UWE Bristol graduates take top honours at Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards South West

Issue date: 04 April 2013

Richard Davis and Tony Curtis at the LLoyds TSB Enterprise Awards

UWE Bristol alumni Tony Curtis and Thomas Anderson-Dixon, two of Bristol's brightest entrepreneurs, are set to represent the South West at the Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards final on 23 April 2013, after winning the regional heat in Exeter.

Tony Curtis, who completed a degree in Education at UWE Bristol, is the founder of ALAGO Ltd, a Bristol-based designer of heated sports gloves, which scooped the Best Enterprise Award and a £5,000 prize at the event. Tony, who studied his degree modules in between working as teaching assistant and behaviour mentor, had the idea for the gloves in 2006 when his son walked off the rugby pitch complaining of freezing cold hands. “I just happened to say to him, 'What you need is some heated gloves'. That was the 'light bulb' moment that led me to create heated gloves that were thin, usable and adaptable across all sports.

The award judges were impressed by the forward-thinking design of the gloves which combine a variety of chemicals and materials produced by manufacturers all over the world. Speaking after the ceremony Tony said, “It is great to win this award and be recognised for how far we have come on the journey of creating these products and this business. Our aim is to give as many people as possible the freedom to enjoy their activity, no matter what the temperature. We are looking forward to the Grand Final in April.” The Best Enterprise Award goes to the business judged to show real potential for growth over the next five years.

Squash Stix, the Bristol-based concentrated drinks manufacturer, was named the winner in the Best Start Up category, which recognises and rewards promising businesses in their early stages, and received a £1000 prize. Squash Stix are individual portions of tear and pour squash that are added to water. The judges were impressed by the company's, 'Fresh and creative approach to producing concentrated drinks' and added that the unique design for individual sachets of concentrated squash, 'Enabled users to enjoy soft drinks quickly and efficiently.'

Thomas Anderson-Dixon, who studied for his degree in Business Enterprise at UWE Bristol, developed the idea for healthy tear and pour sachets of squash on his business placement with Marks and Spencer. He said, “I'm overwhelmed with winning the Enterprise Award for Best Start Up, mainly for the kudos and the brand awareness it will generate for our company. The award will give us an opportunity to educate potential customers about Squash Stix and also provide a cash injection that we can spend carefully to help the business develop.”

Speaking at the South West Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards, Martin Racher, Area Director for Lloyds TSB Commercial Banking in Bristol and Somerset, said, “Seeing the calibre of businesses pitching at the regional heats yesterday has really demonstrated the wealth of entrepreneurial talent we have across the South West. Both ALAGO Ltd and Squash Stix really impressed us with their business ideas as well their commercial skills, and we awarded them the two prizes in recognition of their achievements to date.”

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