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Imagine better, together: Creating opportunities for start-ups and innovators to connect

Working with start-ups and SMEs, and their founders, is one of area of our business that our people often say they enjoy the most. Energised, innovative new businesses and the people behind them, the innovators and visionaries solely focused on making their business or idea a success, really harness the entrepreneurial spirt.  And we’re happy to be by their side to help them get the most out of their intellectual property. 

Over the last two weeks, we’ve shown our support for these early-stage enterprises by being involved in three events, two in Bristol and one in Glasgow, and creating opportunities for like-minded individuals to grow their own networks, connect and imagine better, together. 

Growing your business: It’s who you know (and what they know)

Originally scheduled to coincide with Bristol Tech Festival week, we hosted a panel discussion in Bristol at the end of January. Aimed at ambitious early-stage or scaling businesses, we wanted to bring to life how – and when – to bring professional service advisors into your business, and the positive impact this can have on you, the business owner, and to your business’s growth story. 

From our experience, it’s often who you know, and leveraging what they know, that can help you meet the challenges of growing your business. 

Saying that, it’s not often that you’ll see a patent attorney, a lawyer, an accountant and an investor – all experienced in working with SMEs – on the same stage discussing their real experiences on why it’s important to seek timely professional advice, and why this matters to investors. 

The panel of experts, chaired by Caroline Day, discussed setting the foundations for your company – without messing up its future! – and gave pointers on attracting or securing investment. They also explored what you should be thinking about next for your business, after investment. A great audience, with great questions, and the perfect opportunity for founders to start building those all important connections. 

Breakfast Connect

Team HLK, led by Andy Flaxman, enjoyed catching up with old friends and meeting new connections at SETsquared Bristol’s February networking event for members, entrepreneurs and advisors in residence – old and new – as well as some of the movers and shakers in the wider tech ecosystem. 

SETsquared Bristol is a University of Bristol-led tech incubator, supporting founders to grow their businesses and make an impact in the world. Similar to what our tech team does, in supporting tech start-ups with their IP strategy. Andy Flaxman is one of their advisors in residence for members, and holds an IP clinic for SETsquared members every six weeks. 

It was a great morning – hearing founders talk so passionately about their tech start-ups is a bright spot in anyone’s day, plus getting updates on the latest news and successes within the SETsquared community shows how working together, and supporting each other and the ecosystem, makes a real difference. 

Imagine better, together

Our event on 8 February at our new Glasgow office, for which we teamed up with Converge, brought together more innovators, visionaries and future-founders of start-ups, as well as entrepreneurs, alumni, investors and colleagues from Scotland’s tech ecosystem.  

Converge’s programme assists emerging spinouts and start-ups from Scotland’s universities and research institutes, and HLK is one of its partners, advising and guiding entrepreneurs and young businesses. 

The theme for the evening was ‘imagine better, together’, again demonstrating that building a network of connections when starting your business can make a real impact on you, especially when it relates to accessing support and guidance when you need it most. Our special guest was Alison Grieve, founder and CEO of G-Hold, who gave an inspiring talk about how a waitressing accident led to her invention, and then went on to share her experiences as a globally successful entrepreneur. IP is at the heart of many businesses, and it was fantastic to hear Alison talk about the fundamental role that IP has played in her company’s strategy, regardless of whether it was licensing, distribution, or investment.   

Well done to Magnus Johnston and his team for gathering such a great bunch of people together, to celebrate our new Glasgow office. 

Key takeaways 

From these last three events, the resounding pieces of advice for early-stage enterprises can be summarised as:

It’s never too late to seek advice from a professional advisor, but the earlier the better, even from day one. Especially when it relates to IP!

Grow your networks, and make use of the people in your networks – they each have their own IP! It’s not just their expertise or experience, it’s their network of who they can introduce you to that can make a real difference. 

 Raising investment can take time, and you’re better off with someone on your side to help you navigate the process. Being able to articulate and validate your IP, and having it protected, does make a difference to investors. 

Resources for start-ups and SMEs 

We have created some resources which you might find useful, on Intellectual Property in general, as well as especially for start-ups and SMEs. You’ll find these on the links below: 

How we can help 

HLK provides a full suite of IP services in all technical and scientific disciplines. Whether you need help with strategy, obtaining patents or other protection, we’re here to support your business in achieving its best. 

IP protects your brand and innovation, and can give you an edge, keeping competition at bay, and convincing investors you’re a safe investment.  

If you’d like to get in touch with one of our team who works with start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs to help them protect their IP, please contact Andy Flaxman. 

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Stay connected with HLK

Keep up-to-date with the latest IP insights and updates as well as upcoming webinars and seminars via HLK’s social media.