SBC wins BIS funding for bioscience mentoring

Stevenage, UK, February 12 2014 – A partnership led by Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC),the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus, has been awarded £150,000 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)’s Mentoring Challenge Fund. With matching funding taking the value of the programme to £300,000, SBC,Winning Pitch, BioNow and  Business Growth Hub will work with entrepreneurs and small biosciences companies over the next year, coaching them through important developmental steps. If successful, it is expected that this pilot scheme will be followed by a longer-term initiative.

Recognising that biosciences companies gain optimal benefit from sector-specific guidance ,a unique feature of this scheme is that its mentors will be drawn from a range of large pharmaceutical and scientific organisations. In addition, there will be careful matching of mentee to mentor, and the pair will then work together on specific goals for the year of the pilot. With SBC and Winning Pitch delivering the mentoring programme in the south of England, and BioNow/Business Growth Hub in the North, it is anticipated that around 50companies will take part. Launch events will take place in March.

Dr Martino Picardo, CEO of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, said ‘We believe that a structured mentoring programme for the biosciences industry across the UK is pivotal to the country’s economic development and patient benefit. With support for our initiative from the BIS Mentoring Challenge Fund, SBC, Winning Pitch, BioNow and Business Growth Hub have every expectation it will generate significant value for many companies and lay the groundwork for a long-term programme.’


For more information, please contact:

StevenageBioscience Catalyst

Martino Picardo, CEO                                                                            
+44 (0)1438 906906

Emma Palmer Foster, Strategic Communications Consultant   +44 (0)7880 787185

Notes for Editors:

About Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus, pioneering a unique culture to drive early stage bioscience technology and company development, and building a thriving community. It is backed by £38m of funding from its founding partners –GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Technology Strategy Board and the former East o fEngland Development Agency. Consisting of an Incubator, an Accelerator and a Hub, covering 60,000 sq ft of laboratory, office and networking space, th eindependent facility houses a range of companies, from virtual and start-up firms to those which are more established, as well as other organisations. Located on the GlaxoSmithKline Stevenage site, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is in the unique position of operating in proximity to the expertise and resources of a major pharmaceutical company, close to both London and Cambridge. For more information, please go to

About Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst’s stakeholders

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst’s stakeholders are GlaxoSmithKline(, the Wellcome Trust (, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (, the Technology Strategy Board( and the former East of England Development Agency(


About Winning Pitch

Winning Pitch is a specialist provider of high growth coaching services. We are a research led business with a passion for supporting ambitious entrepreneurs to realise their full potential and achieve levels of growth way above the norm.  Our tailored coaching services are underpinned by specialist high growth methodologies containing a suite of practical tools proven to deliver transformational performance – well defined business strategy, clear supporting implementation plans, enhanced sales, innovative approaches to changing markets, organisational and leadership excellence as well raising finance.  Support is delivered by a team of specialists all of whom have lived the growth journey and are passionate about helping businesses grow and thrive. In recent years we have worked with over5,000 businesses, including high potential start-ups, growth SMEs and FTSE listed companies.


About BioNow

Bionow supports business growth, competitiveness and innovation within the biomedical and life science sectors across Northern England. Our membership services add value and cost-efficiency to scientific, clinical an dbusiness operations within early stage and growth oriented firms. Our membership base includes startups and early stage firms as well as established growth-oriented companies. Bionow’s membership offering focuses upon the specific needs of firms at their different stages of development, including dedicated business support programmes, shared procurement schemes with significant cost savings, exclusive insurance benefits, recruitment and training services, local and national events and access to a vibrant network o fbusinesses.


About Growth Hub

Established in 2011 the Business Growth Hub has helped thousands of businesses across Greater Manchester, from established and large companies to start-ups and SME enterprises. The Hub helps ambitious business people to realise their growth potential by offering access to a range of practical services, from assessing growth options to unlocking finance or accessing experienced business mentors. Accountable to the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, the Business Growth Hub’s challenge is to ensure that companies across Greater Manchester reach their full potential and are able to access the right support and services to meet their needs. These include: personal support to identify and address business growth opportunities and challenges; business to business networking through growth lunches and specialist events; expert growth advice and planning services; and access to a wealth of public and private sector business and professional partners with a range of specialist knowledge and skills including MAS (the Manufacturing Advisory Service), UKTI Trade and Investment, and Growth Accelerator plus a network of committed private providers who share our vision for supporting growth.

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