Issue date: 03 May 2007
Enterprising graduates Nicholas Smith and Nick Hanlon are celebrating success in the University of the West of England's competition to find the budding business and social entrepreneurs of the future. theBizIdea competition reached its prizegiving finale on 2 May following several months of support and mentoring from the sponsors.
Designer Nicholas Smith won the competition's Business Prize with his invention, called CoolBoard, which is aimed at surfers and skiers wanting to fine tune their sense of balance when they are away from the sea or slopes.
He said he was delighted to win the competition:
“I have already made some sales but now I can invest in promoting the product – this has put CoolBoard up a whole new gear!”
The top Social Enterprise prize was won by Nick Hanlon, a psychology graduate, for his plan to develop a series of resources to help people suffering from anxiety to achieve a solution for their unique needs.
Nick said that winning the competition was really exciting – he had no idea he would win, and was looking forward to getting to work on his plan straightaway.
The competition is run by UWE's Research, Business and Innovation group (RBI). RBI Director Stephen Hagen said:
“theBizIdea is an excellent way for students, staff and alumni to gain valuable experience of how to start a business and in the process they will increase their business and social enterprise skills. UWE is a big champion of enterprise, supporting start-up opportunities, social enterprise and skills for employment.”
The competition gave entrants five main chances to win. The two top prizes each attracted a cash award of £5,000 and a year's rent-free space in UWE's city centre business incubator.
Two runner-up prizes of £2,500 were also awarded – the runner-up for the Business Prize was Adam Turpin with a plan for an online gambling website called Guess When. The runners-up for the Social Enterprise prize were Neil Ferguson and Duncan Iraci, who are launching a Bristol Design Festival from 20-22 July, aimed at involving both the design world and the local community. They were inspired by the Milan Design Festival and plans to bring the concept to Bristol, to celebrate the diversity of creative industries in the city.
This year there was a new Marketing Prize, won by Gemma Boyce with her idea for an online gallery for artists, consisting of a Chartered Institute of Marketing course to the value of £500 together with Affiliate Membership to the CIM for a year. In addition merit awards of £100 were made to the eight most outstanding entries.
UWE's Deputy Vice-Chancellor John Rushforth praised all entrants, saying:
“The standard of entries to theBizIdea competition was terrific – we were overwhelmed with the quality of the plans and particularly pleased with the variety of social enterprise ideas.”
Keynote speakers at the prizegiving were Bristol entrepreneurs Stuart Avery and Mike Bennett, UWE and University of Bristol graduates respectively, who described how they co-founded multi-million pound business E3 Media in the cellar of their student house, and have now diversified into restoring and running the award-winning bar and restaurant Goldbrick House in Park Street.
The competition's sponsors, who provided mentoring and support throughout the course of the competition, are Business Link, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Haseltine Lake, Lloyds TSB Business, Osborne Clarke and the University of the West of England.
Jenny McDowell of sponsors Lloyds TSB, said:
“Everyone entering theBizIdea Competition at UWE benefits from advice and mentoring to turn their bright ideas into viable business or social enterprise plans. For the winners it is an important boost towards bringing their products or services to the marketplace.”
• UWE's theBizIdea Competition is in its sixth year. The full list of prizewinners is as follows:
Business Idea Prize - £5000 in cash plus a one year, rent-free place in UWE's Business Incubator:
CoolBoard - Nicholas Smith – a balance board offering superior functionality
Business Idea runner-up - £2500 in cash:
Guess When - Adam Turpin – a unique online gambling website
Social Enterprise Prize – £5000 in cash plus a one year, rent-free space in UWE's Business Incubator:
Self-Help Association for Social Confidence - Nick Hanlon – resources and services to provide a solution for sufferers of anxiety
Social enterprise runner-up - £2500 in cash:
Bristol Design Festival - Neil Ferguson – festival in Bristol promoting design success
Prize for plan with the best marketing dimension – CIM course worth £500 plus one year's affiliate membership of CIM:
Foliomatch.co.uk – Gemma Boyce - a website providing an online forum/gallery for creative artists to showcase their work
Merit awards of £100 for outstanding entries were made to:
Parcel Pickup – Edward Fraser
Holistic Community – David Bruton
Foliomatch.co.uk – Gemma Boyce
LivKinky Ltd – Elizabeth Isaacs
Interactive Places – Tom Bennett
Nursing home for young adults with profound and multiple learning difficulties – Julie Owen
Understanding cancer - Avril Morrison
Community Coaching – Sarah Crosse
• For information on theBizIdea competition visit http://www.uwe.ac.uk/rbi
• Jpegs of the winners are available