business bags £100,000 in Europe and $150,000 in America plus free lab space, and business and IP support. But the benefits of entering are even wider, according to Daniel Perez, CEO & Founder of OBR.

“This is much more than just a straightforward business plan competition – we are creating companies,” he says. “Most of the entrants start with an early stage idea, which develops and builds into a viable business during the different phases of the programme. We place a big emphasis on mentoring, advice and networking for everyone – it’s certainly not a ‘winner takes all’ experience.”

The CEO of 2014’s winning business, EVA Diagnostics, who are creating a device to detect anaemia, agrees. Toby Basey-Fisher was a PhD student at Imperial College London when he entered the competition with a business proposal to use new portable analysis techniques to quickly and easily diagnose different types of anaemia. He says:

“It’s a truly enabling investment, but the contribution has been far more than financial. The mentoring and advice from the industry partners has been brilliant, and the networking opportunities provided by the competition were a major catalyst in developing the company’s management team.

“The many stages of the competition have connected us with entrepreneurs, investors and other members of the biotech community who have been hugely valuable in opening doors for us to new commercial possibilities.”

Read more about Toby’s company EVA Diagnostics here.

OneStart is run jointly by OBR and SR One and is supported by a range of industry partners, including Roche, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, and McKinsey who all take an active role in mentoring the competition’s entrants. The final 35 semi-finalists also take part in Biotech Business Bootcamp, an intense mini-MBA programme, where they pitch directly to potential investors.

Read more about OneStart semi-finalist JustMilk, which gained funding through this process.

Sarah Haywood, acting Chief Operating Officer of MedCity, says that OneStart is a natural partner for the organisation, which was formed to promote investment and innovation in the London-Oxford-Cambridge golden triangle.

“This region is absolutely abuzz with ideas, and we need to help young entrepreneurs channel their brilliance and enthusiasm to create great new companies that will promote better healthcare and economic growth,” she says.

“At MedCity, we want the golden triangle to be the natural place for entrepreneurs, where they can access the right funding and space, develop a skilled management team, and make the connections that will support them throughout the arc of growing a successful company. OneStart brings some of Europe’s most innovative young entrepreneurs to the region, many of whom will stay to develop their idea. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, and we are delighted to be partnering with the OBR.”

Dr Eliot Forster, Executive Chair of MedCity, adds:  “For young people eager to make their mark on the world, you can’t beat the opportunities provided by a career in biotech enterprise – tackling disease, applying science and business hand-in-hand and making a genuinely important societal impact. However getting started is not always a clear and simple process, so OneStart’s work to open up the sector, to give access to mentoring and expertise is a great step towards encouraging more entrepreneurs to look to the life sciences sector to fulfil their ambitions.”

Matt Foy, partner at SR One and one of the founders of OneStart says: “We are excited to have MedCity joining as a partner to OneStart and look forward to them helping us to support of young entrepreneurship in the life sciences.”

Applications open for OneStart 2015 on 1 October 2014 – find out more here.