Downing Enterprise is a competition where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to our expert board for a chance to win cash prizes of up to £2,000, seed funding of up to £20,000 and expert mentoring and business training from members of the Downing Enterprise board.  Participants can enter as individuals or in small teams. At least one member of each team must be a current or former student at Downing College, Cambridge.


*Update* Downing Enterprise 2022 winners have been announced!

We are delighted to announce the names of this year’s winning teams in the Downing Enterprise Competition. These teams were awarded seed investments for their business pitches:

MediPredict  £15,000

AbsoluteAI  £15,000

MediPredict. Medipredict harnesses vast amounts of patient data collected by hospitals to predict demand on healthcare systems and help mitigate inefficiencies within the NHS. Our primary aim is to utilise machine learning to forecast the incidence of surgical emergencies and thereby enable more efficient allocation of operating theatres. Hospitals must balance available theatre space between emergency operations which arrive on the day and non-emergency elective operations which are booked months in advance. Currently, the allocation of theatre space between emergency and elective surgeries is rigid – a fixed proportion of theatre space (~25%) is allocated to emergencies and the remainder to electives. Problems arise when too many emergency cases arrive; thus elective operations will be cancelled to free up space. These last-minute cancellations to electives lead to patient dissatisfaction, reduced prognosis and wasted resources. Conversely, on days with low numbers of emergencies the surplus theatre space represents a lost opportunity to conduct elective surgeries and shorten lengthy waiting lists. By using machine learning, we aim to build an adaptive model that can forecast the number of emergency operations required on a given day at a particular time of the year while incorporating weather fluctuations and key events on the day. This will ultimately enable more efficient allocation of theatre space and minimise elective cancellations.

AbsoluteAI. AbsoluteAI are tackling one of the biggest problems facing the pharmaceutical industry today. In a world taking increasingly bold action to tackle climate change, the pharmaceutical industry has been lagging, but is starting to set more ambitious targets to address sustainability issues. AbsoluteAI are augmenting drug design with sustainability. Our algorithms, building on world-leading machine learning research at Cambridge University, will simultaneously save pharma companies money, reduce the risk of drug failure and help them hit their ESG targets.

Downing Enterprise has funded an extensive portfolio of start-ups including The Tab, Wash Cycle Laundry, and LungFish Dive Systems. Find more about our previous competitions here.

Downing Enterprise is a fantastic program that encourages innovation. We grew as a company even through the application process, the mentors are experienced, encouraging and supportive and that learning has just continued as we’ve grown. I would certainly recommend giving it a go.” – Charlotte Roach, previous winner


For more information, please contact, or

Felix Prutton and Helena Xie
Downing Enterprise Board, Chief Operating Officers