Many of the companies in the Cambridge cluster have adopted a ‘soft’ business model, carrying out R&D contracts and bespoke services for customers, focused on their particular needs. The University is an important contributor to the development and success of these companies through the skills, knowledge and infrastructure it provides.
One of the earliest examples of this type of enterprise is Cambridge Consultants – a technology development and consultancy company set up by University of Cambridge engineering graduates. Over twenty new ventures have spun out from Cambridge Consultants in the last twenty five years, including $1bn companies Domino and CSR.
The University doesn’t just provide technical and scientific skills but also entrepreneurial and business skills. For example, the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (a not-for-profit organisation based in the University of Cambridge Judge Business School) provides elective modules in undergraduate and postgraduate and postgraduate programmes focused on entrepreneurial practice, and also runs a range of open programmes for aspiring entrepreneurs such as Enterprise Tuesday, Ignite and Enterprisers.