Staff whose ideas are backed by the incubator will being allowed a three-month ‘sabbatical’ to work on their proposal, following detailed evaluation. Two UK employees have already begun to take advantage of this fee-for-equity exchange arrangement at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The fund is also open to external entrepreneurs who will gain access to consulting advice as well as financial support.
The firm – which has worked with Internet auction company QXL and sports and news site 365 – plans to invest up to $500m (£314m) in incubators across Europe in the first year. After the first six months, PricewaterhouseCoopers expects to be able to realise the first returns on this investment.
The firm has already backed a proposal from one of its consultants, Adam Jacobs, for a new project, the e-procurement site Cataloga.com.
Robin Tye, e-business leader for the PricewaterhouseCoopers consulting practice in the UK said: ‘We are harnessing the creativity and energy of our staff – exceptional people who can draw on the collective expertise of colleagues across the firm.’
He added: ‘There is an enormous demand from our people and our clients for this service. What is genuinely different about this service is that it covers every aspect of setting up a new dot-com venture, from tax through business strategy and technology implementation to financing and IPO advice.’
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