Alliance Manchester Business School – Business Incubator

Summary

Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) is a leading business school with six hubs around the world. From 2001 to 2009, Bubble Enterprises operated a business incubator at AMBS, delivering enterprise awareness and creation for more than 40 startups with a value of more than £2.15 million by the end of the initiative.

Challenges

In the early 2000s, entrepreneurship was an unfamiliar concept. With our MBA backgrounds, Bubble saw the opportunity to facilitate growth within this emerging industry by applying the expertise of large professional service providers to startup ideas, creating viable micro businesses.

Alliance Manchester Business School was Bubble’s first client – we worked in partnership with the business school to establish an enterprise creation incubator that would function virtually, allowing the initiative to support businesses based anywhere, in any industry.

The AMBA Business Incubator was established with the following objectives:

Enable professional service providers to support the creation of new ventures

Generate important insights into learning about micro startups

Provide networking opportunities for the business school

Deliver innovative, hands-on learning for students

Create new ventures with entrepreneurs

The process

Following completion of our own MBA courses at AMBS, Bubble approached the business school with the idea of supporting potentially high growth micro startups and pre-trading concepts through a virtual incubator. Once given the go-ahead by AMBS, we brought together commercial partners and sourced hundreds of ideas, which were then pitched to an independent panel.

The successful 40 or so concepts admitted into the incubator received a packaged a business support offer comprising services that included bank accounts, bookkeeping, marketing and more. The incubator also utilised the expertise of more than 300 MBA students in assessing the startup ideas, providing opportunities for hands-on learning.

Bubble then managed the projects, taking an equity share in each startup. As revenue began to trickle in, Bubble was able to make equity exits – some up to six figures – with the cash being reinvested into the incubator to support enterprise creation in subsequent years.

Outcomes

The Business Incubator at AMBS supported the creation of dozens of successful enterprises, whittling down 750 initial concepts to around 40 – of which many are still operating today. These include recruitment consultancy Jepson Holt, the Lead Agency Group (formerly askaprice.com), Gentry Grooming and UK Plumbing Supplies.

At a time when entrepreneurship courses didn’t exist, the incubator provided valuable educational insights – startup projects were taken on by MBA students as elective modules, delivering real, hands-on experience to inform the business leaders of tomorrow.

After eight successful years facilitating enterprise awareness and creation, the AMBS Business Incubator closed its virtual doors in 2009, by which time the 41 businesses created through the initiative had a combined value of more than £2.15 million.

For more information contact bubble on 0161 375 5111 or e-mail us at hq@bubbleenterprises.co.uk