Our EnterpriseOD™ programme is designed to support University of Birmingham academics to do what they do best - innovate.  EnterpriseOD™ offers a flexible, comprehensive solution for researchers wishing to trial their service on the market without the risks associated with launching a new company.  It also provides an effective incubator, complete with guidance from our entrepreneur-in residence.

Operating Divisions

As part of the programme, academics can set up their own commercial entity known as an Operating Division (OD). This means academics can operate in the market, much like a limited company, but with the legal management, insurance and financial management being carried out by University of Birmingham Enterprise. Academics are free to concentrate on getting market exposure, building their brand and generating revenue.

If the service is commercially viable, a spin-out company can then be created in an informed way, with an established trading history and overall greater confidence in its success.

The programme comprises 3 types of accelerators:

  • Consult-OD: for consultancy and service ODs.
  • Spin-OD: for ODs embarking on a path to spin-out including incubator support.
  • SHAPE-OD: targeted support for operating divisions from the social sciences, arts and humanities.

How do ODs benefit academics?

  • ODs allow academic researchers to test out their ideas speedily and generate impact without the additional work and time it takes to set up a spin-out company.
  • University of Birmingham Enterprise provides all the 'back office' activity such as contracting, invoicing and credit control. 
  • ODs allow academic researchers to concentrate on finding customers, delivering the service and perfecting the offering according to  'real world' market feedback. 

How do ODs promote commercial investment, impact and access to services?

  • The up-front work and investment needed to get an OD trading is far less than when establishing a new spin-out company, giving customers quick and flexible access to innovations and services.
  • Trading with an OD is easy. EnterpriseOD expedites 'back office' activity so customers get easy access to academic expertise.
  • Academics can focus on finessing their ideas, finding customers and perfecting their service model without the distraction of setting up their own company.
  • If an offer is not commercially successful, academics can 'pivot' or change their idea in their own time.
  • The commercial performance of an OD is the basis for an informed collective decision on the future commercial development of the activity. 

Operating Division case study: Dexter

University of Birmingham Enterprise supported Dexter through the Enterprising Birmingham Fund, which allowed a specialist advisor to scope out the market, facilitate the customer and partner discussions and refine the marketing and online strategy. The advisor is now working with the Operating Division to gather real-time market intelligence and build the customer base to develop a business plan with the intention of spinning out within the next year.

Find out more about Dexter

A woman typing on a laptop with email envelope symbolsContact us

For further information on Operating Divisions, or if you would like to request the OD guidance and application form, please email the Head of Academic Consultancy Services, Vincent Coole:

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Current operating divisions