LBS launches Institute of Entrepreneurship & Private Capital

New institute harnesses entrepreneurship, innovation and the power of finance

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Renowned for teaching entrepreneurship since the late 90s, for the cultivation of start-up ventures, and the promotion of innovation, London Business School (LBS) is similarly well known for its research insights into financial markets and its exceptional teaching of the key instruments that drive today’s financial sector.

Now LBS is bringing together these powerful disciplines to create the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Equity (IEPC). Forged from a union of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Private Equity at LBS, IEPC aims to further the School’s reputation as a global hub for venture creation and financing and as an accelerant for enterprise growth. IEPC will support the development of the entrepreneurial mindset and ideas that drive impact, create wealth and advance well-being while giving wider exposure to probing and insightful research into the crucially important aspects of today’s private capital markets, such as venture capital, growth and buyouts, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The former Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Private Equity at LBS were already integral to LBS’s reputation as thought leaders, and as vehicles for building partnership strategies across business ecosystems. Now combined, these two bodies promise an unparalleled learning, research and business development experience for LBS students, alumni and for those enrolled in Executive Education. Participants will benefit from a long traditional portfolio of electives focusing on entrepreneurship, venture capital and private equity and new classes such as ‘The Entrepreneurial Mindset’ and ‘Entrepreneurship through Acquisition’. Additionally, the two experiential courses ‘From Innovation to Market’ and ‘The Entrepreneurial Lab’ will bring external researchers, inventors, tech founders and venture capitalists to join forces with our students to help design and scale ventures.

The LBS Incubator, now in its 12th year, continues to grow from strength to strength allowing LBS alumni to develop and enhance their start-ups through the IEPC’s innovative research, superb body of networks and skills development and guidance. The Incubator programme will continue to provide £250k worth of support services per team, a series of skills-development talks and workshops, and continuous support throughout the year. Our ‘Entrepreneur Mentor in Residence Programme’, open to all LBS students, offers guidance from 25 dedicated mentors. Additionally, students can benefit from our newly launched ‘Ask an Expert’ programme which now offers access to world-class specialist knowledge across a range of specific subject areas such as AI and machine learning to help students launch and grow their venture.

“LBS has been influential in the creation and financing of a roll-call of highly successful new businesses which have benefited from the spark of early stage financing and entrepreneurial flare that is unique to the School. The new ‘Founders Book’ created by student leaders of the Entrepreneurship Club is a living proof of that. But it is more than that, it is about the entrepreneurial mindset that can be applied to any role or organisation,” says Academic Director of IEPC Dr Luisa Alemany, who teaches entrepreneurship at LBS and is the co-author of the award-winning textbook, Entrepreneurial Finance: The Art and Science of Growing Ventures.

Dr Alemany says that ventures that have been devised and driven by LBS alumni, such as, Ocean Bottle, Treeapp, Junee, Cargoful and Wype, which are attracting considerable attention and international awards, and are further distinguished by their commitments to sustainability and by their enthusiasm for integrating social missions into their businesses.

“This is an example of why entrepreneurship and private capital should be part of the same institute. We are currently researching the integration of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) in venture capital and we are interested in understanding the impact this important criterion is having on companies, investors and other stakeholders. Through IEPC, we hope to provide an even greater practical and inspirational spur through new knowledge and tools to the sector, and help support founders and private investors in the future,” says Dr Alemany.

IEPC Academic Director Professor Florin Vasvari, the co-author of the well admired two-volume Private Capital, said that that “private capital funds, such as venture, growth or buyout funds, are the proverbial ‘special sauce’ that provides critical support for the formation, development and expansion of entrepreneurial businesses”.

“All facets of enterprises depend upon the financial sector. Leveraged buyouts, family business transitions, young ventures testing new ideas, companies seeking to achieve scale, entrepreneurs wanting to pivot their businesses, and companies refreshing their management are all activities that benefit from the support and guidance of the fast increasing private capital sector,” says Vasvari.

“It is the unique mixture of established academic skills and new insights from research in different areas covering the entrepreneurial journey and financial management that makes IEPC stand out,” says Dr Jeff Skinner, IEPC’s Executive Director.

“We offer a truly unique experience to all stakeholders. IEPC creates a hub for entrepreneurs, inventors, tech innovators, private capital fund managers and their investors, family business owners, business leaders and academics,” says Dr Skinner, who holds a Ph.D. in photonics and was previously technology transfer lead at UCL.

By exploring the possibilities of bridging the gap between those that are at the frontier of discovery and those that know how to ignite, run and obtain financing for new ventures, Dr Skinner says that the IEPC will cement the School’s place as the preferred academic institution in Europe.

The IEPC will develop and pursue research-based evidence and best practice that encourages advancement throughout the entire entrepreneurial landscape. Across all of its activities, the IEPC team will seek to improve diversity, drive inclusion and expand the impact of new ideas on the enterprise world. “This is a unique offering,” says Dr Alemany. “It is unmatched by other business schools in the world, and we are determined to be open and collaborative to ensure the impact of the IEPC’s activities, reaching those that would benefit the most.”

An example of this commitment is The Newton Venture Program, a forerunner to, and committed partner of the IEPC. The Program was launched in October 2020 as a joint venture between LBS and a top London based venture capitalist, LocalGlobe. It has the express aim of delivering diversity and training to the next generation of venture capitalist investors and entrepreneurs. Its first cohort is made up of more than 50% women, with 50% of participants coming from Black and minority ethnic groups from across the UK, Europe, Africa and the US.

“As we have seen with the growing success of The Newton Program, IEPC will continue to look beyond the School, London and Europe to generate knowledge, bring the entrepreneurial mindset to all corners of an organization and shape the way founders and investors tackle global challenges for the better,” says Dr Alemany.