Case study

StudentshIP case study: PIPE club

The PIPE club at Aston University encourages entrepreneurial spirit and offers activities to individuals interested in starting a business.

Pipe club trophy

The PIPE Club was a business and enterprise project that aimed to create and develop intellectual property savvy students within all schools at Aston University. The PIPE Club encouraged entrepreneurial spirit and offered activities to individuals who have an interest in starting a business in a variety of different sectors.

How did we do it?

The PIPE Club offered seminars, lectures and interactive workshops delivered by a multidisciplinary team of Aston University academics. Each seminar, lecture and workshop was structured to help teach students (the Pipers) to write business plans, understand finance, protect intellectual property and market their company idea.


A Piper said:

PIPE Club is one of the most amazing things happened in my academic life. I’ve met a lot of great people and learned so much, best club ever! Thanks for giving us the opportunity.

Successful businessmen and women within the community also participated as PIPE Club Mentors. Each mentor advised, guided, challenged and supported a PIPE Club students when developing their business.

Another piper said:

PIPE club was an invaluable experience for me, I’ve learnt a lot and made contacts linked to my degree

Pipers came from all disciplines and all years of study at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These included biomedical science, business and management, chemistry, computer science, engineering, healthcare and law. Initially attracting participation of over 180 students, the Pipers were encouraged to form companies to develop their innovative ideas. Seven companies entered the final competition for the prizes and the winners will progress onto the bseen project. All members of competing companies gained the IP Equip certificate and conducted an IP health check on their business.

Group of people with pipe club award

Was it worth it?

The PIPE Club allowed students to create and develop innovative business ideas and turn them into fully functional businesses. Following the first PIPE Club cohort in December 2015, a number of students have invented several unique businesses, ranging from a peer-to-peer learning platform to a healthy drinks company.

A piper said:

I would also like to thank you greatly for the PIPE club experience and all the hard work you have put in to organising the speakers and the whole process, which I have learnt a great deal from and has helped me develop a lot not only regarding future plans for my career but also myself as a person. Thank you.

Students have described the PIPE Club as:

Informative, inspiring and encouraging

As well as stating:

Since the PIPE Club, we now understand what ‘Possession is nine-tenths of the law’ actually means!

The PIPE club has been adopted as a credit bearing optional final year module on all but one 2016/17programme [where there are no final year options] in Aston Business School. It is intended to be offered in 2017/18 to all schools at Aston University.

A version of the PIPE Club is also being prepared to give SMEs knowledge of the design and effective commercialisation of innovative products and services. This will encourage the development of an intellectual property aware enterprising mind-set.

Professor George Feiger, Executive Dean at Aston Business School said:

It allows students to understand the nature of a complete business proposition. It also displays how much work is entailed in knowing where intellectual property resides and how to protect it.

Published 6 December 2016