Asian Correspondent » University College London http://asiancorrespondent.com Asian Correspondent Tue, 26 May 2015 03:51:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 A rich future awaits graduates who start their own businesses in the capital of enterprise http://asiancorrespondent.com/88108/a-rich-future-awaits-graduates-who-start-their-own-businesses-in-the-capital-of-enterprise-2/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/88108/a-rich-future-awaits-graduates-who-start-their-own-businesses-in-the-capital-of-enterprise-2/#comments Wed, 22 Aug 2012 16:38:31 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=88108 It’s a start that seems familiar as start-ups go: a young entrepreneur developing websites in his bedroom. Yet what distinguishes Zain Jaffer from the thousands of others who will recognise the beginning of his journey, but for one reason or another let their dream fall by the wayside, is that he’s made it.

 Zain – whose company, Vungle, so impressed internet giants including AOL and Google that he raised investment from them to the tune of £1.2 million earlier this year – is just one of several UCL graduates who have recently made an impact on the entrepreneurship scene in London, Silicon Valley and beyond.

The former UCL student, 24, and his business partner Jack Smith, 23, were awarded the money after attending what he described as “an entrepreneurs’ boot camp” in California.

Many, including Zain, are former students of UCL’s MSc Technology Entrepreneurship programme, one of the most popular with international students, who often chose to study with us to experience the thriving entrepreneurial culture of London and the cutting-edge curriculum the degree provides for those interested in starting their own business in the tech or media industries.

 Students have come from China, Malaysia, Chile and mainland Europe to benefit from the programme in recent years.

 Michael Langguth, 26, is one of those who has made the journey – in his case, from Germany – to benefit from the programme. His business, Poq studio, is a mobile retail app developer focusing on small and medium enterprises in the fashion industry and was started when he met his business partner, Oyvind, 32, during the course.

 Since graduating, Poq studio has gone from strength to strength – and its success has recently attracted significant funding from Venrex Investment Management, a leading UK fashion investor, to develop their business further. 

Despite the global recession, London has become a prime centre for investment in promising start-ups. Another graduate of UCL, and a beneficiary of the support programme we have in place for students and graduates keen to start their own business, is Raoul Tawadey, founder of Circalit, which has just gained funding from investment group the London Business Angels.

 Raoul’s business – an innovative digital publishing platform which aims to become the ‘Youtube for eBooks’, and a place where writers can publish their books on the web and mobile devices – has benefitted from long-standing support from UCL Advances, including a Bright Ideas Award to provide seed funding for his idea and space, free of charge, in the university’s hatchery. 

 Thanks to the success of the Olympics, the eyes of the world are on London this year – not just as a sporting venue, but as a cultural hub, a financial centre and as the nexus for one of the most exciting habitats for entrepreneurs in the world. UCL is taking every step to ensure we’re part of it – through building incubator space in Tech City to supporting students and graduates wanting to set up their own businesses with funding, mentoring and encouragement. There is no better time to be part of it.

 Timothy Barnes is Director of UCL Advances, the university’s centre for entrepreneurship.

For more information about the MSc Technology Entrepreneurship at UCL, please visit http://www.ucl.ac.uk/msi

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A rich future awaits graduates who start their own businesses in the capital of enterprise http://asiancorrespondent.com/88093/a-rich-future-awaits-graduates-who-start-their-own-businesses-in-the-capital-of-enterprise/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/88093/a-rich-future-awaits-graduates-who-start-their-own-businesses-in-the-capital-of-enterprise/#comments Wed, 22 Aug 2012 08:22:36 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=88093 It’s a start that seems familiar as start-ups go: a young entrepreneur developing websites in his bedroom. Yet what distinguishes Zain Jaffer from the thousands of others who will recognise the beginning of his journey, but for one reason or another let their dream fall by the wayside, is that he’s made it.

 Zain – whose company, Vungle, so impressed internet giants including AOL and Google that he raised investment from them to the tune of £1.2 million earlier this year – is just one of several UCL graduates who have recently made an impact on the entrepreneurship scene in London, Silicon Valley and beyond.

The former UCL student, 24, and his business partner Jack Smith, 23, were awarded the money after attending what he described as “an entrepreneurs’ boot camp” in California.

Many, including Zain, are former students of UCL’s MSc Technology Entrepreneurship programme, one of the most popular with international students, who often chose to study with us to experience the thriving entrepreneurial culture of London and the cutting-edge curriculum the degree provides for those interested in starting their own business in the tech or media industries.

Students have come from China, Malaysia, Chile and mainland Europe to benefit from the programme in recent years.

Michael Langguth, 26, is one of those who has made the journey – in his case, from Germany – to benefit from the programme. His business, Poqstudio, is a mobile retail app developer focusing on small and medium enterprises in the fashion industry and was started when he met his business partner, Oyvind, 38, during the course.

Since graduating, Poqstudio has gone from strength to strength – and its success has recently attracted significant funding from Venrex Investment Management to develop their business further. 

