Impulse is a Cambridge-based entrepreneurship programme that uses action learning to help tech innovators to refine projects, understand pitching and marketing of their products. Carried out by Dr. Alexandra Huener, a coordinator at Cambridge’s Maxwell Centre, this session focused on the importance of social capital for entrepreneurs and how to effectively build these networks.
The session started off with an introduction to social capital, which refers to developing a network of strong personal relationships In line with the vision of the Maxwell Centre (which aims to promote industrial engagement with Cambridge engineers and scientists), Dr. Huener views the concept as a “cross-pollination” of ideas and technologies – encouraging scientists to interact with others from various disciplines to facilitate venture creation. She stresses the importance of entrepreneurial learning for scientists, making the most out of the abundance of novice and experienced entrepreneurs in Cambridge. Key to this are traits not commonly associated with scientists, such as trust, openness and projecting the feel-good factor. Dr. Huener then talked through valuable lessons gleaned from the entrepreneurial success of Hermann Hauser (a Cambridge alumni) who largely benefitted from the social network among other alumni who still remain active in the Cambridge start-up scene.
The last part of the session was a brief introduction to the Impulse Programme by the Maxwell Centre. Aimed at PhDs, postdoctorals and researchers, participants across the different physical science and tech fields work on their individual business projects while receiving valuable mentorship. It provides the opportunity to develop personal networks, while working and learning from experienced entrepreneurs.
Overall, the session provided valuable insight as to how best to turn ideas into high impact solutions, building the foundations of a successful startup. It was also a great chance to hear about the amazing opportunities available for entrepreneurs within Cambridge.