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Executives into Business Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What can the executive be appointed to do?

A. A typical application might be structured around the appointed executive undertaking development of the business plan, securing investment and commercial contracts. However, there is flexibility to consider other activities related to incorporation and future success of spin-out companies.

Q. What experience do I need to become an executive and lead a spin-out business?

A. We’re keen to develop a strong pool of candidates with as diverse a range of backgrounds and experience as possible, therefore we’re not prescriptive about the experience you need to have at the stage you register for the pool. We look for candidates to articulate their skills and experience which they feel would make them a strong CEO to lead a start-up spin-out business.

Tenders are issued for specific opportunities to all candidates in the pool, and at that stage the tender documentation will clearly state any specific experience required for that opportunity, for example any particular industry knowledge or experience.

Q. How much are executives paid to lead a spin-out company?

A. The Executives into Business programme is funded through Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund, which enables us to offer executives up to £30,000 per placement. The placement will be on a contract basis and remuneration is awarded against development milestones set out in the tender. A typical placement could be either full time or part-time depending on the brief and is expected to last 6 – 12 months.

Q. How can I become an executive?

A. SETsquared is working in partnership with the Northern Accelerator to deliver the Executives into Business ‘Talent Pool’.  To comply with funding requirements, Newcastle University has developed a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) framework which potential executives need to register on. Once registered they become part of a pool of candidates. The DPS is open continuously for new candidates to join and Newcastle’s University procurement team can provide support to help candidates work through the application process.

When an opportunity arises e.g. a spin-out is ready for a CEO to take the business forward, the opportunity is shared with the candidate pool as a tender. Candidates can then bid for the opportunity and applications are reviewed by a panel including technology transfer experts from the relevant university and the academic founder. This allows the university to select and appoint the most appropriate candidate.

Q. What are the benefits of becoming an Executive into Business?

A. SETsquared universities have a strong innovation pipeline, with much untapped potential. The business opportunities that arise are not only commercially exciting but have the potential to make a real impact on our society. Executives therefore have access to unique opportunities based on world-class research, and those opportunities have already passed the due diligence required to get university approval as a potential spin-out.

Q. What are the benefits for a spin-out if recruiting an Executive into Business?

A. Talented business executives bring the spin-out enhanced access to networks, business experience and investment routes, and as they are recruited during the pre-incorporation phase, they’ll work closely with the spin-out to set up a strong and viable business from the outset.

Q. How can an academic apply for an executive to join a potential spin-out?

A. If you are an academic from a SETsquared partner university (Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey), please speak to your university’s technology transfer team in the first instance.

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