The influence of the university department upon spin-off venture evolution is complex and dynamic. Simon Mosey, University of Nottingham, examines how the university department context influences the spin-off process from the perspectives of both the spin-off venture and the department. By comparing the development of entrepreneurial competencies within spin-offs based in different departments at the same universities we observed significant differences in early venture performance. Simon Mosey is Director of the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Nottingham. He is editor of the Journal of Technology Transfer and his research interests address technology entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship education and innovation management.