The University of Edinburgh's entrepreneurship activity supporting the delivery of Data-Driven Innovation

Entrepreneurs connecting ideas and making a real-world impact

What we do

We deliver the Entrepreneurship strand of the Data-Driven Initiative (DDI) on behalf of the six DDI Innovation hubs. The University of Edinburgh supports the creation of DDI-related companies, helping to form startups delivering cutting edge solutions and scaling existing companies.

This entrepreneurship activity is focused on support for AI and digital external companies as well as students, PhD candidates and Early Career Researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

It combines challenge-based approaches, venture building activity, growth and acceleration support, funding and mentoring support.

Open for Applications

The University of Edinburgh Venture Builder Incubator

This programme is tailored to support academic impact to reach the market. Designed for postgraduate students - mainly PhDs - researchers and academic staff interested in translating their research or innovations into businesses.

Activity is led by the Bayes Centre, the University of Edinburgh’s Innovation Hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence and Edinburgh Innovations to deliver entrepreneurship programmes on behalf of the other innovation hubs.

This is part of a wider range of activities designed to create and grow over 400 data-driven companies over 15 years; to secure significant investment in those companies and to create high value jobs in the city and region, contributing to the vision of Edinburgh as the data capital of Europe.

- Supporting Edinburgh's ambition to become the Data Capital of Europe

Our track record

To date this activity has supported nearly six hundred entrepreneurs with £2.5m of funding from the Scottish Funding Council and others. Those entrepreneurs went on to raise £18m, an enormous 646% return on investment. Entrepreneurship alumni have also achieved external recognition and success with a total of 11 Scottish Edge Awards between them.

Highlights of 2023 include five company incorporations, six product launches, four academic collaborations, twelve new minimal viable products, and the development of twenty-four new businesses with a data or digital focus.

Be inspired by our brochure of case studies from across our DDI Hubs which showcases how these entrepreneurs have benefited from the programme and the University's wider support, advice and funding at important, key stages of their development.

Get involved! There are many ways you can benefit and engage with our entrepreneurial activity and we are always keen to hear from entrepreneurs, startups, students, corporates, investors, mentors and funders. To find out more, to apply for a specific programme or discuss how best you can get involved, please click here.

What founders say about us

“I really believe Scotland could become the Data and AI Hub of Europe. There are so many opportunities, grants and competitions for data driven projects here like the DDE programme in Edinburgh.”
“I always thought I would influence change purely through research but by starting my own company I can drive change in a different way.”
“Innovation doesn't have to be about creating new technologies. Innovation can be looking at what's been done before and thinking how could I make this 10 times better, 10 times more efficient, 10 times more accessible?”