After some investigation and soul searching, Anthony Cope decides to set-up a new company and follows his dreams. Then an opportunity is almost missed with the Technium Challenge 2010. With no business plan, some vague ideas and a blank Word document, TopCat decides to enter…..
The first part of the Technium Challenge is submission of a business plan. I have one month to learn all I can about writing a business plan plus gather all the relevant information. Venture Wales and Xenos are an invaluable source of support and advice. I also contact the 2003 North Wales winner, who gives me the inside track on the whole competition. Then I do some market research (thank God for all inclusive calls). I put the plan together and submit. April is a busy month as I decide on the TopCat Research name and register the company. There’s no going back now…….
May is a month of hoping and praying. Then I get the call from Technium, I’ve got through to the Final!! This means I’m one of the top 8 business plan submissions, a real boost to my plans. I must be on the right track. One problem here, success brings its own problems. Mine were no company logo or website and only a fortnight to do them in. Enter Catrin Roberts and Moonlighting Web. Between us we get the logo and website designed and running. TopCat is also accepted in the Technium CAST fold, as an Associate Member. Now TopCat Research begins to feel real……
June is a busy month with the Technium Challenge. I have to prepare a 20 min presentation for the final and also make it original. I decide to play to my strengths and go for quirky and original. TopCat doesn’t do po-faced. After much hard work and practice the Finals day arrives. I do my best but not sure the judges get it. The Awards Dinner is 24th June 2010. With best bib and tucker, I wait for the winners to be announced. It’s not a Top 3 place for TopCat but I did get a good mention from the Head Judge (Kevin Green). I’m satisfied and enjoy the night. I also make some very good contacts, over a few beers then things just get messy.
A minor set-back occurs at the start of the month, with the announcement of major changes in Welsh Assembly Government funding for business and research. The SIF is dead, long live its eventual replacement (still to be decided). Undeterred, TopCat continues to pursue other avenues of start-up finance. Ian Barwick (Finance Wales) is very supportive through this time. TopCat also attends an Investor Forum, at Technium OpTic. This proves to be a very worthwhile day and gives me some very significant networking opportunities……..
No man is an island and neither is TopCat Research. As a number of important contacts have been made and developed, it seems a logical step to look at collaborative working. The Network idea is discussed and a feasibility paper prepared by TopCat. This results in a more formal meeting, at the end of the month. The results of which are a will to make The Network concept work and a Memorandum of Understanding between the Core Members. The stage is set for Launch Day…….
September – November 2010
Bit of a gap between updates due to work load. Well, TopCat Research has been busy. TopCat has made a number of important conections through the Daresbury SIC Breakfast Meetings and other Networking events. TopCat is now a associate resident at I-TAC @ Daresbury, listed on the BioNow Suppliers Directory and on the HPLS Steering Board for two degree courses at University of Chester. A number of interesting contacts have been made (see LinkedIn) and TopCat is part of two important strategic collaborations with the Medical Research Council and The FoodNano Technology Group at University of Chester. TopCat is also looking at in-licence opportunities on novel technologies to further our food testing revolution ambitions. TopCat has also attended Spotlight North Wales 2010 and met some really good people, including a fellow rebellious soul (See Dr Paul Thomas on LinkedIn). Lots of projects will be kicking off in the next few weeks, so will update more in January 2011.
TopCat Research is in the process of securing suitable premises, in North Wales. As well as being our home turf, we find that the opportunities and support for business in North Wales are second to none. We also want to give something back to the local community through high value jobs and career opportunities.
As our negotiations continue, TopCat will keep you informed of developments.