Cambridge Business Magazine: August 2015 Edition

Cambridge Business Magazine: August 2015 Edition


St John’s Innovation Centre Entrepreneur in Residence, Soraya Jones, recently contributed to the August issue of Cambridge Business Magazine. Read the full article here…

St John’s Innovation Centre Entrepreneur in Residence, Soraya Jones, recently contributed to the August issue of Cambridge Business Magazine. Read the full article below and view the latest edition of Cambridge Business online here.

Cambridge Business magazine August issue Full Article 

Now two months into my new role as the Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at the well renowned St. John’s Innovation Centre (SJIC), and I am still loving every minute of it. SJIC itself (which was established in 1987 by St. John’s College, Cambridge and is the first incubator of its kind in Europe) houses a dynamic, varied and vibrant community. It is full of start-ups and inspiring entrepreneurs working on innovative and exciting developments in technology, telecoms, life sciences, 3D printing and much more!

Having left behind the role of CEO of Cambridge Wireless (CW) where, with the support of the wonderful CW Board (chaired by Dr David Cleevely), I had grown the cluster from a struggling 70 member companies to a thriving 400 member companies running 20 Special Interest Groups, I am looking forward to facing the challenges of supporting all the young businesses in SJIC. I shall also be supporting my MD, David Gill, to promote SJIC as the innovative hotspot in the region.

So what, exactly, do I see my somewhat fancy job title encompassing? My mission is to promote the tenants’ businesses nationally and internationally, to shout about their unique offerings to anyone who will listen and help them to grow further by tapping into funding that will support their business growth.

When I inform my friends and colleagues that I am now EIR at SJIC, many have raised their eyebrows then politely (and not so politely in some cases!) asked me ‘So what exactly is it you do?’

According to the definition in Wikipedia, it says that ‘Entrepreneur in Residence is a position, in a Venture Capital firm, Law firms or Business Schools that is usually temporary and not formal. This is when an institution brings in an entrepreneur, who is usually on the process of starting or expanding his/her new company.’ No, this is definitely not me – I have never been in a VC firm, never been a lawyer (wish I had because I would have made more money!) and I certainly hope that this is a permanent position!

David Gill Soraya Jones St John's Innovation Centre

Soraya Jones and David Gill, St John’s Innovation Centre

One of my passions from my time at CW was the establishment of the annual ‘Discovering Start-Ups’ competition (now in its sixth year) and I feel that the work I aim to do at SJIC with the community of start-ups is more aligned to the definition of an EIR, as defined in ‘An Entrepreneurial Life’. On this website, one of the definitions of an EIR is ‘a position at a venture capital or business accelerator firm staffed by an entrepreneur with a history of successfully building companies…’. This definition of Entrepreneur in Residence, I certainly am!

In the spirit of this definition of an EIR and in promoting some of the ambitious innovative companies based at SJIC, I would like to shine a spotlight on three tenant companies who have won outstanding awards in the last few months. We should be very proud that they are all based in Cambridge, reinforcing again, the ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’, and the assertion that ‘Cambridge ideas are still changing the world’.

Cambrionix Cambridge St John's Innovation Centre

Dominic Plunkett; Adam O’Hara; Stuart Pask; Soraya Jones from SJIC

Cambrionix Ltd

Cambrionix Ltd, which designs and manufactures products for mobile device management, was given the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade in recognition of achieving substantial growth in overseas earnings and sustained commercial success.

Seeing growth by almost 3,000 per cent since 2009, the company is now hoping the recent accolades will help support planned growth in the healthcare and retail industries, both in the UK and abroad.

The Queen’s Award comes just six months after it was placed in the top ten of Deloitte Technology Fast 50 companies.


Annie Brooking, Chief Executive of Bactest

Annie Brooking, Chief Executive of Bactest

The prestigious low-carbon industry award Shell Springboard awarded Professor Annie Brooking CEO of Bactest the amount of £40,000, which helped to launch their technology called Shepherd. Bactest is a rapid microbiology company offering a quick and portable method of testing for contamination.

Shepherd is a cutting-edge monitoring technology helping water companies to save energy. It is an Activated Sludge Monitoring and Management System that floats in an activated sludge lane and automatically samples every 60 minutes calculating an accurate BOD5 proxy every hour, reducing energy consumption for water companies.

Currently, aeration of activated sludge takes up 2% of all electricity generated in the UK. If Shepherd were to be implemented across just 135 UK water plants, it could save 16,000 tons of CO2 – equivalent to the annual consumption of 7,200 domestic flats.

Kinneir Dufort

Kinneir Dufort

Greg Berman, Head of Medical and Tony Bedford, Head of Medical Business Development at Kinneir Dufort

Kinneir Dufort, an integrated research, innovation, design and product development company especially in the area of medical devices, has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the field of International Trade. Kinneir Dufort received the award in recognition of their huge rise in successful exporting in recent years. Overseas sales for the firm rose 41 per cent in 2012 to £1.6m, and increased again by 95 per cent in 2013.

Although based in Bristol originally, it has recently expanded with an office in Cambridge in the strong desire to recruit the talents in Cambridge to help them with their increasing research and development work in medical device design and development.