Despite the global recession, London has become a prime centre for investment in promising start-ups. Another graduate of UCL, and a beneficiary of the support programme we have in place for students and graduates keen to start their own business, is Raoul Tawadey, founder of Circalit, which has just gained funding from investment group the London Business Angels.

 Raoul’s business – an innovative digital publishing platform which aims to become the ‘Youtube for eBooks’, and a place where writers can publish their books on the web and mobile devices – has benefitted from long-standing support from UCL Advances, including a Bright Ideas Award to provide seed funding for his idea and space, free of charge, in the university’s hatchery. 

 Thanks to the success of the Olympics, the eyes of the world are on London this year – not just as a sporting venue, but as a cultural hub, a financial centre and as the nexus for one of the most exciting habitats for entrepreneurs in the world. UCL is taking every step to ensure we’re part of it – through building incubator space in Tech City to supporting students and graduates wanting to set up their own businesses with funding, mentoring and encouragement. There is no better time to be part of it.

Timothy Barnes is Director of UCL Advances, the university’s centre for entrepreneurship.

For more information about the MSc Technology Entrepreneurship, please visit http://www.ucl.ac.uk/msi

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New directions in biosensing http://asiancorrespondent.com/87019/new-directions-in-biosensing/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/87019/new-directions-in-biosensing/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 10:39:46 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=87019 With a little thought you will perhaps realise that biosensors and biosensing devices are very common in modern life. Indeed biosensing devices range from the pregnancy test that you can buy at a local high street shop and to the amazing ultrasound equipment that you might see imaging an unborn child.  As these examples help to illustrate, biosensing includes a vast range of research areas that are important within both industry and academia.  

As may also be obvious, biosensing often requires an interdisciplinary approach, starting with some knowledge of biology and then bringing cutting edge techniques from physics, engineering and biochemistry to make a functioning biosensor. As UCL’s interdisciplinary life/medical sciences centre, CoMPLEX, in collaboration with Physics, Medical Physics and Chemistry, is launching a new Masters programme in Biosensors and Biosensing. Whilst Healthcare technology is perhaps the most obvious and important sector of industrial biosensing research, biosensors are also important in a large range of other areas.  For example, biosensors are being developed to detect environmental pollution, to provide early warning systems when there is a risk of biological warfare and to detect drug smuggling at airports.

With so many possible applications, and with the rapidly accelerating pace of advances in biology, biosensing is set to become a boom sector for industries in the future.  

Dr Guy Moss, Director of UCL CoMPLEX

To learn more about opportunities in Biosensors and Biosensing at UCL, visit http://www.ucl.ac.uk/complex/ or email Abi Espie at a.espie@ucl.ac.uk

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Building bridges with business http://asiancorrespondent.com/86379/building-bridges-with-business/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/86379/building-bridges-with-business/#comments Mon, 23 Jul 2012 13:00:58 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=86379 London is known rightly as one of the great business cities of the world – a centre for banking, financial services and investment that has few rivals anywhere in the world. Businesses of all sizes, from leading global corporations to some of the most promising start-ups to be found, all call London home.

Its leading position has endured for centuries. Today, it remains in the centre of world trade, bridging the time zones between the economic powerhouses of the East – Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo – and those of the West, in Europe and North America. But London’s economic success has always required it to change and adapt to developments elsewhere in the world.

The city has a long history of welcoming immigrants: from French Huguenots to Asian and African workers in the twentieth century. As a port city, from Roman times London has always looked outwards, and as we see global economic power shift again, this time the city is looking eastwards.

That is why UCL, along with other leading British and Chinese universities, has – for the fourth year – supported the China-UK Challenge together with CIDA, the China Innovation and Development Association. The aim of the Challenge is to build bridges between existing businesses and new student-led start-ups that are looking to develop their companies to exploit working in both the UK and China.

The Challenge has two tracks – one for Tomorrow’s Leaders, encouraging current students and recent graduates to explore international ventures, and an Innovative Business Track, for non-university business idea entries – with prizes worth a total of £12,000 in cash. The winners, from a shortlist of eight due to take part in the semi-finals to be held at Lancaster University, will be announced in a few weeks’ time.

It’s just one of many different activities UCL is undertaking to encourage students and recent graduates who are interested in setting up their own businesses. With such tough economic conditions, many students coming to UCL are understandably concerned about ensuring they are employable by learning valuable business skills in addition to enjoying a world-class education.

Many are attracted by the MSc Technology Entrepreneurship offered by UCL’s Department of Management Science and Innovation, with a current intake of 65 students from over 20 countries including China, Malaysia and Thailand.  Outside the curriculum, bootcamps to teach students invaluable business skills, funding to get their businesses off the ground and 1-2-1 business mentoring are now central to everything we do on campus. In recent years the university has already had a number of success stories thanks to this approach – with one of our graduates, Fadzli Shah Anuar, winning Malaysia’s Make the Pitch TV programme last year.

Building relationships between China and the UK is becoming ever more important as the economic relationship between the two countries shifts. It also reflects the growing proportion of students who are travelling to UCL, not just from China but right across Asia, to benefit from an education in the heart of one of the most exciting cities in the world – at a university which takes seriously access to the best business advice and support.

