Enterprising students win funds for their business ideas
A healthy fast food on the go from Cardiff, a portable turbine for generating renewable energy and a software aimed at SMEs to handle big data in decision making were all winners in the latest enterprise competition.
Run by Cardiff University Enterprise, Spark Ideas Challenge is an annual event for Cardiff University students and recent graduates. It is run in partnership with the Santander Universities Scheme and offers students an opportunity to explore and attract some investment for their ideas and projects.
Spark is split into three categories: Idea, Plan and Venture allowing students with ideas at different developmental levels to take part.
Elinor Snowsill, postgraduate student from the School of Social Science was awarded the first prize of £3000 in the Venture category for her healthy fast food on the go business, Onestfood. This level is open to entrants already running businesses.
Benjamin Moore, an undergraduate from Cardiff School of Engineering scooped the winning prize of £2000 in the Plan category with his portable wind turbine project for generating renewable energy.
The top prize of £1000 in the Ideas category went to Marc Castro, an undergraduate from Cardiff Business School for ‘Datalytics’ – a software that provides real-time Big Data Solutions to SMES’s for integrating, analysing, and visualizing data in order to create better decision making.
With prize money of £2000, second place for the Venture category went to Aaron Turley for his hand-crafted products made from reclaimed and recycled slate through his Coed Duon project. The runner up place for the Plan category and receiving £1000 went to History, Archaeology and Religion student Mathew Cross for BikePlay (a service which provides a safe, fun and practical way for children to learn to ride a bike, with or without the aid of their parents). Daniel Sweetman, undergraduate in Planning and Geography was awarded the runner up place in the Ideas category and also received £750 while Kiely Flay from Cardiff School of Computer Science received £250 for the best video pitch as voted for by judges.
Iheanyi Ibe, University Enterprise Support Officer who organises the annual award event said: “This year proved, once again, the enthusiasm and talent for innovative ideas amongst our students. The level of entry has improved and the competition continues to be a platform for our students to launch small businesses and develop latent ideas. The competition owes a lot of its success to the students who get involved, supportive schools and academics.
The judges had a difficult task in deciding the winners and also had very positive things to say about the ideas.
“In particular, the judge’s praised the quality of the applications and the confidence of the participants in presenting their ideas and the courage in taking the next step.”
By supporting events and competitions like the Spark Ideas Challenge, Cardiff University Enterprise is able to help students get started in setting up small businesses and developing entrepreneurial skills. It also offers a wealth of expertise and mentoring, advice about potential funding, as well as business space for students looking to develop a business or social enterprise.