Timothy Barnes is Director of UCL Advances – the university’s centre for entrepreneurship

For more information about the Technology Entrepreneurship programme at UCL, go to www.ucl.ac.uk/msi/

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Helping International students and graduates into careers http://asiancorrespondent.com/85005/helping-international-students-and-graduates-into-careers/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/85005/helping-international-students-and-graduates-into-careers/#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2012 15:24:31 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=85005 For the past six years UCL Careers service has offered a specialised service for our International students, that focuses on all aspects of what you’re going to need to know to help you organise you’re career after you graduate, weather that is working here in the UK (under the new Tier 2 visa system), back in your home country or anywhere in the world.  We offer advice on anything from “I have no idea what I want to do or where I want to do it” to “I know what job I want and need help getting there”.  We don’t just help with graduate jobs either.  Right from the day you start at UCL we can assist you if you’re looking for part-time work while you’re studying, internships both here and in your home country and talk through further study and funding options as well.  Even after you’ve graduated, you can join our GradClub and get two years of extra support if you need it.

Based on extensive feedback from past international students, the Careers Service has developed a programme of events that are designed to support your career and academic decisions.  This includes a full programme of seminars run throughout the academic year, including a range of topics from the practicalities of working in the UK, like how to create a UK CV, how to job-hunt or how to pass a UK interview, right through to topics around finding and getting work in you’re home country.  We also invite international employers to come and talk to you so you can learn more about what it’s really like to work in different careers and countries.

At the Careers Service, you can book meetings with careers consultants who can talk to you one-to-one about your plans or help you to figure out where to start if you have no plans yet.  You can get job applications and CV’s checked by our experienced application checkers and when you get invited to an interview, you can book a mock interview to practice answering those tricky questions.  In addition you can access the Careers Information Room where you’ll meet our very helpful information team who will help you discover a huge range of resources including destinations of past UCL international graduates, information about specific industries and employer listings.

Our website offers a great range of information and downloadable guides to help you get started.  The bespoke International students section lets you not only book to attend our seminars but gives you links to find international jobs, information about countries and visas and access to the UCL International Students Careers Blog.  Some of it you won’t be able to access until you’re one of our students but do have a look at www.ucl.ac.uk/careers for more information.

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On Digital Literacy http://asiancorrespondent.com/83522/on-digital-literacy/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/83522/on-digital-literacy/#comments Thu, 31 May 2012 14:41:55 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=83522 Computer Science has achieved a major success, we have cause for celebration. We have made the case for our discipline and, both politically and culturally, we have arrived. The importance of ‘computational thinking’ and programming as the central supporting thread of a dynamic digital economy is largely accepted. The broader intellectual contribution of computer science to the academy and to both science and engineering no longer needs to be argued. Yes, there is further work to do. We must build on the success. We must develop engaging curricula for computer science in schools alongside tools and systems that will allow the next generation of innovators to give flight to their creativity. We need to be at the forefront of the ‘big data – big model’ challenges of science. All of this is within our reach.

 And yet. In our enthusiasm for our discipline we may have taken our eyes off another significant challenge. Digital innovators will only be a small part of the digital economy. The remainder will be digital consumers, people who live and work within that digital economy. Their leisure, their social life, their engagement with government and the products of their work will be digitally mediated. They require digital literacy. To the extent we provide for this now, it is of the lowest quality: essentially ‘click here’ training. The answer to this is not to teach computer science, except insofar as it is part of a general education and conveys transferrable skills in analysis and reasoning. So, here is a big question for computer science – what does digital literacy look like?

I think I can identify some ingredients. Digital literacy should provide an armature for skills acquisition. It should also equip the recipients to be intelligent and critical consumers of digital innovation. It should also provide some conceptual understanding to allow digital citizens to understand and fix simple problems and identify more complex ones.  Digital literacy necessarily entails having a functional mental model of how distributed computing operates. A further important component of digital literacy should be an appreciation of embedded computing and sensor systems that constitute the digital environment. Digital literacy education should ensure that digital consumers are conscious of their rights and capable of defending them, for example to privacy and to freedom of expression within the law, and that they are also conscious of their obligations in a global communications media. Safety from crime and from attack is vital. Digital literacy must include an understanding of the regulatory, economic and business structures of the digital world.   Critically, digitally literate consumers should be able to recognise ‘experts’ or ‘digital professionals’ and communicate with them.

 If we, computer scientists, do not address the question of digital literacy, it will fall to those less concerned or less well equipped to do so. Our capacity to innovate is not simply about our own skills and capabilities but is critically dependent on the skills, capabilities and knowledge of those who use or consume that innovation. The potential of digital technologies is to a large extent in the hands of users who can creatively appropriate those technologies in their lives and work. We need to look outward as well as inward.

Professor Anthony Finkelstein, Professor of Software Systems Engineering & Dean, UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences

To learn more about Engineering Sciences at UCL, go to http://www.engineering.ucl.ac.uk/

 

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